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C h r o n o l o g y

Railway completions:
1856: Alexandria - Cairo
1874: Aswan - Shellal (Upper Egypt) standard gauge, then Cape gauge.
1895: Johannesburg - Maputo (Lourenco Marques) (Mozambique)
1897: Cape Town - Bulawayo (South Africa - Zimbabwe)
1898: Cairo - Luxor standard gauge, Cape gauge Luxor - Aswan, 1926 standard gauge
1898: Matadi - Kinshasa (Leopoldville) (Congo)
1900: Wadi Halfa - Khartoum (Sudan)
1900: Harare (Salisbury) - Beira (Zimbabwe - Mozambique)
1901: Mombasa - Kisumu (Kenya)
1902: Swakopmund - Windhuk (Namibia)
1906: Khartoum - Port Sudan
1906: Kisangani (Stanleyville) - Ubundu (Congo)
1910: Khartoum - El Obeid (Sudan)
1910: Bulawayo - Lubumbashi (Zimbabwe - Congo)
1911: Massawa - Asmara (Eritrea)
1913: Tamatave - Tananarive (Magadascar)
1914: Dar es Salaam - Kigoma (Tanzania)
1915: Kabalo - Kalemie (Albertville) (Congo)
1917: Djibouti - Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
1929: Lobito - Dilolo (Angola)
1931: Nairobi - Kampala (Kenya)
1935: Beira - Lake Nyassa (Malawi)
1976: Dar es Salaam - Kapiri Mposhi (Tanzania - Zambia)

North Africa mostly standard gauge, Ethiopia, East Africa and Magadascar meter gauge, Eritrea initially 75, then 95 cm, Somalia 95 cm, Sudan, Central Africa, South Africa, neighboring countries Cape gauge, Mozambique partially also 2 ft.

Inauguration dates of famous trains
Some ones with steamer connections, after liberation and nowadays many ones stopped by civil wars:

The North:
1903: Le Caire - Louxor-Express, a CIWL de-Luxe, in 1926 as Star of Egypt extended to Shellal, CIWL until 1964, new trains from 1980.
There had been steamers connecting with the Wadi Halfa - Khartoum express.
1926: CIWL "Pullman" day saloons Alexandria - Cairo.
1926: Sunshine Express Cairo - Luxor, a white all-CIWL "Pullman" day train.

East Africa:
1914: Tanganjika- Epxress Dares Salaam - Kigoma.
1931: Uganda Mail Mombasa - Kampala, later extension to Kasese.

Congo-/Angola - Zimbabwe:
1910: North Mail Sakania - Bulawayo (by RR, change of trains for Lubumbashi), until c. 1964.
1928: Ilebo (Port Francqui) - Lubumbashi (Elisabethville), 1936-63 with CIWL service in LKD/BCK sleeping and restaurant cars, temporarily sleeping cars Sakania - Dilolo.
1931: "Express de luxe" Lobito - Dilolo, later Lubumbashi with CIWL service until WW II in CFB cars, then change of trains at Teixeira/Dilolo.
1931: New 3ft 6in Matadi - Kinshasa (Leopoldville), later Train Blanc (by Otraco) with CIWL restaurant service, connecting with river steamers.
1976: Express Dar es Salaam - New Kapiri Mposhi (by TAZARA, Chinese line and rolling stock).
In 2015 Railway Gazette Intl reported that the line from Lobito to the border of Congo has become rehabilitated.

South Africa:
1902: Train de Luxe Bulawayo - Cape Town by CGR/CSAR), later Southern Limited / Rhodesia Express (by SAR/RR), until 1982.
1903: Train de Luxe Johanesburg - Cape Town, later Union Limited / Union Express Pretoria - Cape Town (by SAR), interrupted 1942 - 1946, then called Blue Train.
1972: Blue Train Pretoria - Cape Town re-equipped, now "the best train of the world".
1989: The Pride of Africa inaugurated by Rohan Vos, Rovos Rail, a nostalgic tourist de-Luxe special with en-suite compartments in refurbished cars of various epochs, trips Cape Town - Pretoria and special trips to Swakopmund, Pietersburg, Golela, Maputo and from 1993 to Dar es Salaam.
1997: Re-introduction of the Blue Train, refurbished as a tourist de-Luxe train with en-suite compartments, Cape Town - Pretoria regularly, special trips to Victoria Falls, Hoedspruit (close to Mozambique) and Cape Town - Port Elizabeth.
1998: Inauguration of the Desert Express, a modern tourist de-Luxe train with en-suite compartments, Windhoek - Swakopmund regularly, (special) trips to Tsumeb and to Southern Namibia, trips to Luderitz considered.
Standard gauge for some lines in South Africa has become a matter of disputes.

Southern Africa (fat: main lines) in the '70s, now partially interrupted