Lusaka Skyline

Travel to Lusaka – Capital of Zambia

Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, lies at the junction of the main highways to the north, east, south and west at an altitude of 1,300m above sea level. It is a city whose bustling chaos has a certain charm.

The traveller passing through Zambia’s capital may not see any reason to stay, but Lusaka is the product of a country battling to find its way in a new world, caught between colonial beginnings, years of socialist independence and now democracy.

The markets are a hive of activity, the thousands of stalls are filled and cleared every day. A myriad of motor spares dealers, restaurants, hairdressers, fishmongers, fruitsellers and rows and rows of “salaula” – discarded clothing from the West sold to Africa by the bale.

Viewed from the villages, Lusaka is the glittering capital which still persuades rural Zambians to take the bus there in search of jobs and dreams.

The capital covers an area of over 70 km square and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. Its population almost trebled in the immediate post-independence era and continues to grow daily.

Lusaka is a sprawling, unplanned metropolis with many multi-storey buildings, high-walled suburbs and busy shanty towns. Fast-growing industrial development has brought together people of many nationalities, making it a bustling centre for economic, political and cultural activities.

The shops are mainly grouped along the broad double carriageway of Cairo Road, but the government buildings are about 6 km away along Independence Avenue.

A visit to one of Lusaka’s markets is a must. It’s an interesting experience and well worth a visit, if just for the colourful and lively atmosphere. The Soweto Market is two roads west of Cairo Road, and the other opposite the Tazara building in Independence Avenue. A new, smarter, roofed market has just been built along Freedom Way.

Lusaka has many restaurants for all tastes, and a variety of shopping from the new malls to craft markets.

Lusaka is close to the centre of Zambia between the eastern and western bulges. All major routes to the east, west, north and south flow through the city. There are no scheduled bus services – taxis range from 12 seater minibuses; dilapidated cars; good dial up cabs or chauffeur driven vehicles. There are air links to most of the major tourist destinations in Zambia from Lusaka International Airport.

  • A tour around the city will reveal many developments – including a new market and a multi-million dollar shopping mall under construction. Old buildings are being refurbished and the city’s parks are being transformed.
  • Venture out to a nightclub or roadside shebeen and “get in the groove”, so to speak, of the local people. Dance the night away to the sounds of rhumba, kwela, techno or good old rock ‘n roll.


Africa Travel Information