Traveling through Zambia with backpack. Livingstone


A big town, quite organised for Zambia and Africa standarts, not too crowded and not only a tourist town like Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. And just 10 km away of the famous Victoria Falls, that´s why people come to Livingstone.

Normal location (not on the shore of the Zambezi River, 5 km away). 
A good place to stop for a while if you are on a budget as there are nice backpackers lodges. Great! You can relax a few days... waiting for a good and new sleeping train (depature on sundays)... for example...

Livingstone is a linear town, quite spread out, but nothing is too far to walk in the central area.

Public Transport from Livingstone to Victoria Falls:

There are minibuses between Livingstone center and the Victoria Falls- Zambian border post.
Price:  4 K, 15 min. Departure when full, all day long. 
Minibus station in Livingstone is behind the central Shoprite and just a few minutes walking from the falls entrance and border post there´s a small vans station.

Note: if coming from Zimbabwe, without Kwachas, you can pay in US$ for the minibus (1 $), no need to change.
No public transport from Livingstone to the waterfront (around 6 km away). Only taxis.

 Livingstone minibus station (left) and Vic Falls station (right)

Many taxis, but not too cheap. Expect to pay 15 K ( 2€) for a short trip. Much more if going to the falls… or maybe you can share.

Public Transport from Livingstone to Lusaka:

Different bus companies have buses to Lusaka.
Price: 115 K (20 €), 8 hours, different departures, usually more in the morning and til noon aproximatly.
From Lusaka the price is 130 K.

Also buses to Kazangula border (Botswana)

Companies offices are not far from the market, ask (just a bit north east, walking distance from the center).

Railway Station in Livingstone

The train station is quite central, just passing the big Shoprite Mall (south of the center), walking distance.
There´s a new and beautiful express train from Livingstone via Lusaka to Kitwe (Copper Belt) and vice versa, Golden Jubilee Express
Departure is Sunday 18:00 from Livingstone (arrival Lusaka Monday around 8:00) and Thursday 18:00 from Kitwe (departure Lusaka Friday around 8:00). 

Prices for the train Livingstone-Lusaka
- Sleeper: 145 K (3 or 6 beds, linen provided)
- Business: 135 K
- Standart: 110 K
- Economy: 90 K.

Also other old and slow trains, only with economy class (70 K Livingstone-Lusaka) but the service day changes every week… and it will take too long to travel…
Livingstone booking office is open 8:00 to 16:30, closed on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 16:30. Possible to book in advance (but no real need, not too many people use the train, now).

Our experience  like independent travellers on the train:GOOD!

Even local people don´t know about this new train... and many didn´t recomend us to travel by train in Zambia, because the schedule is not certain and usually the trains are late.

We prefered the train because it´s more confortable, so we took the risk. The trip was good, but we didn´t sleep very well, a lot of shake.

The new train is great, with air-con, very clean toilets, even shower. Very confortable, not crowded. But the tracks are being changed , so expect a lot of shake and noise til then.

We paid the sleeper class, a 3 beds cabin, only for 2 of us. Just a bit more expensive than travelling by bus (115 K  and 130 K from Lusaka, 8 hours by day). 
Departure from Livingstone was on time and arrival at Lusaka was at 9:00 (around 15:00).

Cheap accommodation in Livingstone:

If you are planning a budget visit to Victoria Falls, the good thing about Livingstone (and more compared with the Zimbabwe side) is that there are a few good backpackers, just walking distance from the center.

With Cecilia &Pablo (Argentina) in Livingstone backpackers
- Livingstone backpackers

Price for camping: 7$/pp,
Price for dorm :10 $/pp, 
Also rooms. 

Kitchen, lockers, swimming pool. Free wifi. Correct, clean toilets, garden. The place is quiet, but just a noisy local bar in front. 
We stayed here. Nice atmosphere.
Just a few minutes walking from the main street.
Really recommended. We camped. 

Others budget accommodation in Livingstone: 
JollyBoys (Bakcpackers and Camp, 2 locations) and Fawlty Towers.
Price: 9 $ for camping. Also dorms and rooms.
Jolly Boys Camp, in january 2015 was under renovation.

If you have your own transport, it can be nice and quiet to stay near the Zambezi River (waterfront), (Zambezi Waterfront and Bushfront Lodge, a bit more expensive than backpackers, around 10 $/pp camping).

There´s no cheap accommodation near the Victoria Falls entrance, just 2 luxury hotels.
There are campsites and lodges in the gorge area, a few km away downstream... not easy without a car. 

On the Kazangula road (75 km to Botswana border), there are luxury lodges on the shores of the Zambezi River. Not for the low-cost traveller!

Where to find cheap food in Livingstone?

There are 2 Shoprite supermarkets (the biggest, shopping mall style, is south of the center) and 1 Spar supermarket. You find everything you need (but not as cheap as in South Africa).
Also other shops and markets (cheap for fruit and vegetable). 
Cheap food: a good option is cooking at the backpackers (the cheapest) or the "take away" food at the supermarkets.
There are also a few take away shops in Livingstone (a bit pricier than the supermarkets) and a few tourist restaurants (quite expensive).
Not too much food offered at the local market, just mainly small snacks, but you can always check, interesting and local.

Water was safe to drink, at least at Livingstone Backpackers, they had a drinking water place.

Note: if visiting Livingstone in January, it´s mango season and you will have a free “mango rain”, delicious! So many trees at Livingstone Backpackers!

Services in Livingstone:

Many banks, gas stations, pharmacies. All you need.
Many travel and activities agencies.
There´s a tourist information center just next to Livingstone Museum (entrance fee to the small museum, we didn´t go), but information is limited. They have free maps of Livingstone and the surrounds.

Rent a bike in Livingstone is expensive: negotiate, at the backpackers or ask around (at the backpackers it´s 5 $/half day and 10 $/a day!).


  1. Thanks for the tips!
    Too bad that the jubilee train no longer runs in 2016.
    Only slow train available twice per week dep Lusaka 06H00 am arr next day 02h00 am at Livingstone, better take the bus - thats 7hours and 120 kw.

  2. Gracias por la información. Muy útil y práctica. Vamos a Zambia-Zimbabwe-Botswana en julio y nos viene muy bien tanto detalle. Lo haremos por libre partiendo de una única reserva en Livingstone.... Cruzaremos los dedos, a ver si tenemos suerte y lo podemos organizar todo allí directamente. Contar con vuestra información no da seguridad ;-)

  3. Great article, very engaging! I will treasure these tips!Livingstone, Zambia Lodges


Publicar un comentario