Fulfil your romantic fantasy, escape on a late afternoon train journey amidst the untamed
natural Zambia bushveld. Sun International is proud to announce the inauguration of the
Royal Livingstone Express, a joint venture between Sun International and Bushtracks Africa.
The Royal Livingstone Express is a unique dining experience combining the luxury of Sun
International's Royal Livingstone hotel with the charm of rail travel. The train is an all inclusive luxury
rail experience rooted in the nostalgia of a bygone era. Passengers travel leisurely as the sun sets.
This is a journey into a timeless world of grace, elegance and romance, where the natural
splendour will stir your imagination and the luxurious comfort soothes your soul.
This unique luxury rail restoration is an extension of the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel. The train
provides fine wining and dining as you travel through the picturesque Zambezi Valley in Pullman
style coaches which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
The Royal Livingstone Express consists of 5 air-conditioned carriages, 2 dining cars, a club/kitchen
car, lounge car, and an observation car and is pulled by either a 10th class No. 156 or a 12th class
No. 204 locomotive. One of the dining cars, The Wembley, was built by the Birmingham Railway
Carriage and Wagon Company, and went on display in London at the British Empire Exhibition in
1924. It was shipped to the Union of South Africa and entered service on 19th May 1926 and hence
acquired the name - The Wembley.
The ambiance of the dining carriage offers more than warm elegance. The sash windows allow for
panoramic views of the passing parade, while the incandescent lighting adds intimate warmth
from individual lamps on each table gently illuminating the beautifully detailed wooden interiors.
The silver cutlery, crystal glassware and damask linen provide the ideal backdrop to the exquisite
cuisine created by the Royal Livingstone Hotel chefs.
The journey begins when you're collected from the Royal Livingstone Hotel at 17h00 and
transferred to the old Mulobezi Line Offices, where guests board the immaculate vintage
first class Lounge carriage.
There are two dining cars with a seating capacity for 92 passengers and
a fully equipped kitchen car to produce a 6-course gourmet dining
experience. From departure the train moves directly onto the
old Mulobezi Line, which has also been restored. It was
once the largest privately owned railway network
in the world and was set up by the
Zambezi Sawmills in 1916.
The journey commences through Dambwa suburb towards the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park,
running parallel to the Zambezi River. Guests have the opportunity to catch glimpses of white rhino,
buffalo, elephant and other wildlife. From there, the train crosses out of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National
Park over the Sinde River and comes to pause some 17 kilometres from Livingstone. By this time
darkness would have descended on the Zambezi Valley and guests will be invited to dinner by the
train manager in the dining cars. The train will then slowly push back to the Sinde 'run around' to
afford the locomotive driver a good view of any obstacles in his path for the return journey in
darkness, including of course elephants! The journey finishes back at the old Mulobezi Siding at
The companies involved in the resurrection process are Sun International Zambia, Bushtracks
Africa, and the National Heritage Conservation Commission.
The Steam Locomotive, 156 is a 10th Class originally belonging to the Zambezi Sawmills Limited. It
was used on the Mulobezi Line to pull logging carriages from the forests in Mulobezi to the railhead
in Livingstone. David Shepherd, renowned wildlife artist, rescued the locomotive and partially
renovated it, to its previous grandeur. He then donated it to National Heritage and Bushtracks has
subsequently restored the locomotive to working order.
Bushtracks spent three years searching for carriages in order to operate this excursion. Rohan Vos
of Rovos Rail South Africa, reputed to be 'the most luxurious train in the world', found five carriages
which were purchased in December 2006. Rovos Rail also agreed to renovate the carriages to
their former glory and work began on the 3rd January 2007.
Experience the elegance of yesteryear from the comfort of your carriage whilst enjoying one of the
most scenic railway journeys in Southern Africa. Experience the flora and fauna with panoramic
views from the observation carriage.
This unique dining experience is offered three times a week, it includes the 6-course dinner, wine, beer and soft drinks.
The luxurious train leaves the station at 17h45 and dinner is served at 19h00. Guests will be
returned to the Royal Livingstone Hotel at 22h00.