Howdy good people! 😀 Is Zambia on your bucket-list? Well, keep reading this Lusaka to Livingstone Travel Guide for insider tips on what you can expect when you go…
Traveling to a new country can be a daunting endeavor, even for seasoned travelers! Moreover, finding accurate information about your destination can be quite frustrating…
So, in this 2-part series of our Lusaka to Livingstone Travel Guide, I am going to share my travel experience while also addressing any potential questions that you might have…
P.S. In case you missed it, check out this post on: Top 14 Things To Do In Lusaka, Zambia
How to Get From Lusaka to Livingstone
Livingstone, initially the capital city of Zambia, is the ideal destination for most Zambian adventures! It is located about 485Km from Lusaka.
There are 3 ways to travel from Lusaka to Livingstone: by road, air or train.
If you choose to go by road, you can either self-drive or take a bus. It takes about 6-7 hours to travel from Lusaka to Livingstone on self-drive. During my visit, the road was still under construction but I understand it’s much better now.
If going by air, Proflight Zambia has daily flights to Livingstone. Though it’s the costliest option, you’ll arrive in about 1hour 10 minutes, hence more time to explore Livingstone.
Zambia Railways operates a train that takes about 13-14 hours from Lusaka to Livingstone, through Kitwe town. On this old train, there are no sleeping carriages and you’ll need to bring your own food… There’s also a Zambia Express train that takes about 18hours.
Though it’s the most affordable option, going by train is time-consuming and may not be fully reliable as the vessels are quite dated.
- A bus ride from Lusaka to Livingstone costs about 4-7USD, while a train ride costs no more than 10USD.
- A round-trip flight costs about 549USD on average.
- Note: These costs are indicative and may vary.
The Journey from Lusaka to Livingstone
I was fortunate to travel in the lovely company of my good friends John and Jane Maleya, Frank & Beth Radcliff and Twaambo.
And the beauty of journeying with friends, on self-drive, is that you don’t need to rush your journey… Our trip started around 1pm with little to no traffic exiting Lusaka.
We made our first stop in Kafue for a takeaway lunch and to purchase a few essentials.
- Check the weather forecast in advance and pack accordingly as they have really cold winters and scorching hot summers, depending on when you choose to go.
- Buy plenty of water & some sunscreen for the journey.
- Purchase an insect repellent for the viciously unforgiving mosquitoes.
- Before your trip to Zambia, convert your money to dollars.
- When traveling to the rural areas, convert your money to the Local currency (Kwacha) while still in Lusaka.
As we left the city behind, I noticed that the rural parts of Zambia look pretty similar to ours in Kenya… Some areas are sparsely populated, and you’ll come upon smaller towns every so often.
Enjoy A Local Experience in Monze.
After about 3.5 hours we pulled into the Golden Pillow, a small cozy bed and breakfast hotel in Monze town, for the night.
Golden Pillow is located strategically on the Lusaka to Livingstone highway, so you can’t miss it! With 21 rooms, the hotel is clean, well-maintained and has an easy feel to it. I noted to myself how nice (trusting) Zambians are when they allowed us to check-in before making any payments.
After freshening up, we all met up for dinner at their restaurant, which has an old-American-style diner setting and ambiance. I must say that I found their service quite endearing, because the people are so mild-mannered and polite.
Dinner was lovely, and the fun conversations with the gang- even better! The evening slipped away from us because soon enough, it was time for bed.
Their rooms are nice; each fitted with a comfie double bed, small fridge, working desk and closet. There’s also free WiFi.
Mine was a pleasant night apart from the giant spiders glaring at me from the roof and walls. Yikes! My prayers for the spiders to stick to their lanes, and away from my bed were answered- thankfully! 😀
The next day, I found Beth and her hubby Frank Radcliffe finishing up breakfast looking relaxed and ready for the day.
>>Their mostly traditional meals’ menu ranges between 1 to 3USD.
>>Accommodation is about 22USD per person, on bed & breakfast.
After breakfast, we attended Sunday Service at the Monze Church of Christ. It felt like family reunion as John & Jane introduced us to the beautiful locals. I found their smiling faces, shining with a peaceful contentment, truly admirable 🙂
When we got back on the road, the mood in the car was buoyant, after our heartwarming local encounter. 🙂
Our next stop was in Choma town to refuel our bodies… and the car. Choma is a local Zambian term that means ‘home. I noticed a Bata shop right across the Debonairs restaurant… Needless to say, both fondly reminded me of home. 😀
Tip: Try the Debonairs’ Sweet and Sour Chicken Sub. It’s delish! 😀
Enter Livingstone… Where to Stay?
Livingstone is a charming town that has a touristy and tranquil feel to it.
As we drove through the streets with barely any traffic & its people looking so at ease, I felt that gentle but firm tugging at my heartstrings… Livingstone had won me over, ever so effortlessly. 🙂
Being a major tourist destination, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Livingstone ranging from: budget, mid-range to high-end…
For our stay, we checked in to Café Zambezi, less than 5 minutes away from the main city centre. The place looks alive and green, owing to the landscaping and colors which makes you feel rejuvenated.
They have a swimming pool, restaurant, lounge areas and a variety of rooming choices… My favourite place soon became the lounge area with its massive pillows laid out on the ground.
As it happened, the country was experiencing major power shedding due to the prolonged drought in Zambia at the time… The generator at Cafe Zambezi is turned on for short periods only, thus we had to contend with a blackout for most of our stay.
Luckily, the hot weather makes lukewarm showers a welcome escape. 🙂
On our first night, there was a hyped-up football team hanging out in the restaurant… Those guys must have won their game because the mood around us was infectiously electric during dinner. 😀
The rooms were nice, though we barely spent any time indoors as there’s so much to see and do in Livingstone.
- They have a variety of room options to choose from: Deluxe (38USD, Standard Twin (27USD), Standard Single (21USD).
- If you are on a thin budget, you may opt to stay at their Dorm room costing 7USD per bed/night.
- Note: All rates are indicative and may vary.
Other places to stay in Livingstone:-
- Fawlty towers backpackers
- Jollyboys backpackers
- David Livingstone Safari Lodge
- Protea Hotel Livingstone
>>Look out for Part 2 of this Lusaka to Livingstone Travel Guide for tips on Fun Things To Do in Livingstone!
Thank you for reading my friends! I’d be delighted to hear back from you, with your comments, inputs &/or questions.
Do leave a comment down below. Cheers! 🙂
<< Stay. Inspired. Always. >>
Belinda AddikahFebruary 9, 2021 at 7:36 pm
Hey thanks for this, since a good friend of mind has hinted a backpacking idea .
Christine MuneneOctober 17, 2020 at 12:30 pm
I travelled to Zambia, Monze, Choma and Livingstone as I read this ..
I saw the smiles on the peoples faces, saw them walking through the streets as they went about their lives and participated in the heart conversations at the dinner table and church service
Very informative article thanks for this!
Very heart warming
EnockOctober 16, 2020 at 6:37 pm
MM ..as I read your well articulated guide, I felt like on the road heading to livingston..thank you for making it easy for us to plan and budget well
Kenyan BackpackerOctober 16, 2020 at 3:50 pm
This is a very informative article Marion. Thank you for sharing. Going by road, as you mentioned, is the best and most reliable way especially because Zambia has some very comfortable buses and coaches along the route. Monze is lovely too (I miss the giant sausages :-))
As a train junkie, I will defend the railway and say that the line to Livingstone is also worth exploring :-). Just like the buses via Mazabuka, Monze, Choma & Kalomo …. the train’s window is a nice screen to see the Zambian hinterland – again as you said, this takes time and patience is REQUIRED.
Zambia Railways operates two trains on odd days between Kitwe and Livingstone via Lusaka. (Based on a trip a few years back).
– Zambezi Express is the best with sleepers and a restaurant car.
– Kafue Train is a bit beat up but still worth the journey.
Your Guide on “Top Things To Do In Lusaka” is great too. Asante!
Scrapbook JourneysOctober 16, 2020 at 4:38 pm
Hey! Wow thank you for the superb comment! And I really appreciate the added input- great, valuable info right there!! I have learned something new from you, (yay) and might even be willing to try the train, next time. 🙂 Cheers!!