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Of course, there are game parks (like [[South Luangwa
Game Park]]) scattered throughout Zambia, and many Lusakans visit them on the weekends. Heading to [[Livingstone]] for a few days is also a popular choice. Finally, some people like the laid-back feel of [[Lake Malawi]]. |+|
Of course, there are game parks (like [[South Luangwa Park]]) scattered throughout Zambia, and many Lusakans visit them on the weekends. Heading to [[Livingstone]] for a few days is also a popular choice. Finally, some people like the laid-back feel of [[Lake Malawi]].
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Lusaka, in Lusaka Province, is the capital of Zambia.
Minibuses are ubiquitous, cheap, and fast. For under a dollar, you can get almost anywhere in the city. The problem, is that bus routes are not posted, and a novice is likely to get lost. Do not be afraid to ask a conductor where he's headed.
For the uninitiated, then, a taxi might be a better option, at least initially. There are no meters in Zambia's taxis, so prices are somewhat negotiable. Be sure to set a price before getting in the cab. (A tip for newbies: 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. )
In 2000, Lusaka got its first official mall, and the reception was huge. The South African equivalent of Wal-Mart -- GAME Stores -- was the anchor, and locals and ex-pats alike flocked to it. The mall also features some high-end boutiques, a bookshop, a Subway restaurant (but without turkey!?), some memorabilia shops, and some clothing stores.
For a more "African" feel, though, you need to go Kabwata Cultural Village on Burma Road. There you will find dozens of curio-makers and salesmen. You will quickly learn that "looking is free," but the goods are not. Be prepared to spend a while, and don't be afraid to dicker.
- The Dil offers the best Indian food in Africa for under $10. It's somewhat out of town, but well worth the drive.
- The Intercontinental Hotel does the best brunch in Zambia, for about $10.
- Fra-gigi's serves authentic Italian food for about $6. Look for the Mona Lisa portrait on the wall.
- The Lusaka Club provides quality steaks and Chinese food in a "country club atmosphere" for around $10.
- Spur's, the restaurant for the Holiday Inn, provides serviceable Western-styled meals for $5-$10.
- Debonair's Pizza delivers for about $5.
Lusaka boasts many Western-styled bars (e.g., Brown's and McGinty's, mainly used by tourists, and ex-pats). However, Zambians love to drink; there are, therefore, a number of bars frequented by locals, as well. However, these change often.
Accommodation in Lusaka runs the gamut.
- If you're traveling on the cheap, try ChaChaCha Backpackers. Wade, the owner, provides space to pitch a tent ($3), dorm beds ($5), or private rooms ($8-10). There is a good restaurant on-site, and Wade is happy to organize excursions -- safari, cultural, camping, etc. -- too.
There are a number of mid-range accommodation options, as well.
- The Abundant Life is an impeccably clean hostel run by a local church. No alcohol allowed on the premises. Staff is extremely friendly. They offer en suite rooms and genuine suites, too, for about $20. Keep in mind Abundant Life is also a church, and they offer worship services on-site. Don't be surprised (or afraid) if you wake to the sound of the congregation speaking in tongues!
- For more of a hotel feel, try The Ndeke Hotel for about $45/night. The rooms have double beds and satellite TV, and the hotel features a nice pool, a good bar, and a clean restaurant.
- The Intercontinental Hotel is probably the nicest in Lusaka. The Pamodzi is a close second. Finally, The Holiday Inn is casual and comfortable, but expensive. Expect to spend anywhere from $100-$300 night for rooms in these hotels.
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. Finally, some people like the laid-back feel of Lake Malawi.