To North American eyes, the only thing strange about Southern Africa railways will be the brakes, apart from heavy haul iron ore and coal in South Africa, and Vale and Rio Tinto coal in Mozambique, breaking is generally vacuum.
South African wet hire loco contractors range throughout the southern continent, South African charter company Rovos Rail runs "hotels on wheels" luxury charters from SA up to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, using Sheltam and RRL Grindrod as the hook and pull contractor. Rail is so chaotic in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania that these charters pull a diesel bowser. Zimbabwe rail is technically bankrupt, but the north-south link that stretches up via Zimbabwe to the Congo (and again connects with Angola) is operated by the South African company LOG. LOG (NLPI Logistics) is one of the operating companies of NLPI http://nlpi.net/group-overview/45-2/
For an overview on South African locos http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_So ... ve_classes
Draw a line from Dar es Salaam on the east coast to Pointe-Noire on the west coast. To the south you will find hired, leased, or second hand South African 33, 34, and 35 Class diesels on almost all systems. Angola has tended to do its own thing, having a Commo style centrally planned and controlled government. Now that the lines are again connected expect to see a lot of Katangan and Zambian Copper Belt traffic using the Port of Lobito. There are now ex Queensland 1720 and 2600 class locos leased from RRL Grindrod (under a World Bank guaranteed scheme) with SNCC in the DRC
South Africa has some heavy haul mineral lines, In the above link you will note that the 15E Class electrics weigh 180 tonnes, used on block trains of 41,400 tonnes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sishen%E2% ... ilway_line