Lusaka is Zambia’s boomtown. Given that it sits at the intersection of the country’s four main highways heading north, south, east, and west, it is not an unfair assessment to say that all roads lead to Lusaka… at least in a geographical, social, commercial, and governmental sense.

Lusaka is the country’s capital and largest urban zone, as well as one of the fastest developing cities in central and southern Africa. Its population almost tripled following the country’s 1964 independence era and continues to grow daily, with one and ten Zambians—more than 2.4 million people total—residing among its sprawling metropolis. To accommodate this rapid growth, visitors will find new housing high-rises, chain stores, and shopping malls springing up throughout the city, adding to its established mishmash of dusty tree-lined streets, high-walled suburbs, busy shantytowns, Soviet-like high-rises, and modern commerce centers.

The pride of Lusaka is certainly its market culture. The markets here are a hive of activity, where thousands of stalls are set up and cleared away every single day. At the center of the city is Lusaka City Market, a huge, one-roof marketplace housing over 4,000 stalls selling everything from fruit to DVDs to rows and rows of “salaula” second hand clothes. This is where Zambians go to get their bargains, while Northmead Market is the perfect place to stock up on souvenirs and enjoy the fresh food stalls. Beyond the everyday culture of the markets, Lusaka boasts a rich fabric of local artistic talent and history, and puts it all on display in creative hubs such as the Lusaka National Museum, the Lusaka Playhouse theater, the Kabwata Cultural Village, the Moore Pottery Factory, and multiple art galleries.

Then, of course, there is the wildlife. Lusaka hosts a fascinating collection of parks and game reserves within its general vicinity, from the snakes, chameleons, and crocodiles of Kalimba Reptile Park to the rescued and rehabilitated elephants of Lilayi Game Reserve’s Elephant Orphanage Project. The Munda Wanga Environmental Park is an especially significant part of the Lusaka conservation movement, rehabilitating a wide variety of animals for re-entry into the wild, including cheetahs, lions, banded mongoose, jackals, warthogs, baboons, and the rarely seen pangolins.

Lusaka’s genuine African culture, cosmopolitan vibrancy, expat nightclubs, and high-end accommodations are enough of a reason to include this ever-growing city on your next Ker & Downey journey through Zambia and Central Africa. Contact Ker & Downey today to include it at the beginning or end of your next luxury Zambia safari.