My visit to the Zambian capital, Lusaka, has been off to an incredible start. Zambia is the first country on the African continent I have ever visited—everything is so different from what I’m used to. Wondering what it’s like in Lusaka? Here’s an insight into what I’ve been experiencing the last few days! These are 5 things you should know about Lusaka, Zambia:
#1: The visa process at the airport is fairly easy and straightforward
You can buy a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport in Lusaka, which is valid for up to 30 days. A single-entry visa costs USD $50, and is payable in cash—so make sure you bring US Dollars with you! You should also bring exact change (no $100 bills), since I read somewhere that the immigration officials won’t give you change. You’ll need two blank visa pages in your passport.
#2: Foreigners will pay more
While charging foreigners more than locals is typical in a lot of countries around the world, it is the official standard policy in Lusaka (and Zambia). There is one set price for locals, and one price for foreigners/tourists. I’ve managed to get around this sometimes as the guest of a local, but I’ve mainly had to pay the foreigner price. Tourism is a lucrative industry in Zambia, and this is simply the way things are.
#3: Don’t take pictures of buildings
It is illegal (a threat to national security) to take pictures of many government buildings—so don’t be surprised if you’re casually taking pics and someone comes up and tells you no photos are allowed! The US State Department also notes this policy on their site for Zambia. So be careful of what you photograph, and always be respectful if you’re told off!
#4: Vendors sell everything during traffic
In Lusaka, it is possible to do basically all of your shopping without every leaving your car! In addition to the regular newspaper and phone top-ups, fruit and veg, vendors sell literally everything in street traffic. Fireworks, plungers, dog leashes, maps of Zambia, sunglasses, toilet paper, tombstones—you name it, someone will be selling it!
#5: Sundowners is a thing—DO IT!
Sundowners is basically like happy hour—after work and in the early evening, it’s typical to go out, get a few drinks, and relax. But sundowners is based on the premise of hanging out and drinking and watching the sunset! So make sure you go out and experience a sunset in Lusaka the right way!
Lusaka is a vibrant, bustling city with its own quirks and charms. Read my full post on the city here!
Have you ever been to Lusaka or experienced any of these things? Share your thoughts in the comments!