In the streets of Lusaka
With a population of 3,5 mill. people, Lusaka is considered to be one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. It's a city with both gravel roads and bitumen roads, dilapidated houses with flat corrugated roof and modern concrete buildings. The pavements are in use for street sellers.
Summer is hot, anything light goes. Winter is something difficult to imagine; it IS cold!!! Take something warm, esp. night time is chilly. Malaria is there during the rain season, and also in some areas where there is stagnant water year round. Mediacation is essentian (paludrine/heliopar)! Also take a 1st aid kit with antiseptic swaps, needles & syringes, painkillers & some multipurpose antibiothics. Take really all what you think you are going to need for taking pics, things might be there but the cost and quality are not really something one would be prepared for... If traveling during the rain season, take a mosquito net!!! Thanks to my own carelesness I managed to get malaria... never again!!!
Zambia - my second home
"Arriving in Lusaka"
First time to arrive in Lusaka was by bus in early 2005. After a sleepless night on a non-Scandinavian coach from Nakonde, at the Tanzanian border, I found the Lusaka hotel on Cairo rd. One of few places to stay in central Lusaka. It is an old colonial style hotel.
After a month at a friends place in Kabulonga and some nights at Peace gardens guesthouse in Rhodes park it was time for a more permanent solution. A small house in Chelston area was affordable to rent for six months and it became my home for a year.
"Adopting to local customs"
Eating at restaurants like o'Hagans or Rhapsodys was very nice, but Lusaka was and still is expensive when it comes to imported customs and products, so adopting to local food was a good way to save money. Mealie-meal (maize flour) for cooking nsima costed maybe 1500 Kwacha per kg (~1/3 $) in big bags and vegetables and kapenta at the local markets were not expensive either. Chickens (quite tough ones) could be bought for maybe 15000 Kwacha each (3 $). For breakfast, instant coffe (not ricoffe which is almost coffe-free) and white bread would do.
To get around I walked a lot or used the blue buses and at night mostly taxi. I never encountered any major problems, but at night I always had company by local friends though. Otherwise moving alone at night might not be a good idea as foreigner.
"Life in Lusaka"
There are plenty of different restaurants all over Lusaka. Nightclubs can be found in Northmead (alfabar and zenon), Arcades (times and rhapsodys), around town centre (chez n'temba and brown frog) etc. Bars are numerous in all residential areas at the local markets. Mosi and shake-shake are ubiquitous beverages in Zambia.
For shopping you have Manda hill and Arcades and some even newer shopping malls have been built recently. If you feel homesick, this is where you can go to drink latte and eat ice cream.
During my later visits in Lusaka I've been staying at Ungweru guesthouse and Oleander lodge, both in Chelston-Avondale area. Ungweru is a small tranquile guesthouse and Oleander lodge has a outdoor bar by the pool. They are both very affordable.
Visitor to Lusaka
"September 2006 visit"
I visited Lusaka the first two weeks of September 2006. A surprisingly modern city, but in typical African fashion looking worn all the time. The people speak excellent English and are very friendly. If the staff in your hotel have been educated in the international school they may speak with a better accent than you do.
As I was on business I didn’t have much time to take in the views. Not that there are many according to the tourist information leaflets.
I only really got to spend one day walking around the downtown area of Lusaka. That is really all you need. To me it seems a typical Southern Africa capital city. Nothing special, but a fairly decent place to explore for a short bit. The outskirts are fairly nice from what I saw. Besides Friday rush hour traffic it seems a typical city, with an African flair.