Lusaka is a place you will inevitably pass by when traveling in Southern Africa. It isn’t a place to spend too much time. Although it’s the capital city, it doesn’t offer a lot of sightseeing options. However, since you’ll have to pass by anyway, here are a few ideas of how to spend some time here.
1. Discover Zambian artwork while visiting Namwandwe Art and Sculpture Gallery
Located about 15 km (9.3 miles) away from the city center, it might be a bit tricky to get to if you don’t have your own transportation. The exhibition focuses on contemporary Zambian art, as part of the personal collection of John Kapotwe. The gallery is part of John Kapotwe’s personal house. If you are interested to learn more about Zambian artworks, this is a place you can’t miss. Besides, it’s the only one of its kind in Lusaka.
Namwandwe Art and Sculpture Gallery
Address: Leopards Hill Road, Lusaka, Zambia
Website: Namwandwe Art and Sculpture Gallery
2. Get some souvenirs at the Sunday crafts market
This is the perfect place not only to buy souvenirs, but also to interact with Zambians from all around the country. It will give you a good idea of the kind of crafts (mostly wooden) that are produced in Zambia. Feel free to bargain when you see something you like. But don’t be too stingy. The market usually starts around 9 am and lasts until late afternoon.
Sunday crafts market
Address: Arcades Mall, Lusaka 10100, Zambia
3. Munda Wanga Environmental Park
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Munda Wanga Environmental Park is a rescue center and a zoo located 16 km (10 mi) away from the city. The animals they have here are diverse, yet it does not compare to viewing wildlife in one of the national parks. In case you feel like going on a walk, another point of interest close by is the botanical garden. Locals enjoy coming here for picnics, since there aren’t many other opportunities in the city.
Munda Wanga Environmental Park
Address: Plot 175 Kafue Road, Chilanga, Lusaka, Zambia
Contact: +260 211278614
Facebook: Munda Wanga Environmental Park
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4. 5. The National Museum
Rather small, and not a modern interactive kind of museum, yet The National Museum in Lusaka offers comprehensive information about Zambian recent history. The texts are rather long, but it’s a good learning opportunity. They also have an art display of contemporary local artists, both paintings and sculptures. One or two hours should be enough for the visit. It’s not the most kid-friendly attraction - they will probably get bored very fast.
The National Museum
Address: Independence Ave, Nasser Road, Lusaka 10100, Zambia
Opening times: every day from 9 am to 4.30 pm
Contact: +260 975621110
Website: The National Museum
5. Pat cheetahs at Chaminuka Luxury Lodge and Game Reserve
Although it’s just 25 km (15 mi) away from Lusaka, it seems a totally different world. Chaminuka is both a lodge and a conservancy. Don’t expect the same amount of animals like in a national park - the area is much smaller and some of the animals are rather accustomed to people. However, they offer a wide range of activities from fishing to bird watching to bush walks and walking with cheetahs!
Chaminuka Luxury Lodge and Game Reserve
Address: latitude 15'10’’ South and longitude 28'30’’ East, Lusaka, Zambia
Contact: +260 211254146
6. Observe crocodiles at Kalimba Reptile Park
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Enthusiastic to see reptiles of all sorts? This is the perfect place for you. Here you can see pythons, huge crocodiles, turtles and other snake species. If you’re traveling with your kids, this is a place you can consider stopping. It’s northeast from Lusaka, about 20 km (12 mi) away. You can plan spending here an afternoon or just a few hours. In case you’re not vegetarian, they also offer crocodile meat hamburgers and barbecue.
Kalimba Reptile Park
Address: Off District Rd, Lusaka 10100, Zambia
Contact: +260 211213272
Website: Kalimba Reptile Park
7. Lusaka National Park
Zambia’s newest and smallest national park is very close to Lusaka, making it a good destination for a day trip. Although there are yet many animals, you should be able to see rhinos and maybe giraffes and zebras. The chosen location of Lusaka National Park is rather curious - close to the city and populated area. You can plan a few hours for the visit.
Lusaka National Park
Address: Coordinates 15°30′S 28°23′E, Lusaka, Zambia
Website: Lusaka National Park
8. Buy veggies in the open market
After the tourist market we hopped into a taxi to the city market. Here, the numbers were reversed; with no other white people in sight, our difference was clear enough without some men yelling out "Muzungu!" in our direction. Once, a woman holding a baby heard and whipped around, planting her baby in my supervisor's arms and smiling. None of us quite knew what to do except smile and give the child back! Before we'd left some of the other researchers shared stories of how they'd been mugged before, and how easy it was to target people like us. It had made me paranoid, and I clutched my bag tightly, jumping every time someone brushed past. I watched flies buzz around trays of uncovered minced meat, sweating in the 2pm sun, and it seemed impossible that anybody would buy - let alone eat - it. I watched as a man with a large trolley wheeled two cow's heads past us, blood still dripping from their necks and onto the floor underfoot. "We eat even the head," a man told me, presumably after seeing the horror on my face. "Nothing here is wasted. " Outside, women sold stacks of beans and maize and vegetables and fruit, often spraying the latter with water (a not-so-surprisingly effective marketing strategy in 34 degree heat). People wove through taxis and mini buses, drivers calling out to get our attention amongst the chaos. We hopped into a cab and were off, back to air-conditioned rooms and bottled water, our presence there evaporating as quickly as the trail of exhaust behind us. #Lusaka #Zambia #markets #everydayafrica
Lusaka City Market is placed close to the train station. Local farmers gather there to sell anything, from fruits to grain to clothes. It is a very colorful place, packed with people. Although chances are you might not be interested to buy many things, it is a great way to experience the local culture. If you do decide to buy something, bargain and don’t worry too much if you end up paying more than the locals. Like in any crowded place, take care of your belongings.
Lusaka City Market
Address: Corner of Los Angels and Lumumba Road,10101 Lusaka, Zambia
Make the most of your time in Lusaka
In general capitals are not representative for countries, and Lusaka is no exception. However, visiting capital cities gives a bit more context to the whole country. And sometimes passing by the capital city is a must because of admin reasons: it’s usually much easier to find transportation towards other destinations from the capital city. So hopefully this gave you a few ideas on how you can spend your time in Lusaka, no matter if you got there by choice or by need.
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