Zambia’s capital and commercial centre is Lusaka, which doesn’t try to compete with Livingstone for the tourist dollar. This is a working city where you go predominantly for business but if you do spend a few days there, you’ll discover lively markets, several top-quality hotels with good restaurants and enough nightlife to keep you occupied.
As a former British colony, the country’s most common business language is English. The Zambian National Tourist Board can give you a map of the city, while the Lusaka Lowdown magazine contains useful information about what’s happening in town.
Zambia is GMT+2 with no Daylight Saving Time.
The local currency is the kwacha, each of which comprises 100 ngwee. The kwacha-US dollar exchange rate fluctuates daily. You can change money in banks, bureaux de change and hotels. Most ATMs in the city accept Visa cards, and some accept MasterCard.
It’s consistently warm in Lusaka, with the wet season from December to March. Temperatures can reach 32oC between October and March, although thunderstorms frequently occur to cool things down. Winter days average 26oC.
Plug sockets in Zambia can be of three types: the UK style with three square pins, the European two-round pin variety or the three round-pin type. The standard voltage is 230V.
Lusaka has decent mobile phone coverage and several places with wi-fi hotspots, including hotels.
Communal mini-buses are the main form of public transport and the fastest and cheapest way of getting around, provided you can work out where they’re heading. Taking a taxi is easier, but more expensive. They’re not metered, so agree on the fare upfront. You can rent a taxi for the entire day, which is a good way of seeing all the sights in a day or two. You can walk around Lusaka quite easily and safely.