LUSAKA – THE CAPITAL CITY OF ZAMBIA
Lusaka is Zambia’s capital city which is also the administrative headquarters for central government. It has become something of a boom town of late. New buildings are going up everywhere and main chain stores and shopping malls are springing up all over the suburbs. And viewed from the villages, Lusaka is the glittering capital which still persuades rural Zambians to migrate to the city in search of jobs and dreams.
The capital covers an area of over 70km2 and is one of the fastest-growing cities in central Africa. Its population almost trebled in the immediate post-independence era and continues to grow daily. It is a sprawling, metropolis with many multi-storey buildings, high-walled suburbs and busy compounds. Development has brought together people of many nationalities, making it a bustling centre for economic, political and cultural activities. The city lies at the junction of the main highways to the north, east, south and west. There are air links to most of the major tourist destinations in Zambia from Lusaka International Airport.
Lusaka is centrally located and all major routes to the east, west, north and south flow through the city. From Lusaka, our team can organize your travel arrangements to any part of Zambia.
The domestic railway goes to Livingstone, Kapiri Mposhi and the Copperbelt. The Tanzania Zambia Railway – Tazara – comes down as far as Kapiri Mposhi, where the Zambia Railways train links it to Lusaka. Buses arrive from Harare, Lilongwe, Johannesburg, Livingstone and the Copperbelt.
Lusaka International Airport, which is 14km from the city centre, receives most international flights. It is also where most charter companies operating local flights are based.
HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATION IN LUSAKA
Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, is one of the fastest growing cities in central Africa with new buildings, shopping centres and chain stores regularly popping up. Accommodation options are varied and spread out across the metropolis. The city centre bustles with roadside stalls in the day and at night offers a wide range of restaurants, night clubs and bars. Visitors can also choose to stay on the outskirtsof town in country lodges.
Central Lusaka offers a variety of budget, midrange and top- end options. The level of choice in accommodation in Lusaka is forever increasing as the city rapidly expands. There are a couple of five star hotels perfect for the corporate traveller or if you are just seeking luxury for a few days. Mid- range options vary from conveniently located hotels to sophisticated guesthouses. Budget accommodation varies considerably in price and quality but many visitors prefer the increasing number of smaller guesthouses scattered throughout the city.
We enjoy good relationships with most hotels and lodges in Lusaka, and our team is able to book accommodation that suits your taste and budget.
RESTAURANTS AND NIGHTLIFE
There are upper market clubs and restaurants in the suburbs but many roadside shebeens offer a closer experience of how Zambians “get in the groove” and dance the night away to the sounds of rhumba, kwela, hip hop, or R & B.
There are also many good restaurants in Lusaka including coffee shops, take aways, night clubs and pubs.
WHAT TO SEE IN LUSAKA
Lusaka has an interesting history and culture and there are plenty of sights to see to help make the most of both. As with most African cities, Lusaka’s markets are its beating heart. For the best local wares and wonders, the Sunday Market at the Arcades Shopping Centre on Great East Road is a good place to fill your suitcase with souvenirs before flying home. If it’s atmosphere and cheap local fare that you are after then the Town Centre Market or Lusaka City Market are a better bet and less-touristy, if a little more chaotic.
Most of our clients who stay in Lusaka only spend a night, usually between flight connections. However, if you do stay longer then there are a handful of interesting things to do and places to see around the city of Lusaka.
Most of our travelers staying in Lusaka prefer dining in their hotel’s own restaurant – all of which offer reasonable food, although few would win any culinary awards. However, Lusaka offers some relaxed and reliable restaurants, which can be more interesting places to dine, and perhaps more lively places to chat to local Zambians and experts.
Modern malls such as Manda Hill and the Arcades complex have revolutionalized shopping in Lusaka. Now visitors and Zambia’s more affluent residents shop in spacious malls, amongst large supermarkets, mobile phone outlets and high-end South African chains.
However, many of Lusaka’s traditional markets and bazaars still exist and are worth a visit to pick up some more unique souvenirs, and also provide an authentic Zambian shopping experience even if you don’t buy anything.
LUSAKA: MUSEUMS AND CULTURE
Kabwata Cultural Centre is made up of 43 rondavels, which were temporary housing for Lusaka’s black labour force in the 1930s and 40s. Originally numbering in the hundreds, most of these huts were demolished by government in the 1970s, but the few that remained were converted into a cultural centre to help preserve Lusaka’s heritage. These huts are now occupied by artists from across Zambia creating carvings, jewellery, and other crafts, making this one of Lusaka’s best spots for buying hand-made curious and souvenirs.
The National Museum is dedicated to showcasing Zambia’s history and culture with sections devoted to archeology, ethnography, and political and social history. The museum was only opened in 1996 after being converted from an incomplete government building, and while it does contain a few interesting exhibits, it retains the feeling work is still in progress.
Henry Tayali Visual Arts Centre focuses on contemporary Zambian art exhibitions. Items are available for purchase after some negotiations with the artists.
Nomwande Art Gallery displays paintings and sculptures from more prominent Zambian artists.
Lusaka City and Township Tours can be arranged for our clients who have enough time in Lusaka between their flights. These can provide an interesting overview of Lusaka’s key tourism attractions, whilst experiencing various aspects of Zambian daily life. It is also possible to incorporate visits to traditional healers and local breweries.
EXCURSIONS OUTSIDE LUSAKA
Kalimba Reptile Park is a good place to get a safe look at some of Zambia’s more dangerous venomous snakes and rare reptiles such as the African slender nosed crocodile. The park also has fishing ponds, a children’s play ground and serves crocodile burgers made from farmed animals.
Munda Wanga Wildlife Park & Sanctuary contains a selection of Zambia’s flora and fauna in specialist open enclosures that recreate the animal’s natural environment. The park has a heavy emphasis on conservation and environmental sustainability.
Lusaka National Park is a new national park being constructed approximately 15km from Lusaka. Infrastructure in the park has been under development for the past few years and the park is now open to visitors.