Lusaka is reasonably well served by international flights, and currently British Airways is the main intercontinental carrier from Europe direct to Zambia, but other carriers are possible if you use Nairobi or Johannesburg as gateways to the continent. International airlines represented in Lusaka include:Air Angola
PO Box 37731, Lusaka; tel: 01 222401, 221684; fax: 01 238633; tlx: ZA 40550 Air Botswana
c/o Steve Blagus Travel, Nkwazi Rd, PO Box 31530, Lusaka; tel: 01 227739/40, 227285; fax: 01 223724; tlx: ZA 43320 Air France
c/o Steve Blagus Travel, Nkwazi Rd, PO Box 31530, Lusaka; tel: 01 227739/40, 227285; airport tel: 01 271212; fax: 01 225178; tlx: ZA 41390 Air India
1st Floor, Shop 4, Findeco House, Cairo Rd, PO Box 34471, Lusaka; tel: 01 223128, 226349; fax: 01 228124 Air Malawi
ZNIB House, Dedan Kimathi Rd, PO Box 36384, Lusaka; tel: 01 228120; fax 01 228124 Air Tanzania
5300 Pandit Nehru Rd, PO Box 32635, Lusaka; tel: 01 251189, 252499 Air Zimbabwe
Kariba House, 32 Chachacha Rd, PO Box 35191, Lusaka; tel: 01 225431, 221750; fax: 01 225540; email: email@example.com; www.airzim.co.zm British Airways
PO Box 32006, Lusaka; tel: 01 254444, 255320, 254482; fax: 01 250623, 255328; email: firstname.lastname@example.org, ba.I.Zambia@BritishAirways.com; www.britishairways.com Kenya Airways/KLM
Church Rd, PO Box 31856, Lusaka; tel: 01 228908/886; fax: 01 228902; tlx: ZA 40460; email: email@example.com; www.kenya-airways.com South African Airways
Rm 242, Hotel InterContinental; tel: 01 254350; fax: 01 254064; airport tel: 01 271101; fax: 01 271170; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Mon–Fri 08.30–16.30, Sat 09.00–11.00.
The charter companies and local airlines based in Lusaka have had a chequered past, with companies forming and disappearing with monotonous regularity.
The current contenders are wise to stick mainly to domestic routes. Zambian Airways (formerly Roan Air) have the best planes. Their 19-seaters are so shiny and new they make you wonder who found the money to buy them. Airwaves are consistently reliable, but they've a long way to go before they compete on a larger scale.
Outside of Zambia (and even inside sometimes), most travel agents won't have a clue about the intricacies of Zambia's internal flights. So make sure that you arrange flights through a specialist tour operator that knows and understands the situation here. If you need to arrange something whilst you are in Zambia, or need to contact an airline in a hurry, then try the following: Airwaves
Tel: 01 224334 / 223952; airport: 01 271064; cell: 96 755640 / 752304 / 761147 / 764730 / 755639; fax: 01 223504 / 224334 Avocet Air Charters
Tel: 01 233422 (airport) or 264866 (after hours); cell: 702056; tel/fax: 01 229261 Zambian Airways (formerly Roan Air)
PO Box 310277, Lusaka International Airport; tel: 01 271066, 271230; tlx: ZA 40410 Stabo Air Charters
Tel: 01 235976 (24-hour); cell: 771822; fax: 01 233481; email: email@example.com Staravia
PO Box 34273, Lusaka; tel: 01 271332/3; airport tel: 01 271332/3; fax: 01 291862Lusaka Airport
The airport is well signposted, if isolated, at 25km from the centre, off the Great East Road. Transport there is either by the courtesy buses of the big hotels (InterContinental, Holiday Inn or Taj Pamodzi), or by private taxi. A taxi should cost around US$20/Kw100,000 between the airport and the city, though this is the route for which the drivers will charge most imaginatively.
As you approach the airport, the road splits into two. The left fork goes to the private hangars of the smaller airlines: Zambian Airways (formerly Roan Air), Airwaves and Star Avia. If you are taking one of these flights, then you will usually go directly to the relevant hangar. Most courtesy buses will drop you at the right place, if you ask the driver. Otherwise, head for the main terminal on the right, which services the larger airlines and the international flights.
If you are arriving into the main terminal and connecting to one of the smaller airlines, say Airwaves, for an internal flight, then there will normally be someone from Airwaves to meet you in the main terminal, and transfer you through to their hangar. If in doubt, ask at the helpful information desk in the airport's main hall.
By busLuxury coaches
Coach operators tend to come and go, so it's best to ask around Cairo Road's travel agents or at the main bus station (see below) for the latest news, including details of services to South Africa.
Most private long-distance buses operate out of the bus station on Sapele Road, between Cairo Road and the railway (behind Shoprite/bank of Zambia), to all district/provincial capitals – even remote ones such as Mbala, Mansa, Kashikishi and Nakonda. Carriers include CR, Virgin-Lux, Euro-Africa and RPS buses (although the latter also leave from freedom way station; tel. 235558). Departure is early in the morning, around 05.00 – and fairly punctual too; it's advisable to be there half an hour ahead of the listed departure time. Buses are well maintained and comfortable, with air conditioning and on-board toilet, and they tend to reach their destinations in good time – albeit sometimes at high speed.To/from Livingstone and Kitwe
There is usually at least one operator running fast, air-conditioned coaches between Livingstone and Lusaka and on to Kitwe. However, operators seem to change regularly, so do ask locally before you travel.
Currently try Euro-Africa Coaches (their office is behind Findeco House, on Cairo Road); CRS, which operates from a base behind Shoprite on Cairo Road; or RPS on Freedom Way, opposite Auto World. CRS buses leave Lusaka at 08.50 on Tuesday, travelling via Kafue (arr 10.39), Monze (14.22) and Choma (17.26) before arriving in Livingstone at 00.42 on the Wednesday; the trip costs around US$20. The return bus leaves Livingstone on Friday at 09.00, stopping at Choma (15.45) and Monze (19.14) before reaching Lusaka at 00.47 on the Saturday. It then continues north to Kapiri Mposhi (07.46), Ndola (12.45) and Kitwe (15.16). Return buses leave Kitwe on Monday at 18.30, arriving in Lusaka on Tuesday morning at 08.17. There are departures from Lusaka daily, at about 07.30–08.00, using modern, fast coaches which run to time (to the minute, according to the timetable). They can be booked and paid for in advance; if possible, it's best to go to the bus station at least a day before you travel to buy your ticket. The journey takes about six hours, and a ticket costs about US$15. Other buses and minibuses
The Intercity Bus Terminal is a noisy, bustling station sheltering under a large purpose-built roof on the western side of Dedan Kimathi Road, near the railway station. It is not a place to go idly strolling at night, or to display your valuables, but it is the obvious place to catch a bus to virtually any of Zambia's main towns. Locals are paranoid about thieves who frequent the area, so expect warnings about safety. However, if you keep your belongings with you and are careful, then you should have no problems.
Despite the apparent confusion that greets you, there is some order to the terminal's chaos. The buses sitting in bays are grouped roughly by their eventual destinations, as indicated on the white boards displayed next to the driver. If you can't see the name you want, then ask someone – most people will go out of their way to help, and the staff on the information desk are exceptionally helpful.
For most (but not all) long-distance buses, you will need to buy a ticket at the terminus in advance. Tickets are on sale the day beforehand, and the buses run to a timetable. Generally there are two different prices for any given place: a higher one to travel in a smaller, faster minibus, and a lower rate for the larger, slower normal buses. Expect about a 20% premium for a minibus.
Most buses (big or small) will not leave until they are full, which can take hours. If possible, it is better not to pay until the bus has started on its way, as you may want to swap buses if another appears to be filling faster and hence is likely to depart earlier. Buses to some destinations leave frequently, others weekly – dependent upon demand. The only way to find out is to go there and ask. Just a few of the many options include:To Livingstone
Bus no 269, 32 or 996. Two or three buses per day, leaving from 07.30 onwards; costs US$8/Kw40,000 To Kitwe and Kapiri Mposhi
Bus no 223. Two or three departures a day, mostly in the morning and early afternoon; costs US$5/Kw25,000 to Kitwe, US$6/Kw30,000 to Kapiri Mposhi for a minibus or Kw20,000/US$4 for an ordinary bus.To Chipata
Bus no 999 or LSK05. One bus per day, leaving mid morning and costing around US$10/50,000 per person.To Mongu
Bus no JR-LSK1221. Normally one bus per day, in the early morning; cost US$5/Kw25,000.
A few international buses also leave from here to Zimbabwe, including: To Harare
Run by Dzimiri Special Buses, departing once a day, Mon–Sun, between about 09.00 and 10.00; costs US$7.20/Kw36,000.To Lilongwe
Departs Tuesday, Fridays and Sundays around 08.00; costs US$10/Kw50,000.To Dar es Salaam
Departs every day; takes about two days to reach destination. Costs around US$14/Kw70,000.Postbuses
The post office now runs just one scheduled passenger service, with vehicles stopping only at post offices. Seats can be booked in advance for passengers. These are quicker and less crowded than the normal buses (they claim to run to a timetable), though not more comfortable.
The booking office for postbuses is at the main post office on Cairo Road. Book two to three days before departure. The route to Kasama costs US$12/Kw60,000 and stops at Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Mkushi, Serenje, and Mpika. Buses depart Mon, Wed and Fri at 06.30, arriving at their final destination at 17.00, and return the next day at the same time.
This cost reduces proportionately if you alight at a town en route. These buses return to Lusaka on the day following their outward journey. Tickets can be booked at local post offices where they stop, but note that postbuses cannot be hailed from the roadside.
Few travellers use Zambia's ordinary trains for transport, but if you have lots of patience, and a few good books, then try them. Lines link Lusaka with Livingstone and the Copperbelt. Express trains to Livingstone leave at 19.30 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, taking about 12 hours. Slower trains, which stop even more frequently, leave every morning.
The regular, efficient TAZARA trains to Tanzania are different. They leave from Kapiri Mposhi, not Lusaka, so see page 398 for details. Although tickets are normally purchased in Kapiri Mposhi, the company's main office is at Tazara House in Lusaka. To get there, take Independence Avenue from the south end of Kafue Road, cross the bridge over the railway line, and you'll see Tazara House on your left. The current timetable is usually displayed on a noticeboard outside, to the left of the door, and inside you may buy tickets for TAZARA in advance. It opens Mon–Fri: 08.30–13.30 and 14.00–15.30. The tourist board off Cairo Road also has details of timetables.