How Do I Buy My Ticket and What Will it Cost Me?
If there was one part of this whole experience that I was most nervous about (other than the food situation and the whole train derailing thing), it was getting our tickets. Why? Well, we knew we wanted to book out a first class cabin and we also knew they could sell out. We were on a bit of a tight schedule as our safari started in Zambia five days later, and the trains only depart on certain days of the week. Additionally, you can't buy tickets online, because that would be too easy.
You can only purchase your tickets in person at the train station or by phone. And it's highly advisable you do this in advance especially if you want to book out a first class cabin (we recommend at least a week). It took us 7 or so tries before we finally connected to one of the various numbers we found. But when we did, we gave our names, the date we wanted to leave, and the tickets we wanted to purchase (4 first class sleeper tickets) and that was it. We were told to get to the station two hours before to pay (in cash) and collect our tickets. No credit card exchange, no confirmation number. Nada.
Our tickets cost around $50 each (114,000 Tanzanian shillings) which totalled $200 since we booked four tickets. Other classes include second class with 6 people in each compartment (3 beds on each side, the middle bed folds up during the day); super seater with 1 person per seat, and finally third class which is shared seating (you can find all the prices for each class here). If you are a solo passenger, please note that Tazara will never mix males and females in shared cabins. Additionally, if you are a male and female couple traveling and want to stay together, you will have to book out the whole cabin like we did or you will be separated.
Now for the Phone Numbers
It's a bit like telephone roulette so just be patient! According to Tazara's website tickets can be reserved over the phone during working hours (07:30 – 17:00hrs (CAT and EAT) from Monday to Friday):
Here are all the various numbers you can try for both Dar es Salaam and Zambia departures:
- Dar es Salaam Station: Salma +255 713 354 648, June +255 715 469 239
- New Kapiri-Mposhi Station: Mr Sinkala +260 966 529 753 or email: email@example.com, or Mr Simuntala +260 977 269 276
- Lusaka: Or if you are in Lusaka you can try the Lusaka Office: Ms Rhoda Nyirenda +260 955 907 384 or the Lusaka Booking Office: Ms Splendour Mweemba +260 979 484 980.
- Customer Support: Finally, Tazara states if you have any trouble with any of the above numbers (more can be found here), to contact Mr. Peter Sichinga, Senior Customer Relations Officer at Head Office on email firstname.lastname@example.org or Cellphone +255 715 508 304.
We also found some more numbers for you that have been reported as working:
For Dar Es Salaam ticket office: +255 22 26 2191 for westbound journeys, or the station master at Dar on +255 78 7099 064. Also +255 767099064 or +255 787099064.
For New Kapiri-Mposhi some additional numbers include the Kapiri booking office at: +260 978721782, +260 977409828, +260 969314099, and +260 977269276.
Do you see what I mean about Telephone roulette?