As the capital and biggest city of Zambia, Lusaka is one of the most rapidly growing cities in southern Africa. Lusaka is situated in the southern portion of the main plateau, at a height of around 1,300 metres. According to a 2010 census, the city’s population is approximately 1.7 million. Lusaka is Zambia’s hub of both commerce and government, and connects to the country’s four primary highways leading north, south, east and west. The official language of the city is English, but Nyanja and Bemba are also common.
The vibrant bustling of Lusaka is known to sport a charm that epitomises Zambia. Though somewhat short on the usual tourist attractions, the city offers plenty for visitors looking to explore the everyday sights and sounds of the African city, as well as providing some welcomed home comforts that you might miss while on the road.
Top Things to do in Lusaka
The newly refurbished Manda Hill Shopping Centre is within easy walking distance of the backpackers. It can also be reached via minibus from along the Great East Road or by means of a taxi. The mall has banks, an internet café, restaurants and fast-food outlets, and a large Shoprite supermarket for all your provisional needs. The Arcades Shopping Centre is just as easy to reach, and houses banks, book stores, internet cafes, an array of restaurants, a Spar supermarket and a multi-screen cinema if you’re in the mood to catch a film!
This photo of Pakati Sunday Market is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Lusaka has some wonderful markets through which you can browse. Each Sunday, the car park at Arcades Shopping Centre is turned into a craft market, where you can find fantastic souvenirs to take back home. The Northmead Market is a mere ten minutes’ walk from the backpackers, and contains some restaurants, small supermarkets and fresh food stalls, not to mention some wonderful bars. The Lusaka City Market is always bustling with plenty of eager bodies, but is remarkably fascinating. The market is very laid-back, and tourists don’t get hassled here. With more than 4,000 stalls it is most certainly worth a visit. The Soweto Market is the biggest market in the city, but is more functional and tends to lack the lovely ‘traditional’ atmosphere of the other markets.
Munda Wanga Environmental Park, located around 16 kilometres south of central Lusaka, is dedicated to the rehabilitation of a wide variety of animals in order to release them back into the wild – provided they are well enough to do so. The Park boasts an array of exquisite regional plant and animal life.
This photo of Lusaka Experience is courtesy of TripAdvisor
At Kabawata Cultural Village, situated southeast of the city’s centre, you will find a collection of huts and stalls peddling an array of craftwork. Prices are low here due to the fact that you can purchase directly from the workers who reside here. The specialties include carvings, baskets, masks, drums, jewellery and fabrics.