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Living in Lusaka
A comprehensive guide about living well in Lusaka
Expats living in Lusaka can experience the multifaceted local heritage of a genuine African city as well as an intensive urbanization. The outdoor market, somewhat chaotic streets, and the vibrant lifestyle make life in Lusaka an experience to remember!
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Life in Lusaka
Culture and Leisure
Although very different to western cities, Lusaka is full of interesting cultural institutions and leisure pursuits. There are museums, art exhibitions, a large modern indoor shopping center, and a traditional outdoor market with fresh produce and arts and crafts. The city is full of interesting but chaotic streets and alleyways. Cairo Road and its surroundings are great to explore and find a bargain.
There is an active expat community in the city with several expat clubs and associations that organize a packed social calendar with gatherings, parties and excursions for the whole family. Just south of the city is Munda Wanga Environmental Park, which is a great escape from the hustle and bustle, with a wildlife park, beautiful botanical gardens, swimming pools, areas for picnics and an outdoor bar.
For expats living in Lusaka, the wider country of Zambia has much to explore and enjoy particularly the wildlife and natural scenery in the national parks. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which includes the iconic Victoria Park, is easily accessible along the T1 motorway from Lusaka.
Education in Lusaka
The state school system in Lusaka is divided into primary and secondary schools, running from years 1 through to 12, however many government schools stop after year 7, which is the end of compulsory education. This is considered a sufficient level of basic education. The school year is divided into three terms, and follows the calendar year from January to December.
With a thriving expat population, there are several well-established and highly esteemed private schools to choose from in Lusaka. Many of these were originally started in the late 19th century by European missionaries. Some follow the Zambian national curriculum, but many international private schools adhere to the American or British education system and offer qualifications from their home countries, like the International Baccalaureate and GCSEs.
These schools tend to follow the school year from their home countries, making it an easier transition for newly arrived families, and more convenient for school holidays back home.
Transportation in Lusaka
The city itself has a good public transport system with a network of buses that are cheap and easily accessible. Taxis are also readily available and can be hailed in the street. The prices can be negotiated and this is often a convenient way to get around for short trips.
Most expats choose to drive, as this more comfortable, and useful. A 4×4 or off-road vehicle is advised, as many roads are unpaved or in poor condition, especially during the wet season. In Zambia, driving is on the left, but other rules and regulations are adhered to somewhat haphazardly, and extreme care is advised. If you are being transferred to Lusaka for a job, you may find that your company offers a car with a driver for you and your family, which takes the stress out of traveling.
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