Lusaka's main shopping centre used to be Cairo Road which, before 1996, was full of small, cramped private trader's shops where it was very difficult to find the right place to buy what you wanted. Then Shoprite opened its flagship store in the centre followed shortly afterwards by the city's first shopping mall.
The complex at Manda Hill
, on the corner of the Great East Road and Manchichi Road, revolutionised shopping in Lusaka when it was first opened. Modern and clean, with plenty of parking and a conspicuous security presence, it's the preferred place to shop for most visitors and, increasingly, local people. In addition to branches of the major banks with plenty of ATMs, and several fast-food outlets and a few cafés, there are a pharmacy, two bookshops, a large branch of Shoprite and even an Irish pub. Alongside these sit various fashion and clothes shops.
Competition is on hand, however, from the brand-new Arcades
complex a stone's throw to the east, on the other side of the road. Opened early in 2004, this has more of an entertainments bias, but it also offers a range of shops, including music and video stores and a Spar supermarket, as well as an internet café, ATM machines and a tour operator – Safari Par Excellence. At the end of 2005, the 60-room Protea Hotel will be opened on the same site. There is 24-hour guarded parking for up to 750 vehicles and a BP filling station.
If you're buying in bulk, then don't forget the new Shoprite Wholesale Outlet. It's on the Kafue road, about 2–3km after the Cairo Road roundabout, on the left-hand side. You do not need to purchase vast quantities, though buying just one or two of something is not usually allowed. It's certainly the cheapest place to shop.
Food and drink
If you need food and supplies, then there are several obvious places – apart from the Manda Hill complex, mentioned above. The first is the original Shoprite
, beside Lusaka Square, on the eastern side of Cairo Road. This was Shoprite's pioneering store in Zambia. It is huge and very successful with guarded parking outside. Inside you'll find a wide range of fresh vegetables and all kinds of food plus clothes and plastic containers – very much like what you'd find in a large supermarket in Europe or America. There's an in-store bakery, a deli counter, a butchery, etc. Perhaps more surprising, it also stocks a range of tools, some bicycle parts, engine oil and a few basic motor spares including a very limited range of car tyres!
Outside of Lusaka's centre, there are a couple of smaller (but still sizeable) supermarkets, supplying good-quality produce. Melissa Minimarket
is one of the best, its original branch situated just off the Great East Road in Northmead, behind the Mobil petrol station, and a second, larger branch at Kabulonga. It isn't cheap, but several delis and a bakery or two have sprung up around it (Jimmy's Deli has a good choice of yoghurts) and opposite it is a small craft market selling some good malachite bracelets, necklaces and a wide selection of carvings.Kabulonga Shopping Centre
is similar, though not quite as upmarket. Found at the corner of Kabulonga and Chindo roads, it is very convenient for those staying at Belvedere Lodge. Next to it, on Chindo Road, is a large and impressive Melissa Supermarket
, flanked on the other side of the road by an informal gathering of local vendors of fruit and vegetables. A few steps from Melissa is Vasili's Bakery
cum coffee shop, where you can find good seed and rye breads as well as the more usual loaves.
Fresh vegetables can also be picked up from various street-sellers, like the excellent stall at the BP station on the south side of the Great East Road. Bellcross Farms
, on Joseph Mwilwa Road, a few blocks northwest of the Taj Pamodzi, has excellent fresh farm produce and an interesting noticeboard if you want to buy/sell something from/to the expat or UN residents.Cascades
is equally good for fresh vegetables (it's on Sable Road, where the El Toro Coffee Shop is). If you're shopping on a Saturday morning, then the Lusaka Garden Club
in the Showgrounds is open until 14.00. It's a popular and quite genteel social affair, where you can have tea and cakes as well as buy your vegetables!Kachelo Market
, on Leopards Hill Road, near the Bellevue Guesthouse, is open daily till 16.00. It's a good source of fresh vegetables, homemade jams, Zambian coffee and baked goods, as well as baskets, tie-dye materials, and new and secondhand books.
You'll find most things at Manda Hill – but for cosmetics, toiletries
, also try the shops in the Holiday Inn, Taj Pamodzi and InterContinental hotels. Don't expect bargain prices, but you may find something close to what you are seeking.
on Zambia or wildlife, new novels, maps and reference books of all kinds, try the Book Cellar (tel: 01 255475/6) at Manda Hill or Planet Books at the Arcades. For a wider range of literary interests, including Zambian literature and poetry, check out Bookworld, which has branches at Manda Hill, at the north end of Cairo Road and in Kabulonga shopping centre. Alternatively, Wed–Fri 09.30–17.00 or Saturday 09.30–12.30, Mary's Book Shop opens on Leopards Hill Road, 1km beyond the end of the tarmac. The Video Shop, on Bishop's Road in Kabulonga, also stocks a small selection of secondhand books – which tends to be a more interesting and eclectic range than the new books which are available.
Exclusive Books (tel/fax: 264969) also has a good range; find it in Bancroft Garden Centre beside the Dutch Reformed Church east of Ridgeway on Kabulonga Road, past Bishop's Road and towards Ibex Hill. The garden centre here also offers toasties and snacks as well as a wide variety of plants
. A reasonable selection of music
CDs can be found at Sounds at Manda Hill.
Basic camera supplies
can be found at Phoenix Photographics and Royal Art Studios, which are adjacent on Cairo Road, near Society House; Phoenix also has a branch at Manda Hill. Alternatively try Fine Art Studios, on Chachacha Road. Don't expect to find a great range of anything at any of these, though they do stock a good range of Fuji film, and even the slow Velvia slide film on which many of the photographs in this book are taken.
There are pharmacies all over the city, including Jubilee Chemist on Cairo Road opposite Farmers House, and another at Manda Hill.
Souvenirs and curios
For typical African carvings, basketware and curios, you probably won't get better value or a wider selection than at Kabwata Cultural Centre
, on Burma Road. However, you could also try African Relics
at the airport; the Gift Box
on Chachacha Road; the back of the outdoor market at Northmead, opposite Melissa Minimarket (park at the supermarket); and Desert Gold
(PO Box 34086; tel: 255329/251255).
Aside from these, Lusaka is not a shopper's paradise, though if you want pirate music cassettes then the stalls on Chachacha Road have some cheap buys.
If you can transport it safely, there is good-value (if not actually cheap) pottery to be had at Moore Pottery on Kabelenga Road (see above), or Bente Lorentz Pottery, off Los Angeles Boulevard behind Longacres Market.
Gems and jewellery can be found in expensive shops at the InterContinental, Taj Pamodzi or Holiday Inn, though don't expect any bargains. More original creations in silver can be found at the small Nsolo Gallery next to Moore Pottery on Kabelenga Road. For jewellery, stones and bric à brac, as well as curios, the best place to start is Jagoda, 1 Luano Road, Fairview; tel: 01 223131; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a more practical and much cheaper souvenir get a chitenje for about Kw20,000–30,000 – there are shops in the smallest of towns. You will see these 2m-long sections of brightly patterned cotton cloth everywhere, often wrapped around local women. Whilst travelling use them as towels, sarongs, picnic mats or – as the locals do – simply swathed over your normal clothes to keep them clean. When back home, you can cut the material into clothes, or use them as wall-coverings or tablecloths. Either way, you will have brought a splash of truly African colour back home with you.