This coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the October 14, 1999 death of Tanzania’s founding president, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, in a London hospital.
The train made a stop at Fuga station, deep inside the park in Morogoro Region, carrying the tourists and their aides.
Seth Mihayo, a senior conservation officer with the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), said the coming of the tourists was one of the salient results of the mobilisation efforts President Samia Suluhu Hassan is making primarily to woo tourists into visiting the country’s tourist attractions.
He said the train was the first of its kind to make it to Tanzania since the easing of the impact of Covid-19, adding that the particular park used to receive a sizeable number of foreign and local tourists before the pandemic struck, but the situation soon began worsening.
“Many visitors coming to Nyerere National Park commonly begin with visits to Zanzibar’s picturesque beaches, after which they come this was to view our massive wealth in the form of wildlife,” Mihayo explained.
He said that the visit by the particular batch of tourists from South Africa would stand as convincing testimony to those to follow that Tanzania is indeed a world-class destination of choice.
Zainabu Ally, senior conservation commissioner for TANAPA’s eastern Zone, said that Nyerere National Park was until recently part of the former Selous Game Reserve and is home to a wide range of attractions.
The park’s conservator, Charles Mpeka, meanwhile said the coming of the South African tourists was a continuation of a “culture” by groups of visitors from South Africa attracted by the park which was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also attributed the development to the ongoing vigorous and sustained mobilisation efforts the government is making or coordinating to “sell” the park and other attractions in Tanzania as a way of marking Nyerere Day.
The tourists’ chief guide, Khalfan Kaswila, explained the degree to which he had gone in mobilising Tanzanians to visit the park.
Nyerere National Park, which was established in 2019, covers an area of over 30,000 square kilometers.
Its uniqueness is described as including the fact that it boasts relatively undisturbed ecological and biological processes, among them a diversity of wildlife with a significant predator-and-prey relationship.
The park is closely associated with the wonders of River Rufiji and its abundance of hippos, rhinos, wild dogs, elephants, lions and buffaloes.
The river, which empties into the Indian Ocean, is designated as a photographic zone and is a popular tourist destination.