The International Steam Pages

Safari Steam

Back in 2002, I released a pair of Windows CD-ROMs, I withdrew the physical CD-ROMs some time ago but they are still available as cheap downloads, now the time has come to upload HTML versions. 

The original text has been retained throughout bar the correction of a few typos so be prepared to be transported back in time. Full descriptions follow below, but you can click the links below to quickly access the action 

Apart from the classic book 'Steam in Africa' and a number of books on South Africa and latterly Zimbabwe, the published photographic record of the steam locomotive in Africa from the 1950s until the 'end of steam' is less than substantial. These two CD-ROMs set out to remedy that by documenting steam from when enthusiasts first visited in significant numbers over 50 years ago. There are more than 2000 pictures (approx 1000 per CD-ROM) from over 30 different photographers taken between the 1950s and the early years of the 21st century, the vast majority of them in colour, black and white being used where it is the only record. Each image is designed to be presented on a full 1024 x 768 screen using 'Hi-color setting'. Most of the pictures have never been published and this is the definitive record of post Second World War steam in Africa (outside South Africa). There are also a number of historic postcards which extends coverage to some areas where steam finished early on.

Cover page

Safari Steam (North) covers East, West and Northern Africa

East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) provides the lion's share of the photographs. The maroon Garratts are the most familiar of the 'big game' and are seen at work in all three countries along with the full range of 'straight' locomotives. There are small historical sections on the BuBuBu Railway in Zanzibar and the steamers of the East African lakes.

There are plenty of pictures of the Mallets in Eritrea, of particular interest from the days when it was 'real', extensive coverage of the desert railways of Sudan and glimpses of the end of steam in Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal and Tunisia. Elsewhere, there is narrow gauge steam at work in the Magreb and Sierra Leone, together with rare pictures of steam at work in Nigeria and Ghana, a number of preserved locomotives and a brief look at some of the dieselised railways of West Africa.

Cover page

Safari Steam (South) covers Southern and Central Africa

As in the northern part, Garratts are the stars. Naturally Zimbabwe (and its predecessor Rhodesia) features strongly, but there were plenty of them in Angola and Moçambique too, not to mention Botswana and Zambia (and an unloved example in Madagascar).

The Portuguese colonies (particularly Moçambique) not only had an enormous variety of steam power for their size, including the World's last Atlantics, they kept their locomotives in immaculate condition. They also had some delightful steam powered narrow gauge railways. Also included is steam in Malawi and Swaziland, current steam in Botswana, plus glimpses of Zaire and the Indian Ocean islands. Finally there is extensive coverage of the legendary Zambezi Sawmills Railway.....

This compilation, which took 3 years to bring together, draws heavily on the collections of Basil Roberts who was resident in Tanzania and South Africa from 1968-70 and Jeremy Wiseman who, like Charles Small got to places few of us had ever heard of at the time. I have contributed modestly from my short time on the continent and we have also been fortunate to have access to the collections of Bryan Acford, Bill Alborough, John Alexander, Paul Ash, Peter Bagshawe, Terry Bagworth, Hugh Ballantyne, Roland Beier, Donald Bell, Cyril Boucher, Richard Bowen, Mark Carter, Keith Chester, David Dixon, John Dobson, Rod Farr, Ray Gardiner, Alex Gillieron, Olaf Güttler, Günter Haslbeck, Hans Hufnagel, Thomas Kautzor, Rob Kingsford-Smith, Jeffrey Lanham, Nigel Lawrence, Peter Michie, David Mitchell, Geoff Monks, Thierry Nicholas, Kevin Patience, Graham Roberts, Karl Rummans, Cliff Schoff, Alan Short, Charles Small, Geoffrey Smith, Trevor Staats, Manfred Stolz, Mike Swift, Tony Wardrobe, Chris Wilkinson. Extra help has been given by Chris Walker and John Agnew.

Rob Dickinson