Accommodation in Zambia
Hotels in Zambia tend to be large concrete blocks with pretensions to an 'international' standard, or small, run-down places catering to Zambians who are not very particular about quality.
The large hotels are restricted to Lusaka and the Copperbelt. They generally have clean modern rooms, good communications, and all the facilities that international business people expect. Their prices reflect this, at around US$81–100/£45–55 per person sharing, or US$135–162£75–90 for a single. These generally have little to distinguish them from each other, and are pretty soulless. The only alternatives are a few game-lodge-cum-hotels which are within reach of Lusaka – like Lilayi, Chisamba, Chaminuka and Lechwe Lodge. These have more character and make more interesting places to stay than the international hotels, but they're further away from town and take time to get to.
Zambia's smaller and cheaper hotels vary tremendously, but very few are good and many seem over-priced. Zambian hotels are a very uninspiring bunch on the whole, so most visitors spend as little time in them as possible.
In the last few years Zambia's larger towns, and especially Lusaka, have seen large numbers of small, pleasant guesthouses beginning to spring up throughout the more spacious suburbs. These are not very practical if you need a courtesy bus to the airport, room service, or a telephone beside your bed – but they are often full of character and very good value. Expect them to cost US$22–54/£12–30 per person sharing, or US$35–70/£20–40 for a single.
These are dotted around the country in virtually every small town: a very useful option for the stranded backpacker. The town or district council usually runs them and, although a few have degenerated into brothels, others are adequate for a brief overnight stop. The sheets are usually clean, and most have rooms with private facilities. These are normally clean, though rarely spotless or in mint condition.
Lodges and bushcamps
Zambia's lodges and bushcamps are a match for the best in Africa. As befits a destination for visitors who take their game viewing and birdwatching seriously, the camps are very comfortable but concentrate on good guiding rather than luxury per se. En-suite showers and toilets are almost universal, the accommodation is fairly spacious, the organisation smooth and food invariably good to excellent. owever, few forget that their reputations are won and lost by the standards of their individual guides.
Aside from larger operations like Mfuwe and Chichele lodge (which are different in emphasis), expect a maximum of ten to eighteen guests, and close personal care. But beware: if you seek a safari for its image, wanting to sleep late and then be pampered in the bush; or expect to dine from silverware and sip from cut-glass goblets... Then perhaps Zambia isn't for you after all.