8/40-4 By Bus from Lusaka (Zambia Capital) to Livingstone (Victoria Falls, Zambia Side)

19 Nov

**Alert boring technical nerd post alert**

Every now and again I get some random people poking around here looking for some authentic, non-toilet travel reports from the places I’ve visited. So for any travellers out there who want to visit Zambia and need to get from Lusaka to Livingstone, here is a rundown of what you can expect when you take the bus. (I imagine it’s the same going the other way.)

On Wednesday November 14, 2018 Sarah and I were dropped off at the bus terminal in the centre area of Lusaka. There are two different terminals across the street from each other – intercity (domestic buses) and international. The International side has buses going to Harare (Zimbabwe capital). Go to the other one.

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Domestic Terminal

When we got out of the car we were immediately surrounded by dozens of people wanting us to buy stuff and “help” us find a bus to get to where we were going. We had to ignore them and tell them to go away. They were pretty aggressive and they followed us to the intercity terminal. They stopped bugging us when we found a couple of dudes wearing shirts embroidered with “City of Lusaka” – they looked official so we were pretty sure they were not part of some sort of short confidence scheme.

They pointed us to the Mazhandu Family Bus Line – we found these guys online.

They had a bad crash a couple years ago – it made the International news – but they assured everyone that they fixed the problem. Now each bus has an extra driver to cover for the main driver if he’s sleepy. To be honest, I would have gone with some other provider but I did’t really find any reviews.

We got to the ticket booth at 0735 and the first bus had just left. We bought two one-way tickets for 200 kwacha each (about $22 CDN).

The sign said the next bus to Livingstone was at 0900, the guy said it would arrive at 930 and we’d leave at 1000. It actually showed up at 1100 and left just before 1130.

The bus was a full-sized coach with functioning AC. We had pre-selected seats (front row – my god) but someone was already seated there by the time we fought our way to the door. We ended up sitting in seats 10 and 11.

We stopped once about halfway for about ten or fifteen minutes. Toilets were good. There was a small restaurant that sold snacks and drinks.

The whole journey took us about eight hours. The speed limit on the road was 80 kph and most of the traffic stuck too it. A lot of the commercial vehicles had a posted limit (also 80) on their bumpers or tailgates. Still, our driver was keen on passing as often as he could. A bird also hit our windshield.

We got into Livingstone after sundown (just before 1930) and again our bus was immediately descended upon by locals looking to sell us taxi services. One dude named Matthew had a pretty good pitch and he was totally cool with me taking his photo and sending it to my mother before we got into the car so she could know where to start looking had we gone missing.

I sat up front and he dropped us off at our resort twenty minutes later. Quoted price was 70 kwacha, we paid him an even hundred ($11 CDN).

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Of course the photo didn’t turn out so I had to settle with a capture of his license plate.

If you’re in Livingstone and you need a driver, call Daniel using WhatsApp. He was great! Reliable, good prices. Highly recommend.

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