Livingstone

Main street, Livingstone

Livingstone is to Zambia what the town of Victoria Falls is to Zimbabwe. Also known as Maramba, it was once the capital of Zambia before it was moved to Lusaka. Livingstone is in the Southern Province of Zambia.

The falls are on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. For information on the Zimbabwean side (including a comparison of the sides) see Victoria Falls.

Get in

By plane

The Livingstone International Airport was renamed Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport - he was an integral part of Zambia's independence movement.

You can also fly into Victoria Falls (IATA: VFA), Livingstone's sister city, on the Zimbabwe side of the border.

By train

there is a three times-weekly Sun,Tues,Thus overnight Golden Jubile Express train from Livingstone to Lusaka, taking around 12 hours. the sleeper class fare is 145 Kwacha. and the Economy Seat fare is 75 Kwacha. the train departs Livingstone at 18.00 pm. there is also, a third-class only train which connects with Mulobezi once a week.

By bus

Relatively comfortable luxury buses travel between Lusaka and Livingstone, for around Zambian Kwachas 120 (appr. US$ 11,-) tickets may be purchased in advance at the bus terminal in Lusaka. The most reliable bus operator is Mazhandu Family Bus, which costs Zambian Kwacha 120 (appr. US$ 11) and takes 6 and a half hours. They have seat number system, so there is no need to fight for your seat when boarding. Reserve tickets in advance from the blue kiosk on Mosi-Oa-Tunya Rd. If taking the overnight bus from Livingstone to Lusaka, note that the Lusaka station can be dangerous at night. Either ask the bus driver to help you find a taxi or wait on the bus with the other passengers until daylight. Other bus companies also operates this route . Uncomfortable things with these buses are that most of them have five seat on row, so space per passenger is not too much. These buses transport you in 6 hours to downtown Livingstone (total distance 470 km). It is also possible to catch a minibus from Lusaka, for about the same price.

By car

If you are aching to rent a car and drive yourself around Zambia, this might be the trip for you. The roads between Livingstone and Lusaka are among the country's best, and the trip involves only one left turn.

For the international driver, roads lead into Livingstone from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). You can buy a temp. import permit at your port of entry, for 1 month, 3 months or longer. Also a Zambian third party insurance is mandatory, next to reflective stickers or reflectors at the front of your vehicle (white) and at the back (red). Dimensions must be 5 x 5 cm, however rectangular is permitted as well.

By taxi

If coming from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), you can cross the border on foot, but you will need to get a blue taxis into Livingstone town. They charge about 10 USD for the trip. Minibuses charge about 5000 ZMK. Taxis are waiting just the border post.

Get around

The city of Livingstone -- where the bulk of the accommodation, restaurants, nightclubs, etc. are located -- is relatively small. Most likely, you will be comfortable walking around town. However, if you prefer not to, taxis prowl constantly. Official taxis are ones which are blue and have a red number plate. If you flag a taxi down on your way to the town centre, the driver may ask whether you are booking the taxi or not. If you are booking, you should pay full fare and driver is taking you to your doorstep. If you don't book, it means that you pay only for one seat and the driver can pick up other passengers who are going in the same direction.

The city sits about 6 miles/10km from The Falls, making it long enough to not want to walk. The going rate for a taxi is U.S. $10 in each direction between the town and the falls. However, if you are prepared to haggle you may get a lower price. Journeys to 5-star hotels tend to cost substantially more than the average journey but are still relatively inexpensive. If the hotel or guesthouse is arranging the taxi for you to the Falls, the price might be higher than what you can get when negotiating with the driver directly. The middle man needs money too!

See

Consider hiring a raincoat before you walk through the park

Victoria Falls Park

Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most amazing sights in the world. Twice as tall as Niagara Falls, and several times longer, Victoria Falls affords visitors a once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing experience. It might not be the very biggest, but few will debate that it's the most spectacular. If it is the official records you are after, the Victoria Falls is the largest curtain of falling water in the world.

Thanks to a well-designed park, visitors can touch the waters of the Zambezi just meters before it plunges over the falls; cross the gorge on a narrow bridge that provides spectacular views; and take thousands of photos - without a single one being redundant.

Wet weather gear is for hire as you enter the park. Turn left to walk in front of the gorge and see the water, take the track to the right to see the water just before it drops. Consider possibly doing the walk upriver first, as it may be less appealing when you are already soaking wet. Think about how you are going to keep your camera dry.

An admission fee of $20 is payable as you enter the park. The ticket is valid for multiple entries on the same day. There is limited food or drink inside the park. There is a small stand that sells bottled water and cold drinks. There are a couple of food stalls near the curio markets

Other sights

Do

Don't forget the activities at on the other side of the falls.

Adventure activities

Victoria Falls is becoming an adventurer's paradise. In recent years, many "extreme sports" have appeared, including:

Buy

ATMs.There are ATMs in the town centre and in the shopping centre on the way to the falls. and at the Livingstone airport. The ATMs only give money in local currency.

Livingstone provides an inexhaustible supply of curio vendors, women selling fabrics, boys selling cool drinks, girls selling jewellery, and so on. There main curio markets are near town, and near the entrance to the falls. The range of merchandise is about the same at both, as are the prices. The range of goods apart from souvenirs, curios and other locally made products for the tourist market is poor to non-existent.

Although there are some vendors who will follow you to try and sell their wares, they sellers are nowhere near as common or as aggressive as in neighbouring Zimbabwe. They mostly are near the falls, the markets, and the museum, and you can generally walk the streets through town without being accosted by touts.

You could easily spend all your money here. Be aware, though, that since this is a popular stop for tourists unfamiliar with bargaining, prices might be somewhat higher here than in other places. A savvy bargainer, however, can still strike gold although indistinguishable souvenirs are much cheaper outside Livingstone (on the roads to Lusaka for example)

If you Bungee Jump, Raft the Zambezi, or do any of the other "extreme activities," you've got to buy the t-shirt. It is a badge of honour in Africa, and a great way to tell others how tough you are. You can also buy photos and often videos of the extreme activities...try to get a look at the photos/video before buying (this is certainly possible with the bungi). Whilst the bungi videos are sometimes not videoshop quality you WILL be able to show your friends how great you are - to accompanying music.

Banks & ATMS & Shopping

Eat

Considering Livingstone is such a tourist destination, you can be certain that Western-style meals are easy to find -- everything from pizza, to burgers, even burritos! Several of the lodges and accommodations have restaurants and pubs on their grounds.

Drink

Every hostel, hotel, and resort in Livingstone features its own bar. If you want to get a cold one, you won't have to look far. There are also a number of nightclubs downtown, where tourists and locals alike dance to local and Western music. Manu local music is from Congo, those artists perform in Congo (DRC) local languages, so many times even local Zambians don't know meaning of the words, but rhythm, twisting and shaking is the issue here.

Stepright which is reputedly a hub of organized crime (though tourists should not have trouble), as well as an open-air club across the road and the bar and grill has a disco later on again next door in the center of town all very good. There is also a casino a short taxi-ride away where the drinks were slightly more expensive.

Hippos - the bar attached to Fawlty towers is the most common spot where tourists hang out, but many locals socialize there also.

Chez nTemba - typical Zambian nightclub. Open daily. One of the few places there is a door charge and the drink is slightly more expensive.

Rhapsody in new shopping center, Fallspark (locally known better as "spar" according to the supermarket which is in there)is upper-class bar/restaurant.

Sleep

There are a number of places to sleep in Livingstone. Budget here means under $20/night, mid-range between $20 and $200/night and splurge over $200/night.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Generally, Livingstone is a fairly safe town. They want to continue to attract foreign currency, so they are careful to make travellers feel safe. However, be careful about walking downtown at night, especially if you've been drinking. There are very few street lights, and many of the locals are very poor. Try not to annoy the taxi-drivers, particularly late at night when some have been drinking. It is not generally recommended for tourists to walk the 5 miles from Livingstone to Victoria Falls due to a number of recent reports of crime. The times of year in which bull elephants in musk are another reason for not walking; they become very irritable and aggressive, and are not shy about humans.

Increasing numbers of Zimbabweans are leaving their country. Zambia, especially Livingstone on the border, receives its share of Zimbabwean refugees, many of whom are poor and desperate. There have been some attacks reported recently, and some Zambians accuse Zimbabweans being behind them.

Rafting can be dangerous anywhere in the world, and Livingstone is no exception. Make sure you raft with an experienced and genuine guide. Ask around your hotel or resort about a potential guide's reputation: SOME ARE NOT GENUINE GUIDES. They will either take your money and leave, or worse, lead you on a bogus rafting experience that may endanger your life. Although this is a demanding river, there is no reason why anyone can't partake in a rafting trip, provided they go with experienced guides and a reputable company. Make sure your safety equipment and gear is in good repair and that you secure it properly.

You need to be very careful while exchanging currency to Kwachas - a number of touts will approach with better exchange rates and fool an unsuspecting tourist by clever tricks of hand - it is best to use the government bureau for exchanging your currency. Even the post office at Livingstone can be change currency.

Go next

You can catch a bus in Livingstone in Lusaka airport or alternatively, You can catch a bus in Livingstone that will take you through the desolate Southern Province to the Zambia-Namibia border. (If the bus breaks down, be prepared to wait; bring water and a snack. However, for the independent traveller, this is the fastest, cheapest, most memorable way to Namibia.) The bus will drop you in Sesheke, a small, dusty village on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River.

After crossing the Zambezi River by ferry or dugout canoe (!), you'll be in Katimi Mulilo, on the eastern tip of the Caprivi Strip. The ferry is taken out of service due to the new bridge which opened early 2004.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 31, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.