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White Glove' Service on South Africa's Blue Train
For years I had read that South Africa held many pleasures for those of an adventurous or romantic nature. While the sights and delights were many and varied, the epitome was my experience aboard the famous Blue Train. It was like the finest luxury cruise, sailing across a sea of ever-changing landscapes . Yet there was time and space to savor every waking moment. I managed to read some pamphlets about the line's history, which spans over 50 years. More->

Rail to Casablanca from Marrakech
As originator of a travel series called Railways of the World, going to Casablanca, Morocco's largest city, by rail on our personal version of the Marrakech Express was a wonderful way to start off the week and celebrate the new year. We enjoyed the journey so completely that the route from Marrakech (3 hours in total) seemed far too short. However, as we soon learned from the staff on board, visitors can travel between many of Morocco's principal cities by rail. More->

Index to Fast Track section

Air Highways to Africa Travel Magazine Debuts Summer 2005
Two magazines in one, it features the total transportation scene from airlines and airport development, to route maps and aviation history. Plus river cruises and rail travel, highways and sea lanes. Click above to visit the Air Highways website for an idea of some of the topics we plan to cover, linking Africa with the world scene.

Cape Town to Pretoria Station on Rovos Luxury Rail

One of the first lessons one learns on entering the wonderful world of Rovos Rail is that this "tour of a lifetime" is not just a South African experience -- its routes extend to five other countries on a network of steel rails. For example, there's an annual excursion to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which many rave about. On this cool January morning, however, the destination is Pretoria, South Africa's capital city and headquarters of Rovos Rail, the Pride of Africa. Our leisurely two and a half day trip north through the country's heartland, allows ample time to relax, lay back, sip the wine, smell the roses, think lofty thoughts and get to know some interesting people. Daniel Dunn, one of the Western Cape's best informed tour guides, drove us to the Cape Town station, where Rovos Rail's owner Rohan Vos and Sales Manager David Patrick greeted us, as our baggage was whisked away in a flash. More-.

Will Ethiopia's Lion of Judah Engines Roar Again?
Sometimes I feel like Casey Jones, as if "Railways of the World" a series I launched in 1989, was the spark that started a revolution - a true 'renaissance ' in rail travel. Perhaps it was ESP, because since then, many famous routes have been upgraded or restored, and new lines installed, as countless visitors rediscover the romance of the rails. Like me, these folks savor the fact that getting there is more than half the fun. The mighty engine's 'roar" is music to our ears. Given Aladdin's 3 wishes, I would restore Emperor Haile Sellasie's 'Lion of Judah' railway engine, hook it up to the prized set of French and British coaches, and operate luxury excursion tours on the Franco-Ethiopian Railway. Built in the 1930s, the 482 mile line stretches from Addis Ababa, via Nazaret, the Rift Valley and Dire Dawa, to Djibouti, a French protectorate on the Gulf of Aden. In a 5-minute BBC interview, hoping my message would cause a spark, I said, "Think of the much needed income such a tour would generate for the Ethiopian economy."

After a visit to Emperor Selassie's palace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa's I am convinced that ornate railway station (gare) is the ideal venue for an historic journey. Yes, the lordly Lion of Judah's once mighty engine lacks wheels, and the dust covered British and French coaches that served the royal family, show neglect from being shunted aside during the Marxist regime. However, with some good old fashioned TLC (tender loving care) each of these museum pieces would soon be in shining order. The Emperor's train is still not widely available for public view; fortunately we and our BBC friend received special permission. More->

Award Winning Media Combination includes major focus on train travel.
Jerry W. Bird launched "Railways of the World" in 1989 in national magazines, and has since profiled a wide variety of railways. His trips include everything from historic steam trains and continental giants, to short lines, dinner trains and interurban rails. Watch for more on this site and in our magazines.

See Exhibits on Africa's Railways at the Adventures in Travel Expos

Burkina Faso
C.A. Republic
Cote d' Ivoire
Sierra Leone
South Africa

Africa Needs Trade Initiatives