Sightseeing & culture
There are many companies offering guided sightseeing tours around Livingstone, including visits to traditional villages, local markets, museums, the Falls, game park and historical sites. If you are staying in one of the lodges, sightseeing tours for guests using their own guides and vehicles are generally included. Makora Quest, Wild Side Tours & Safaris, Bwaato Adventures and Bushtracks are popular operators on the Livingstone side, although there are many others operators as well. Of these, the smaller Makora Quest and Wild Side are both run by people who have lived in Livingstone for years, and who understand the place well; both can personalise tours to suit individual requirements. Bwaato Adventures, operating here for ten years, are also well positioned, while Bushtracks is larger, based at Sun International's activity centre and with set trips aimed primarily at Sun's clientele and incentive groups. In all cases, trips are professionally run with competent guides. Most tours can either be stand alone or in combination with others. A selection of options and rates include Makora Quest's 'Livingstone Safari' (half day encompassing the Falls, a village and one museum) US$75; or full day Falls, village, one museum and game drive or walking safari in the MOT park US$100 (lunch excluded). Touch Adventure's 'In Livingstone's Footsteps' tour is US$85 full day or US$75 three-quarter day, all-inclusive. Wild Side's 'Livingstone Tour & Surrounding Areas' costs US$65 per person, half day, including entrance fees and refreshments, or full day US$110 including lunch. Options for speciality tours may include:
To the east of the Falls is Mukuni village, a settlement of over 6,000 Leva people. An organised tour here will give you a glimpse of how local people live and work in a traditional setting along with informative explanations. You can visit local huts, view villagers at work, watch curio making, and even sample traditional beer and food. However, Mukuni village with its close proximity to the Falls and popularity with tour operators relies heavily on the tourist trade, so tends toward a commercial, rather than authentic, feel, with often relentless though friendly pressure to buy curios made there. Further afield is Songwe village, about a 40-minute drive through the bush and less commercial as it receives fewer tourists. The Livingstone Quad Company (Batoka Sky) offers guided quad-bike excursions to outlying villages and the bush. If your heart is set on a more remote village off the beaten path and you have the time, Bwaato Adventures offer a day trip some 45km up-river to one of the rural villages along the Zambezi.
Rates: Makora Quest US$35 per person (2 hours). Bwaato Adventures Paradise Island Village Tour US$70 (8 hours) including transfers, lunch and refreshments. Bushtracks Mukuni Village Tour US$26. Livingstone Quad Bike Company village and bush tour US$90 for 11/2 hours, US$105 for 2 hours, US$115 for 3 hours.
Guided tours will also take you to visit Livingstone's museums – either the main museum or the railway museum, or both. Although you can readily visit on your own, an organised tour is an easy alternative with transfer included, especially as part of a full day's sightseeing trip.
Rates: One-hour tours, inclusive of entry fees and transfers, cost from US$15 per person with Bwaato Adventures, up to US$26 with Bushtracks.
Livingstone has many colourful, local markets of which Maramba market is the largest and invariably the most fascinating. at the heart of Livingstone's African community, it offers everything from fresh produce to secondhand clothes (called Salaula), from hand-fashioned metal pots to live chickens, from chitenges (the traditional African cloth) to hand-crafted wood furniture and more.
Rates: Makora Quest US$15 per person (1 hour); Bwaato Adventures City and Market Tour US$15 per person (2 hours); Bushtracks US$26 per person.
Historical tour of Livingstone
Livingstone, the capital of Northern Rhodesia from 1907 to 1935, has a fascinating history marked by many old historical buildings and accented by colourful characters, intriguing tales and a once-vibrant social life. A guided historical tour through town – on foot and by vehicle – will trace the town's history from frontier town to modern-day tourist capital, including the first hospital, school, library, churches, sports clubs, shopping districts, hotel and other historical sites.
Rates: Bushtracks US$26 per person; UTC 21/2-hour city tour includes market and museum at US$25