Lusaka started out as a small village located at Manda Hill, close to the spot where the Zambian National Assembly building presently stands.
In 1905, British settlers began the construction of a rail line which led to its expansion, before it eventually replaced Livingstone as capital of the British colony in 1935.
Although not as big on grand attractions as some other African capitals, Zambia’s largest urban centre and commercial heart beat still offers a genuine African feel. It boasts a cosmopolitan populace, quality accommodation and restaurants, plus the fact that it is centrally located makes it a great stopover. Add to that, the city’s high altitude gives it a humid subtropical temperature with an annual average mean of 19.9°C.
Whether you are in Lusaka in the spring or fall, summer or winter, one of the places you must visit is the Munda Wanga Environmental Park. The park has Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Park and Sanctuary (Zoo), Recreational Village and the Renewable Energy Environmental Education Centre. The Wildlife Park throngs with regional fauna, including cheetahs, lions, banded mongoose, wild dogs, jackals, warthogs and baboons, etc. Animals, including rarely seen owls and pangolins, are rehabilitated here for re-entry into the wild stage as well. The Botanical Garden is rich with about 500 species of plants, and it is a place quite suitable for picnic. A visit to the Lusaka City Market and Soweto Market (the largest market in Lusaka)—with some care though, will leave you with an experience; but for anything, don’t miss a visit to the National Museum. It has amusing collection of contemporary Zambian art—downstairs, with an engaging exhibition floor vividly telling Zambia’s life, ethnography, witchcraft and history upstairs though it is still awaiting renovation. The Kabwata Cultural Village where you’ll find carvers at work, indigenous arts and crafts for sale, and entertainment from traditional dancers as well as the Freedom statue. Namwane Art Gallery and Political museum are also places you should visit while in Lusaka.
Lusaka is dotted with hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes where local and foreign food and drink—wines and beer, can be gotten. Quick Western food popular in Lusaka include sausages, samoosas (savoury-filled pastries), burgers, and chips with a Coca-Cola. For a taste of the local meal, go for Nshima. It is a delicious staple food in Lusaka made from maize. “Mealie meal” is dried and pounded to which boiling water is added. It is cooked to a consistency of thickened mashed potatoes and eaten with relish which could be a meat—goat, fish, or chicken—and a vegetable, usually rape (collard greens) and tomatoes, onions, or cabbage; where meat is not available, nshima is served with beans or dried fish. Other foods include groundnuts (peanuts), sweet potatoes, and cassava, though these are seasonal. Fruits including bananas, mangoes, paw paws, and pineapples are in abundance.