Lusaka, Zambia Report of what it's like to live there - 10/05/08
Personal Experiences from Lusaka, Zambia
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
5 other cities on 4 continents.
2. How long have you lived here?
3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
14 hours via Joburg.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Most people live in houses, though flats are available. Roma and Kabalonga are the larger expat areas. Commute time varies from 5 minutes and up .
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Most things are available, just expensive due to the high duties and VAT.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Some good places, many expensive places.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
You can use the regular Zambian mail and things usually get there. DHL, etc are available.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
No problem. About US$100 a month will get you someone.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
In Lusaka it is possible. Mastercard is only accepted at Stanbic.
4. What English-language religious services are available locally?
5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
All available. DSTV has crappy programs at US$70 per month.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
No accommodation for disabilities.
1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?
2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Affordable, reasonably safe and quite smelly.
3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Toyotas are populuar. In town you can use anything. In the bush get an SUV.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Available and expensive.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?
Call back or VOIP.
1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Liza at the Showgrounds is excellent, albeit not cheap.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
There are, but the Zambians are ridiculous on work permits. You never know if or when one will be issued. You need a work permit to volunteer.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Not really, just be smart.
3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
CFB is the best provider and they are mediocre at best. Most people fly to South Africa.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Warm, hot, moist. Weather is generally excellent year-round.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
International School of Lusaka has come a long way in the past two years. The American School is also popular. LICS offers the British National Curriculum and Baobab is distinctly South African/Zimbabwean.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Most schools make accommodations for mild disabilities.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Available. ISL and AIS have them. There are many others, check on quality.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
Okay, but many are unhappy about the crazy prices on things.
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Homes, bars, movies...
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
9. Can you save money?
Maybe, but don't have any doubts this is an expensive country.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
No. Too expensive, government is wrought with corruption and hard to deal with.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
Sun tan lotion.