1970 marked the start of construction work on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, or “Tazara” for short. Some 1,860 km of tracks were laid through thick forest, uninhabited savannah and mountainous terrain as part of one of Africa’s boldest infrastructure projects.
The route was inaugurated in 1976. It links the coastal city of Dar es Salam in northeastern Tanzania with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia. Local people have an affectionate nickname for it – “Uhuru” or freedom, symbolizing the people’s hope for a more self-determined life.
But some of the stations along the line have been out of operation for years. Drivers always need to be on the lookout for monkeys, elephants, lions, hippos and giraffes. For passengers, the ticket includes a free safari. Leaving the Selous Game Reserve behind, the Tazara enters the most dangerous and spectacular section of the route.
Drone footage shows dramatic images of a largely unknown area sliced through by the railway line.