Chipata

Travel Guide Africa Zambia Chipata

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Introduction

Chipata is a growing multi-cultural town in Eastern Zambia, and is a popular refueling station for overlanders on their way east to Malawi, west to South Luangwa National Park, or north to Lundazi.

Formerly Fort Jameson, Chipata was the capital of North-Eastern Rhodesia until 1911, when Northern Rhodesia - later to become Zambia - was created. Now it's the capital of Zambia's Eastern Province and a fairly busy town with about 320,000 residents and more coming in daily.

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Sights and Activities

Chipata Juma Mosque (Central Mosque), Mosque Rd. Probably the prettiest building in Chipata, no entry for non-Muslims but just down the road from the Down Shops. Muslims only make up a relatively small minority of the population, however.
Kanjala Hill, on the northeast corner of town (nearly 2 km east of Shoprite). Nice views of Chipata. Take a lunch and have a nice hike; if you want to drive it, you'll pretty much need a 4WD, but there's a track leading up from JBG Road.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are flights to Lusaka and Mfuwe (for South Luangwa). Flights are now run by Proflight or Zambezi Airlines from Monday to Friday.

By Car

Chipata is roughly 12 km from the border of Malawi along Lusaka Road. Taxis taken from the Malawi side can take you through Malawi customs, but you'll have to change once on the Zambian side.

By Bus

From Lusaka, Chipata is a 7 to 8-hour bus ride on a luxury bus, costing approx US$20. It might be possible to find slightly cheaper transport, but it will probably take twice as long to arrive. (Among the various bus companies that travel between Chipata and Lusaka, Zoom has a rather poor safety record.) Buses to the capital leave every hour. Be there at least an hour before departure, as the bus leaves as soon as it's full and will not always stick to the timetable.we have Lungu luxuly coaches,chibangamoto,Kapekele and many more, CR Carriers is just one of the many companies operating the bus services their website has pictures of the buses and services they offer.

There are two bus stations: one for minibuses and one mainly for coaches, though another station is under construction. You will need to ask around to find the location of the bus station you need. Be prepared to wait a while at the local bus station — no matter what time the conductor tells you that you will leave, it will be much later (minibuses will only leave when full). Kick back and have a warm beer; after all, you're in the heart of Africa.

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Getting Around

Chipata is strangely sprawling for a rural community. Most people with vehicles use them. For the most part, however, walking will be manageable, although possibly tiring.

There are many cabs in Chipata, painted an eye-catching blue. No meters, so bargain hard — expect to pay K10,000-20,000 for most trips around town.

Cabs will also take you to the border if necessary. Prices may vary on the number of people travelling.

You can hire bycles at little as K2000, and for the whole day that can be arranged with the Tourism News.

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Eat

Chef's Pride, Parerenyatwa Rd. Serves local and Zambianised Indian dishes from US$2. Try the pepper chicken and chapattis. All chicken meals are magnificent (at least by African standards).
Lazeez Khana, next to Chef's Pride. Serves similar food to Chef's Pride at similar prices. Best for beef steaks.
Jamraz, At welcome.

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Drink

Up Town, near Caltex Filling Station, is the only proper nite club in Chipata.
Wildlife Club, in the Wildlife & Environment Conservation Society building. Features a pool table and beers for K5,000. Theoretically members-only, but in practice anybody gets in. Popular with Chipata's small expat community.
Pine View, on the Guest House property, has a chilled-out bar and pool tables. A good chill out place to meet some locals and have some fun.

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Sleep

Chipata Motel (Just north of intersection with Lundazi Rd). Clean if somewhat run-down doubles from US$10. Also hosts many concerts, which can be good to visit, but not so good to try to sleep through. US$10. edit
Pine View Guest House (southeast side of town, off Umodzi Highway)). A nice place offering double rooms from US$20. edit
Katuta Lodge, Lundazi Highway (10 km north). Camping for US$5, clean singles/double with bathroom from US$15/20. Has a decent restaurant on grounds serving local and Western fare.
Mama Rula's, Lundazi Highway (4 km north). Chalets and camping, popular with overlanders. There's a good bar where the bartender sports a bowtie and serves Mosi and Carlsberg for US$1.75 a bottle. Local and Western dishes are also served, but US$10 for fish and chips is on the expensive side.
Deans Hill View Lodge (close to the Chipata welcome arch 500m off the main Lusaka high-way), ☏ +260-0-216221673. camping/dorm beds. bed and breakfast for Backpackers and travellers. US$6/$12.

View our map of accommodation in Chipata

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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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Accommodation in Chipata

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Chipata searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 15:32 on Jan 29, 21 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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