Lusaka is the relaxed and friendly city that serves as Zambia’s capital. Most commercial activity takes place to the west of Cairo Road which is also the city’s main artery. Though Zambia is landlocked, there are many places to see that more than compensate for the lack of a beach tourism circuit.
1. Lusaka National Museum – The best place to understand Zambia’s history, art and ethnic diversity all in one place. Museums are almost always the best place to start when visiting any African country for the first time and Lusaka National Museum will lay the ground for a more enriching experience everywhere else you go.
2. Soweto Market – The perfect blend of a traditional and modern market. The front side of the market is modern, enclosed and orderly. The larger part however is at the back where there are numerous open air stalls spread out over a large area. Food, clothes, bicycle parts and even traditional medicine is sold here.
3. Henry Tayali Gallery – A local art exhibition that is a must-visit when shopping for curios and souvenirs. The staff are tourist-friendly and will be more than willing to dismantle and pack the art pieces you buy just to make sure the items are not ruined during travel.
4. Munda Wanga Environment Park – A centre of environmental education that doubles up as a wildlife park, botanical garden, bird sanctuary and recreational village. Many of the animals in the park were rescued from the black market wildlife trade.
5. Lilayi Lodge – The closest place to the city where you can see wildlife in their natural habitat. A morning or evening game drive is recommended. The lodge has a pool and restaurant. Poolside Sunday buffets are a sumptuous mix of local and international cuisine.
6. Parray’s Game Ranch – Less than 30 minutes drive from downtown Lusaka, the ranch is teeming with herbivorous wildlife such as kudu and zebras. Like Lilayi Lodge, Parray’s has a swimming pool and restaurant though the food variety here is probably not as diverse.
7. Kalimba Reptile Park – Unless you are queasy about snakes, the reptile park is thrilling. And it is not just snakes that you will see here – chameleons, tortoises and crocodiles are some of the other reptiles. You must sample the crocodile burger.
8. Arabian Nights Restaurant – A top Lusaka restaurant chain. Its branch in Kitwe town once won the ‘Best Restaurant’ award from the country’s tourism council. True to its name, the restaurant’s menu leans toward Arabian and Pakistani cuisine but there is also a considerable amount of game meat, seafood, salads, steak and ice cream.
9. Chit Chat Café – Fantastic atmosphere and cosy outdoor seating. If nothing else, make sure you try the Asian and Moroccan chicken salads and wraps. Be ready to wait though especially during peak meal hours as the kitchen staff can sometimes be really slow.
10. Victoria Falls – The world famous falls are close to 300 kilometres from Lusaka but it would be unfortunate for one to visit Zambia and fail to go see the falls. Flights by small plane would take an hour or two. If you choose to drive, it will take you 4 hours – you can be back to Lusaka same day if you leave very early in the morning.
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