Madaraka Express journeys amongst world’s top 10 rail tours

Kenya’s Madaraka Express passenger train service has been ranked among 13 most remarkable rail tours in the world. It was ranked seventh globally in a survey on the world’s most magnificent rail tours for 2019 conducted and published by The Telegraph, one of Britain’s oldest and most respected media outlets.

“The new Standard Gauge Railway between Mombasa and Nairobi provides the link between the coast and Amboseli and Tsavo West national parks for 3½ days of game drives,” the publication stated, justifying the impressive ranking.

“The Maasai-inspired Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge that has majestic views of Kilimanjaro, and the Kilaguni Serena Safari lodge has been designed to blend into the rugged savannah and overlooks a waterhole visited daily by herds of elephant and buffalo. The four nights in the lodges are flanked by a night in Mombasa,” it continued.

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Top on the list was Sweden’s Inlandsbanan, which is said to traverse what is described as the continent’s last wilderness of untouched forests and lakes. The sightseeing did not start with the SGR as the old Rift Valley Railways offered same memorable trips of beautiful sceneries. It was followed by the Flying Scotsman of Britain.

Other listed train rides include Bordeaux, Cognac and Loire operated by Eurostar and TGV across parts of France, Habsburg Trail in Central Europe, Flavours of Tuscany, Sri Lanka’s Colombo to Jaffna, the Grand Tour of Scotland and Highlights of Poland. Others are Tangier of Marrakech, Castles of Transylvania, High-speed art of Japan and Seoul to the Sea of South Korea respectively.


The Madaraka Express, a Jubilee government project and unmistakably President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pet project, has been operational since May 2017 and operates four passenger trains daily, with two running in opposite directions in the morning and two others in the afternoon. The railway between Mombasa and Nairobi provides the link between the coast, Amboseli and Tsavo West national parks which are a sight to behold.

President Uhuru unveils the Madaraka Express

The trains, cruising at 120 kilometres per hour while carrying over 1,200 passengers, cover the 472 kilometres from Nairobi to Mombasa in four and a half hours. Their popularity saw the service clock the two million passenger mark in November 2018 despite projections that it would hit the 1.7 million mark in June 2019. The journey offers a breathtaking ride and scenes, reaching hair-raising heights as it snakes across long bridges in the African savannah.

There are a total of 98 bridges on the route, with the highest (The Mazeras-2 Bridge) standing at 43.5 metres. The Athi River Super Bridge – spanning 2.6 kilometers-is one of the longest bridges in Africa.


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