Lusaka is very spread out, so if you don't have your own vehicle you'll probably want to use taxis, and/or the small minibuses that ply between the outer suburbs/townships and the centre. If you are careful, then these are very useful and quite safe. The other possibility is to note that car-hire firms usually supply their cars with a driver – who can act as a convenient guide for a short business trip.
Lusaka's taxis have traditionally been small, decrepit Datsun 120Y or 1200 models, held together by remarkable roadside mechanics and lots of improvisation; today, however, these are outnumbered by rather less run-down Toyota Corollas. The licensed ones are light blue and white in colour, and will have a large number painted on their side, but even these will have no fare meter. When taking a taxi, you should agree a rate for the journey before you get into the vehicle. If you know roughly what it should cost, then most drivers recognise this and don't try to overcharge. As a last resort when bargaining, all licensed taxis should have a rate-sheet, giving the 'standard' prices for waiting time and various common journeys – though drivers will not admit to having one if the bargaining is going their way. Typical fares are:
Kw10,000 between Ridgeway (big hotels) and Cairo Road
Kw50,000 between the airport and town
Kw15,000–25,000 between the centre of town and the inner suburbs
Kw15,000 per hour of additional waiting time
If you need a vehicle all day, then consider hiring a taxi with its driver. Start by making a clear deal to pay by the hour or the kilometre, and record the time or the mileage reading. Around Kw10,000 per hour, or Kw1,000 per kilometre, is fair, though a tough negotiator would pay less. Drivers inevitably change, but at the time of research the following were recommended:Max
Cell: 096 753700 Friday
Cell: 097 841759
There's also Dial a Cab, tel (cell): 095 701377, 096 222222, 097 773937
These are the packed transport that the city's poorer commuters use to travel between the outer, satellite suburbs and the centre of town. The blue-and-white vehicles dominate the local traffic scene, fanning out from their base at City Market, to the west of Cairo Road. There are many different routes, so if you want to find out which to use then go down to Chachacha Road, which is the unofficial terminus for most of them. Minibuses are an especially good way to reach the farther-flung suburbs, or to get a lift along one of the main routes out to a good hitching spot. Fares are relatively low; you can expect to pay around Kw1,000 for a journey of up to 1km, and about Kw1,700 out to Chelston beyond Manda Hill. Minibuses usually have regular stops, but if you're lucky they can sometimes just be flagged down if they're not full.
Lusaka's car-hire companies cater more for business people visiting the city than for tourists. Consequently they may insist upon foreign drivers using a chauffeur, and will usually only have time-and-mileage rates rather than the 'unlimited-mileage' rates normally expected by those hiring cars for fly-drive trips. (Which makes sense as you'd have to be insane to hire a 2WD for a fly-drive trip around Zambia.) The larger companies are:Aquarius Mulungushi
International Conference Centre, Annex Bldg; tel/fax: 01 291676; fax: 291238; email: firstname.lastname@example.orgAvis
PO Box 38645, Holiday Inn, Lusaka; tel: 01 251642, 251652, 251666; fax: 01 252201; email: email@example.com. Airport tel: 01 773978. Juls Car Hire
Plot 5507 Libala Rd, Kalundu, Postnet 79, P Bag E891, Lusaka; tel: 01 292979, 293972; fax: 01 291246; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.zambiatourism.com/juls. Minibuses and 4WDs only, either self-drive or chauffeur-driven. New Ace Car Hire
Zimco House, Ground Floor, Cairo Rd, Lusaka; tel: 01 232654; cell: 01 704368 Voyagers/Imperial
Plot 6941 Suez Rd, PO Bod 37609, Lusaka; tel: 01 253064; tel: airport 01 271221–2, cell: 096 789742; fax: 01 271239; email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.zambiatourism.com/voyagersZungulila Zambia
PO Box 31475, TAZ House Annex, corner of Chiparamba and Chachacha roads; tel: 227730/223234/ 220251; fax: 227729
Traffic in and around Lusaka can be chaotic at the beginning and end of a working day, and accidents are not infrequent. Speed limits on the roads around the city are strictly enforced, with an on-the-spot fine of Kw67,500 for infringements. The limit of 65km/h on the Great East Road towards the airport is something of a black spot in this respect; be warned. For the most part, drivers in the city centre would be hard pushed to get anywhere near the urban limit of 50km/h.
Parking on the streets is not a good idea unless you leave someone trustworthy in charge of the vehicle. Far more sensible is to use one of the guarded private car parks. In the vicinity of Cairo Road, this means either the large free area at Central Park, or in front of Shoprite, where there's a fee of Kw1,000 an hour. Most hotels and guesthouses have secure parking, as do shopping complexes and many restaurants.
It is not advisable to drive at night in or around the city. Aside from the risk of car-jackings, you're likely to encounter vehicles without lights (especially around the time of the full moon), and even people sleeping on the warm tarmac, a hazard that's said to be particularly common on the Great North Road.
There are numerous fuel stations throughout the city. However, even here unleaded petrol is not always easy to come by; if there are shortages, and your vehicle runs on unleaded, your best bets are at the BP station on the left as you're coming in from Livingstone, or at Longacres.