Slow Train Through Africa with Griff Rhys Jones

Zambia & Zimbabwe

Series 1 - Episode 3 Zambia & Zimbabwe

Wed 5 Feb 6am - 7:10am Yesterday


Griff Rhys Jones is the first to admit that train travel in Africa can be a challenging affair. As he pitches up at Kasama station in Zambia, for instance, intending to board a southbound train towards the border with Zimbabwe, he discovers it’s running late. Thirty-three hours late. But, as he says grinning slightly manically, “There are times when [train travel] comes together in a wonderful experience”.

It certainly does look pretty wonderful when his steam train reaches its destination right in the middle of the Victoria Falls Bridge which, suspended 111 metres above the Zambezi River, affords spectacular views of the falls themselves.

Despite being mineral-rich countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been through hard times. So when faced with terrible poverty, slightly scary situations or conversations in a language he can’t understand, Griff’s answer is to grin and shake hands a lot.


The comedian begins the next leg of his trip in Kasama, northern Zambia. His first stop is the town of Mpika, where he meets college students training to be locomotive drivers. Next, in the capital Lusaka, he reveals how the first railways were built to access the country's rich mineral wealth, and watches craftsmen cutting emeralds and rubies - before being let loose on a pair of bejewelled cufflinks. Griff then reaches the spectacular Victoria Falls on his way to Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Griff Rhys Jones
Executive Producer Ross Harper
Series Producer Graeme Hart