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Livingstone

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Travel Guide Africa Zambia Livingstone

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Introduction

LittleWing

LittleWing

© All Rights Reserved allieco

Livingstone is a historical colonial city in the south of Zambia, right at the border with Zimbabwe. During recent years it experienced a boom in tourism, with the problems in neighbouring Zimbabwe where more and more tourists kept away from the town of Victoria Falls. It's located in the Southern Province of Zambia and has about 125,000 inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

Victoria Falls

Vic Falls

Vic Falls

© All Rights Reserved Luis M

At a height of over 100 metres and a width of about 1,700 metres, the Victoria Falls are the largest sheet of water falling in the world. Located within the boundaries of Mosi-oa-Tunya NP in Zambia and Victoria Falls NP in Zimbabwe, the falls are one of the most impressive landmarks of Africa and travellers from around the world are highly attracted by the opportunities near the falls. Hiking, wildlife viewing, bungeejumping, cruising, whit water rafting the Zambezi river and a helicopter ride to have a bird's eye view of the falls, all are very popular. As the falls are mainly located in Zambia, the best panoramic view is from Zimbabwe, viewing the falls head on. Even better would be the view from the air. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Victoria Falls Bridge

The Victoria Falls Bridge is located along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, spanning the Zambezi River. It connects the two cities/towns of Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls. It's almost 200 metres long with a span of over 150 metres and with its height of 128 metres also is a popular place for bungee jumping.

Rainbow bridge

Rainbow bridge

© All Rights Reserved lucid


Cecil Rhodes initially was the masterpiece behind the bridge, as it would be part of a desired railroad between Cairo and Cape Town. The bridge was designed by George Anthony Hobson and construction eventually started in 1904, after which it took just 14 months for it to be officially opened by George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin, on 12 September 1905. Although trains technically can still cross, there are no official passenger connections and most people either cross by car or on foot.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Livingstone Museum - dedicated to the life of David Livingstone
  • Victoria Falls Field Museum featuring geology and archaeology around the Falls.
  • Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park including the Batoka Gorges - there are good game drives and the popular Rhino Walk, where you go walking in search of the few White Rhinos who live here.
  • Railway Museum of the Mulobezi Railway.
  • Zambezi River - good for kayaking and rafting.

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Events and Festivals

Livingstone Cultural & Arts Festival

This annual September festival celebrates the artists in Zambia, from dance to painters. Theatrical troupes, performance pieces, music groups, jugglers, and clowns fill the streets. Tourists can buy art like paintings, sculptures and pottery.

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Weather

Livingstone has a tropical climate with relatively high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. Temperatures are usually around 30 °C during the day and still above 20 °C at night, though June and July are about 5 °C cooler and the best months for a visit. November to April is rainy season when roads might be blocked and parks may be unreachable.

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Getting There

By Plane

Livingstone Airport (LVI) has a number of flights, with destinations being Lusaka, Nelspruit, Cape Town, Lower Zambezi (for the national park), Mfuwe (for South Luangwa National Park) and Johannesburg.

By Train

There is the once-weekly Zambezi train from Kitwe via Lusaka, operated by Zambia Railways. Journey time from Lusaka is around 12 hours with departures every Wednesday. Sleeper class fare is 145 Kwacha. and the Economy Seat fare is 75 Kwacha. There is also, a third-class only train which connects with Mulobezi once a week. Victoria Falls, just across the border in Zimbabwe, is the terminus for overnight trains from Harare and Bulawayo. The small Livingstone railway station is located just south of city centre.

By Car

If you are aching to rent a car and drive yourself around Zambia, this might be the trip for you. The roads between Livingstone and Lusaka are among the country's best, and the trip involves only one left turn.

For the international driver, roads lead into Livingstone from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). You can buy a temp. import permit at your port of entry, for 1 month, 3 months or longer. Also a Zambian third party insurance is mandatory, next to reflective stickers or reflectors at the front of your vehicle (white) and at the back (red). Dimensions must be 5 x 5 cm, however rectangular is permitted as well.

If coming from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), you can cross the border on foot, but you will need to get a blue taxis into Livingstone town. They charge about 10 USD for the trip. Minibuses charge about 5000 ZMK. Taxis are waiting just the border post.

If you are taking the ferry from Botswana to Kazungula, shared taxis wait some 200 metres from immigration. They leave when full, and cost 35 kwatcha or five dollars per person to Livingstone.

By Bus

Relatively comfortable luxury buses travel between Lusaka and Livingstone, for around Zambian Kwachas 120 tickets may be purchased in advance at the bus terminal in Lusaka. The most reliable bus operator is Mazhandu Family Bus, which costs Zambian Kwacha 120 and takes 6 and a half hours. They have seat number system, so there is no need to fight for your seat when boarding. Reserve tickets in advance from the blue kiosk on Mosi-Oa-Tunya Rd. If taking the overnight bus from Livingstone to Lusaka, note that the Lusaka station can be dangerous at night. Either ask the bus driver to help you find a taxi or wait on the bus with the other passengers until daylight. Other bus companies also operates this route . Uncomfortable things with these buses are that most of them have five seat on row, so space per passenger is not too much. These buses transport you in 6 hours to downtown Livingstone (total distance 470 kilometres). It is also possible to catch a minibus from Lusaka, for about the same price.

Internationally, there are now two bus lines with buses from Livingstone bus station to Windhoek Namibia. Intercape Minaliner travels 3 times per week and Insight Luxury Coaches 2 times per week. Insight fares are from R450 which is less than Intercape fares.

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Getting Around

The city of Livingstone, where the bulk of the accommodation, restaurants, nightclubs, etc. are located, is relatively small. Most likely, you will be comfortable walking around town. However, if you prefer not to, taxis prowl constantly. Official taxis are ones which are blue and have a red number plate. If you flag a taxi down on your way to the town centre, the driver may ask whether you are booking the taxi or not. If you are booking, you should pay full fare and driver is taking you to your doorstep. If you don't book, it means that you pay only for one seat and the driver can pick up other passengers who are going in the same direction.

The city sits about 6 miles/10km from The Falls, making it long enough to not want to walk. The going rate for a taxi is U.S. $10 in each direction between the town and the falls. However, if you are prepared to haggle you may get a lower price. Journeys to 5-star hotels tend to cost substantially more than the average journey but are still relatively inexpensive. If the hotel or guesthouse is arranging the taxi for you to the Falls, the price might be higher than what you can get when negotiating with the driver directly.

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Eat

Considering Livingstone is such a tourist destination, you can be certain that Western-style meals are easy to find: everything from pizza, to burgers, even burritos! Several of the lodges and accommodations have restaurants and pubs on their grounds.

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Drink

Every hostel, hotel, and resort in Livingstone features its own bar. If you want to get a cold one, you won't have to look far. There are also a number of nightclubs downtown, where tourists and locals alike dance to local and Western music. Manu local music is from Congo, those artists perform in Congo (DRC) local languages, so many times even local Zambians don't know meaning of the words, but rhythm, twisting and shaking is the issue here.

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Sleep

For information about sleeping on the Zimbabwe side, check the Victoria Falls article.

There are a number of places to sleep in Livingstone. Budget here means under $20/night, mid-range between $20 and $200/night and splurge over $200/night.

Mid-Range

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Livingstone or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet connections are available even in the smallest towns - they don't always work, and are sometimes slow, but there are, usually, plenty. Uploading photos and files is always slow. Internet usually costs about 100 kwatcha a minute, and in more touristy places 150/200 a minute. Ask for a discount, if you plan to stay online for long, and make sure the time is recorded correctly.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for Zambia is "260." Phone service both within Zambia and into Zambia is very hit-or-miss. In large cities, you are more likely to get regular, dependable phone service, but it is by no means a guarantee. The farther you travel from Lusaka, the less likely you are to maintain a good connection. International calling rates can be as high as $3 per minute.

Cell phones have been booming in recent years, and Zambia has a highly competitive market with three main operators: Airtel, Cell Z and MTN. Generally speaking, Airtel has the largest network, while Cell Z is the cheapest. You can pick up a local SIM card for as little as 5,000K ($1). Prepaid time is sold in "units" corresponding to dollars: figure on 0.4 units for an SMS or up to 1 unit/minute for calls, although as always the precise tariffs are complex.

Avoid using internet on your cellphone (especially if you don't have a local SIM card), except if you have wifi. Switch off data roaming to avoid high costs.

Booths labeled "public telephone" these days consist, more often than not, of a guy renting out his cellphone. Typical rates are 5K/min ($1) for domestic and 15K/min ($3) for international calls

Post

Post in Zambia is slow and not always reliable. A post card to Europe can take between four days and two weeks, and costs about US$0.30. Parcels take longer, and are quite expensive - make sure you only seal your box at the post office, so you can show what's inside. It also works in your advance - if the personnel sees you only have boring soapstone carvings and nothing of value, your parcel is much more likely to arrive. Leave your cards and letters in the biggest post office; it therefore passes through less hands and is more likely to get to its destination. If you want to send a package internationally, use a company like TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx, as they are fast, reliable and just a little more expensive than the local post.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -17.841747
  • Longitude: 25.816611

Accommodation in Livingstone

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Livingstone searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Livingstone and areas nearby.

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This is version 13. Last edited at 3:32 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 7 articles link to this page.

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