Zambia Shopping and Districts
(Zambia, ZM, Southern Africa)
The shopping experience in Zambia, as is the case for many African countries, is rather a mix of old and new. Alongside traditional markets and shops are modern shopping centres.
As you would expect, the choice of available goods is greatest in the capital city of Lusaka. That said, other tourist-friendly towns, such as Livingstone, are ideal if you want to pick up a souvenir to remind you of your time in Zambia.
When to Shop / Opening Hours
Shops in Zambia are generally open from 08:00 to 17:00 on weekdays, although some shops do stay open later than this, closing around 19:00. On Saturday, shops open only during the morning.
As a rule, this means that doors open at 08:00 and close at 13:00. Again, some larger shops may stop open a little longer on Saturdays.
Where to Shop
In the days before Western-style shopping complexes arrived in Lusaka, if you needed to do shopping in the city, you headed straight to the Cairo Road area. Here, small, independent stores sold everything from fresh produce to motor parts. This is still pretty much the case today, although since the mid-1990s, these stores have lost their monopoly on the city's shoppers.
Nowadays, visitors in search of souvenirs, clothing or everyday groceries in Lusaka can also choose to shop in places like Manda Hill, the Arcades and Levy Junction. Within these modern malls are the usual chain stores and supermarkets, such as Shoprite and Spar. Arcades has the added attraction of a cinema and bowling complex. Suburban shopping centres can also be found in Northmead, Kabulonga and Woodlands, although it is worth noting that prices can be higher here than in the city centre.
For an authentic shopping experience in Lusaka, Soweto Market is a 'must do'. The atmosphere is lively and the colours of the stalls and the goods on offer are vibrant. Likewise, Kachelo Market offers everything from coffee and jams to tie-dye shirts. Northmead Market is a good place to search for local-made souvenirs, including carvings, fabric and pottery.
Alternatively, the Kabwata Cultural Village, which can be found directly to the south-east of central Lusaka, is known for its reasonably priced and comprehensive collection of handcrafted goods, including baskets and masks, as well as drums and traditional jewellery. If you don't find fresh produce to your liking at any of Lusaka's markets, it is also possible to buy fruit and vegetables from roadside stalls dotted around the city.
Outside of Lusaka, the Shoprite supermarket chain has close to 20 stores dotted around Zambia. Branches can be found in Livingstone, Kabwe, Chipata and Ndola.
In the tourist town of Livingstone, there is no shortage of shopping opportunities, particularly if you are looking for souvenir items, such as traditional baskets and wood carvings. Competition between sellers is usually quite fierce, so bargaining over the price you pay is the norm.