Getting Around, Zambia Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Zambia, ZM, Southern Africa)
Getting around Zambia is relatively easy, especially if you consider your transport options carefully and plan ahead where possible.
Independent travellers can opt to catch a bus, take the train, or use a minibus. However, the best way to travel around Zambia is to hire your own vehicle and take to the open road.
Organised safaris are also a good way of getting around. Usually offering a choice of boat, road and plane travel, they are an ideal way of exploring much of the country, particularly if you are a relative newcomer to the whole African experience.
Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN)
Address: Lusaka, 10101, Zambia, ZM, Africa
Tel: +26 0977 770294
Formerly known as Lusaka International Airport, this is the main airport that serves visitors to Zambia. The airport is located around 26 km / 16 miles from the centre of Lusaka.
Several airlines also operate services to the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, including South African Airways and British Airways.
It is also possible to catch regional connections from Lusaka International Airport to the airport at Ndola, and to Mfuwe Airport (MFU), in the South Lunagwa National Park. The journey takes around an hour. Direct daily flights are available from Johannesburg
in South Africa
to the Copperbelt town of Ndola.
The main airports in Zambia are as follows:
- Chingola Airport (CGJ) - Chingola
- Chipata Airport (CIP) - Chipata
- Kalabo Airport (KLB) - Kalabo
- Kaoma Airport (KMZ) - Kaoma
- Kasaba Bay Airport (ZKB) - Kasaba Bay
- Kasama Airport (KAA) - Kasama
- Kasompe Airport (ZKP) - Chingola
- Livingstone Airport (LVI) - Livingstone
- Lukulu Airport (LXU) - Lukulu
- Lusaka International Airport (LUN) - Lusaka
- Mansa Airport (MNS) - Mansa
- Mbala Airport (MMQ) - Mbala
- Mfuwe Airport (MFU) - Mfuwe
- Milliken Airport (QKE) - Kabwe
- Mongu Airport (MNR) - Mongu
- Ndola Airport (NLA) - Ndola
- Ngoma Airport (ZGM) - Ngoma
- Senanga Airport (SXG) - Senanga
- Sesheke Airport (SJQ) - Sesheke
- Solwezi Airport (SLI) - Solwezi
- Southdowns Airport (KIW) - Kitwe
- Zambezi Airport (BBZ) - Zambezi
Zambia has almost 40,000 km / 25,000 miles of roads and many of these roads are surfaced. However, some routes do involve driving along minor gravel roads, which should be approached with care. Likewise, dirt roads can often become impassable during the rainy season. Four-wheel drive vehicles are advisable if you are planning to head off the beaten track.
Cars can be hired with or without a driver from Lusaka. Overland road access between Zambia and several neighbouring countries, such as Tanzania
and Zimbabwe, is possible. Road borders tend to open during the daytime only.
Buses and Coaches
Bus transport operates between Lusaka and most of Zambia's main towns. It is not the most comfortable way to get around Zambia, but prices are fairly standard, so you are less likely to pay over the odds. Worth noting, buses tend to travel quite regularly.
Long-distance buses also travel between Lusaka and the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam
. Intercape Mainliner coaches run between various African cities, including Lusaka, to South African destinations.
Minibuses are best for shorter journeys. They tend to be faster, although fares are higher than those charged on ordinary bus routes. Public minibuses are painted blue and white. They don't serve all main routes, however, so it may be the case that alternative transport is necessary to link up with minibus routes.
Three main train routes operate in Zambia. The principal train station in Lusaka is located on Dedan Kimathi Road. A daily service transports passengers between Kitwe, Lusaka and Livingstone. An express train, known as 'The Zambezi Express', departs from Livingstone three times a week and takes around 18 hours to complete its journey. Compartments and seats can be booked in advance and fares offer relatively good value. It is worth bearing in mind that trains are frequently delayed.
Two days a week, the Tanzania-Zambia Railway runs trains from the Tanzanian port city of Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. The Mukuba Express and Mukuba Ordinary trains are Zambian-operated, whilst the Kilimanjaro Express and Ordinary trains are Tanzanian-operated. The full journey should take approximately 48 hours and advance ticket purchase is possible.
An excursion train, known as the Steam Africa Express, runs between Victoria Falls and Livingstone. A minimum of six passengers are required for each trip. Champagne is served in the one-and-only lounge car and there are opportunities for passengers to take photographs at a pre-arranged stop on the Victoria Falls Bridge.
Private and shared taxis are a common way of getting around Lusaka, as well as other main towns in Zambia. Taxis tend not to be metered, so it is advisable to agree a fare in advance of your journey.
A passenger and car ferry service operates between Zambia and Botswana
on a daily basis. Whilst there is no timetable as such, boats sail throughout the day, whilst the border crossing is open. A weekly ferry also runs from Burundi to Zambia via Tanzania. Passengers can board the boat at Mpulungu.