Inspiring modern travellers with an authentic experience of vintage travel, The Royal Livingstone Express steam locomotive combines the exquisite fine dining and exceptional service of the Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara in Zambia with the elegance of Victorian times. Reliving the nostalgic journey of the sophisticated 20’s era, guests can savour a moveable feast alongside a classic steam expedition.
You can relax in the steam locomotive’s lovingly restored Pullman-style coaches. Fulfilling romantic fantasies, The Royal Livingstone Express departs in the late afternoon and heads towards the Victoria Falls Bridge, while guests toast with sparkling wine or a cocktail accompanied by canapés. The train stops between Zambia and Zimbabwe, on the Victoria Falls Bridge, one of the world’s most spectacular border posts. In this unique spot directly above the Zambezi River, guests have the chance to disembark the train and enjoy the sunset besides the world’s largest waterfall, the perfect location for breathtaking photo opportunities.
Voyaging through Zambia’s resplendent landscapes, an impeccable five-course dinner by Anantara chefs is served with wines, beers and soft drinks. For instance, an Amuse Bouche of The Royal Gazpacho features chilled Zambian cucumber soup with Norwegian smoked salmon. Teasing the palate is a Beetroot Carpaccio with goats cheese mousse, rocket and crushed walnut. The tasteful journey continues with a Butternut Crème Brulee, rocket pesto, parmesan tulie and pistachio feta salad. Choices for the main affair include Braised Lamb Shoulder featuring carrot puree, pomme boulangere, oyster mushroom and pan juices. A sweet ending of Champagne and mixed berry jelly with a white chocolate and yoghurt soup is followed by a selection of fine teas or coffee with petit fours.
The Royal Livingstone Express offers two different journeys – The Victoria Falls Bridge Run and the Mulobezi Run. The Victoria Falls Bridge Run takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, travelling on the Cape to Cairo main line, leaving the outskirts of Livingstone and into The Victoria Falls World Heritage Site, where game such as elephant and antelope may be spotted on route to the border post. The Mulobezi Line Run operates on the other days of the week and travels through the heart of the Zambezi River Valley. The train sets off through Dambwa Township and continues along the Mulobezi Line, running parallel to the Zambezi River and through the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Game Park and on to Sinde Siding, before the return journey to Livingstone.
Five carriages comprise two Dining Cars, a Kitchen Car, Lounge Car and Observation Car. The carriages are pulled by Steam Locomotives 10th Class 156 and 12th Class 204, built by Northern British Locomotive works in the 1930s. Locomotive 156 was renovated by the famous wildlife artist David Sheppard and donated to Zambia National Heritage in 1971 and restored again by Bushtracks in 2005. The beautiful Wembley Dining Car was built by the Birmingham Railway Carriages and went on display in London at the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924. It was shipped to the Union and entered service on 19 May 1926.
The Royal Livingstone Express accommodates up to 92 guests and can also be reserved for private hire for a minimum of 50 guests.