Lusaka

Lusaka, in Lusaka Province, is the capital of Zambia. It is a cosmopolitan city that is home to approximately one in ten Zambians.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 27.4 27.4 27.5 27.1 25.8 23.8 24.0 26.5 30.3 31.7 30.4 27.7
Nightly lows (°C) 17.6 17.4 16.4 14.0 10.7 7.8 7.2 9.2 12.9 16.2 17.4 17.8
Precipitation (mm) 245.4 185.9 95.0 34.7 3.1 0 0.1 0.4 1.7 18.4 89.3 208.1

Source:w:Lusaka#Climate

Get in

By plane

Lusaka is reasonably well-served by flights from Johannesburg, Dubai, Nairobi, Addis Ababa. Emirates connects Lusaka with Dubai five times a week. South African Airways fly to Lusaka from Johannesburg with multiple flights per day, Kenya Airways from Nairobi two times per day. and Ethiopian Airlines from Addis fly daily.(NB: in Johannesburg the airlines have no control over baggage in transit and the airport's baggage concessionnaire is exempt from responsibility by contract, so lost and especially pilfered baggage can be an issue.)

Various other African airlines also serve Lusaka. In December 1994, Zambia Airways went into liquidation, and Zambian Airways (former Mine Air Services) ceased operation in early 2009. Zambezi Airlines ceased operations in late 2011.

With effect from 15 July 2009, all Zambian airlines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU. This decision, by the EU Air Safety Committee, followed an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit of Zambia, which discovered significant shortcomings in the ability of the Zambian civil aviation authorities to ensure the safe operation of airlines licensed by them. The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against flying with any Zambian-based airline if a reasonable alternative exists.

International airlines that have flights to Lusaka include:

Lusaka International Airport (LUN) is well-signposted and is situated 14 km (8.7 miles) from the City centre, off the Great East Road.

walk out of the airport terminal cross the car park to the petro station and you can pay from only k100 for a ride in to Lusaka city center. if you pick up a taxi outside the Terminal you pay a lot more.

By train

The new Jubilee Express Night train departs from Lusaka to Livingstone 3 times a week — Mon, Wed and Fri at 18:00. From Livingstone, the train goes to Lusaka every Sun, Tue and Thu at 18:00. The train takes about 12 hours. The fare for six-berth sleeper class is 145 Kwacha and for an Economy class seat 75 Kwacha. The new Jubilee express train also go to and from the Copperbelt in the north, and depart Lusaka twice a week

you can buy train tickets for the TAZARA railway from Kapiri Mposhi to Tanzania at Tazara House opp the market corner of cairo road and Independence Avenue Lusaka. students are eligible for a 50% discount. the Kapiri Mposhi Tazara train station is 200kms north of Lusaka. the Tazara railway is a good low cost way to get from Zambia to Tanzania. the 2nd class sleeper fare from Kapiri Mposhi to Mbeya Tanzania is 152 Kwacha. and the 2nd class sleeper fare from Kapiri Mposhi to the Tanzania border at Tunduma 900 kms is 109 kwacha. the 2nd class sleep fare all the way from Kapiri Mposhi to Dar Es saalam 1860 kms is 227 Kwacha. the train departs Kapiri Moshi two times a week on Tuesday at 16.00 and Friday at 14.00 and you get to the Tanzania Border the next day at around 11am.

By car

Since it is the commercial center and governmental seat of Zambia, all the arterial roads lead to Lusaka. Buses run between Livingstone and Kitwe. Operators of this route regularly change, so ask locally before you travel. Currently, Mazhandu is the most reliable option.

By bus

For buses within Zambia Mazhandu Family Bus Service is widely considered to be the best, most reliable line, by both locals and expatriates. Buses leave from Inter-City terminal, near downtown Lusaka. they always run true to schedule, have a large fleet of buses with extras to be called into service in case of a break down, make stops at well-lit areas with decent bathrooms, tag your bags for you, and have courteous bus attendants. The owner is almost always around, making sure everything goes smoothly. There are 7 buses a day between Lusaka and Livingstone, including the overnight bus. Several buses are "business class" with wider seats and greater legroom. the first bus departs about 6 am and the last bus departs 19.30 pm. with bus fares of 120 Kwacha = us$11 per person. it is 482 km from Lusaka to Livingstone and the trip takes around 7 hours.

International coach services are available, Intercape offers overnight services from Johannesburg and other destinations in Southern Africa. There are also buses going from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique to Lusaka.

Get around

Minibuses are ubiquitous, cheap, and, if already full, fast. Single rides generally cost K5 (about USD1) or less. Most routes head to/from the 4 major bus stations in the city centre (referred to collectively as "town"), although there are a small number of alternative routes or short-cut routes, especially during the rush hours. A rider can get just about anywhere in the city with one connection in town. Going in to town is quite straightforward. Going away from town it's best to ask the driver where he's going. Routes and destinations are not posted on the vehicles themselves, but if a bus is taking on passengers the conductor will likely be shouting the destination through the window. Minibuses do run into the evenings, but become decreasingly frequent at the evening wears on.

For the uninitiated, then, a taxi might be a better option, at least initially. Taxis come in two colours - sky blue, and a light grey, and are usually Toyota Corollas. There are no meters in Zambia's taxis, so prices are somewhat negotiable but always on the high side for Africa. Be sure to set a price before getting in the cab, K20 for a short ride is a fair tourist price. (Tip: Ask at a hotel lobby how much your trip should cost. If the cab driver states a higher price, mention that you're happy to ride a mini-bus. Watch the price drop. )

Take down a taxi driver's mobile number, most will be happy to do an all day deal, wait for you while you explore, pick you up early or late and take you to and from the airport.

Walking is an option as distances are not that large, and there are a fair number of street names to help orient yourself. However walking at night does have its hazards - manhole covers are not Lusaka's strong point and there are many uncovered drains that could swallow you whole, hence a torch is a good idea - and drivers seem allergic to moving over for pedestrians walking on the road - so best to stick to the dirt paths at the side of the roads (these are more common than pavements / sidewalks).

See

Do

Buy

Banks with ATMs

Supermarkets

Eat

Whilst not a gourmet destination there is some good eating to be had in Lusaka. The gradual shopping mall-isation of the city sadly means that uninspiring South African chain restaurants are multiplying - but there is still a good selection of independent places scattered around. Lusaka seems to specialise in Indian cuisine. Chindo Road is the closest thing that Lusaka has to a restaurant strip.

South Asian

East Asian

Upmarket

Other

Drink

Lusaka has many Western-styled bars (e.g., Brown's and McGinty's, mainly used by tourists, and ex-pats). Zambians love to drink; there are, therefore, a number of bars frequented by locals, as well. Unfortunately, these change often.

Sleep

Accommodation in Lusaka.

Backpacker hostels & Camping

Dorm beds from $10. and Camping from $5 pp a night.

Budget & Mid-range

you can still find a double room in a lodge for under $25 a night.

There are a number of Budget to mid-range accommodation options, as well. Of particular note are the 'executive lodge' type places - these are aimed at Zambian businessmen and Civil Servants on their travels and usually comprise a bedroom, breakfast, a pleasant bar and off-street parking - and are usually modern and clean and less than half the price of the top-end hotels.

Splurge

Expect to spend anywhere from $200-$400 night for rooms in these hotels.

All three of these hotels offer wireless internet, for approximately $12-20 USD per day. Unfortunately, the billing system for each requires you to repeatedly obtain new passwords and user-ids, rather than simply keeping track of your total usage during the stay. It's as if you had to get a new user-id and password every day to use the pool or minibar!

Stay safe

Lusaka seems to have obtained a bad reputation for being a city plagued by crime, but in reality, this is exaggerated - other African cities, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Lagos for example, are much more risky. However, travellers should appreciate that walking around the city at night is foolish and that you will become a target for pickpockets if you make your valuables visible. Also, one should remember that HIV/AIDS is endemic here, so if you have sex while visiting Lusaka, make sure to use a condom and take other appropriate precautions.

Cope

Embassies and High Commissions

Go next

Of course, there are game parks (like South Luangwa National Park), scattered throughout Zambia, and many Lusakans visit them on the weekends. Heading to Livingstone for a few days is also a popular choice.

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.