TOWNS IN ZAMBIA
Zambia is one of Africa’s most urbanised countries, with over 44% of the population living in its towns and cities. And as Zambia’s economy continues to grow (at one of the fastest rates in the developing world), it seems this trend will increase in years to come, with more and more poor rural dwellers moving to urban areas, many of which have already seen substantial development since the 1990s.
The capital Lusaka is at the core of this movement and has become one of Africa’s fastest growing cities. The steady increase of tourism throughout the country as a whole has brought further development and better tourist infrastructure to once small provincial towns like Livingstone and Chingola, as well as to commercial and industrial centres like Ndola and Kitwe.
With all this in mind, in many of Zambia’s towns and cities there is a sense of restlessness and perpetual motion, complimented by an increasingly cosmopolitan mix of people, cultures and commodities from all over the country and far beyond its borders too. To overlook Zambia’s urban centres is to overlook the people of Zambia.
SOME TOWNS AND CITIES IN ZAMBIA
LUSAKA – CAPITAL OF ZAMBIA
Lusaka has become something of a boom town of late. New buildings are going up everywhere and many chain stores and shopping malls are springing up all over the sprawling suburbs.
The road development isn’t quite keeping up so peak hour traffic is finally becoming like other cities, but it has an optimistic air of a town on the rise. For many, this is the perfect example of what economic liberalisation has done for the country. 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. Well over 60% of its 2 million inhabitants are unemployed, but there are surprisingly few beggars. Although petty theft occurs, most people try to make an honest living selling their wares or services, always with a friendly smile.
The markets are a hive of activity as the thousands of stalls are set up, upgraded and cleared away every day. A myriad of motor spares dealers, restaurants, hairdressers, fishmongers, fruitsellers and rows and rows of “salaula” – stalls of discarded clothing from the West sold to Africa by the bale. The capital covers an area of over 70km2 and is one of the fastest-growing cities in central Africa. It’s population almost trebled in the immediate post-independence era and continues to grow daily. There has been no influx control and the city is bursting at the seams. Grossly inadequate municipal facilities are hard-pressed to cope with the ever-increasing demand. It is a sprawling, metropolis with many multi-storey buildings, high-walled suburbs and busy shanty towns. 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, and at an altitude of 1300 metres above sea level. There are air links to most of the major tourist destinations in Zambia from Lusaka International Airport.
For maps of the city, try the Zambian National Tourist Board, the craft shop at the Pamodzi Hotel or the Map Centre, Mulungushi House, opposite the US embassy. There is a local magazine called the Lusaka Lowdown which is a mine of information on what’s happening in town and full of useful adverts for local services and products. Famous faces from Lusaka include the eminent Dambisa Moyo, who is an international economist and the author of the New York Times Bestsellers Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How there is a Better Way for Africa, and How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and the Stark Choices Ahead.”
There are no scheduled bus services – the blue taxis range from 12 seater minibuses, to dilapidated cars, to good dial-up cabs, to chauffeur-driven vehicles for hire.
RESTAURANTS AND NIGHTLIFE
There are upmarket 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 hob, or R&B
There are many good restaurants in Lusaka including coffee shops, take aways, night clubs, pubs as well as their phone numbers.
+WHEN TO VISIT
Population: +.- 2 Million
Size: 70km sqare
Shopping: Manda Hill
Parks: Lusaka National Park
Named after the famous Victorian missionary explorer, Dr David Livingstone, who explored this area extensively, Livingstone Town was established in 1905.
As a major European settlement, being close to the Zambezi River crossing over to Southern Rhodesia, the town was made the capital of Northern Rhodesia in 1911. As the capital, it enjoyed excellent facilities far superior to anything elsewhere in the country, as can be seen from the surviving Edwardian buildings that line the city’s main road. Livingstone even had the distinction of having the country’s first newspaper. The capital was moved to Lusaka in 1935 and the bustling city has become a quiet town, but still retaining a special charm. A major event in 2011 was the installation of the town’s first set of traffic lights! The proximity to the Zambezi River and the spectacular Victoria Falls has led Livingstone to become a base for travelers from all over the world wanting to explore this Wonder of the World.
There are several Adventure Companies offering Riverboarding, White water rafting, Canoeing, Horse riding trails, Abseiling, as well as Boat cruises, Walks with lions, Elephant back safaris, Quad bikes riding, Kayaking and tours to the Victoria Falls, Mukuni Cultural Village and the places of interest in Livingstone.
Many tour companies and lodges offer a booking agency service in Livingstone to help make your stay as easy and enjoyable as possible. You can fly directly into Livingstone via Livingstone airport.
Solwezi is the capital of the North-Western Province of Zambia. Kaonde is the largest tribe represented in Solwezi, but you can also find large numbers of Lunda and Luvale. The main industry of Solwezi is copper mining. Three miles from city center you can find the “Kifubwa Rock Stream Shelter” located next to the Kifubwa River. There are inscriptions to be found from the late Stone Age people.. Solwezi does not have any other tourism attractions but it is useful for supplies if you’re coming from Lusaka and heading west, or driving into Kafue from the north.
Most shops and offices concentrated along the central tarred road. There are several fuel stations here, including two large Total stations, and Solwezi is generally a reliable place to refuel. You should certainly fill up completely if you’re heading west or south from here. There are several large branches of banks and a Shoprite supermarket which is the best shop you’ll find if travelling further west. In an emergency, there’s a 24-hour Medical Center.
Capital of the North-Western Province of Zambia
Average temperature varies from 16°C in June to 23°C in November