Zambia’s tourism logo is LET’S EXPLORE. More and more travellers to Zambia want to self-drive and explore the country. Being self-drive means that you can decide when and where you want to go, on a whim. It is also a much cheaper option, especially if you are a large group or family.
The roads are generally good.
Please remember not to drive at night. (Trucks take to the road at night and sometimes their headlights are not good. Also, when a truck breaks down on the road they use rocks to wedge the wheels … and when they get going again they ‘forget’ to remove the rocks from the road.) The speed limit on main roads is 100 kph. Plan your trips so that you enjoy the journey and arrive on time.
If you do not have your own vehicle, 4x4s (fully-equipped or not) can be hired.
On this page I have shown campsites and some self-catering camps. It will give you a basic idea of what is available and where. More details of the areas are available on other pages.
Bush Camping means that there are no facilities – no water, no toilet.
Victoria Falls Waterfront (The Explorer Club). Camping and budget accommodation. The Waterfront is very popular with lots going on. See Livingstone – Accommodation Around Town
Maramba River Lodge. Camping and budget accommodation. This is a quieter option to the Waterfront. See Livingstone – Accommodation Around Town
Jollyboys Backpackers. Jollyboys has two facilities. The main one in town is mainly for backpackers but the one near Tanzania road is popular with self-drive. See Livingstone – Accommodation in Town.
Livingstone Backpackers. Essentially for backpackers but does have a small area for campers.
Camp Nkwazi. Turning is 24 km from town on the Kazungula Road. Camping and budget accommodation. Take the dirt road down to the Zambezi River.
Kubu Cabins. Along the same road as Camp Nkwazi. Camping and budget accommodation.
Mabula Game Farm. 40 km north of Livingstone on the Lusaka Road. Mabula offers chalets and camping. Turn-off at 17° 33.69’S, 25° 59.32’E.
Victoria Falls Apartments in town
Kayube Estates, Kazungula Road, turning is 23km from town
LIVINGSTONE TO THE WEST
The road between Livingstone and Sesheke is very bad after Kazungula. Although Liuwa Plain is reachable after a long day from Livingstone it is best to break the journey.
Brenda’s Best Baobab. Essentially this is budget accommodation but campers are also welcome. It is just off the main road through town at: 17° 28.92’S, 24° 17.70’E.
Katima Mulilo to Ngonye Falls
Mutemwa Lodge (Turning: 17° 7.09’S, 24° 1.88’E). They are constructing a new self-catering and camping facility to be open in 2019.
Kabula Lodge (Turning 17° 3.38’S, 23° 59.72’E) has budget self-catering accommodation and camping.
Kavumbu Lodge (Turning 16° 56.46’S, 23° 53.00’E). Camping and self-catering accommodation.
Of the three camps, I would recommend Kabula if you haven’t prebooked.
Finally, Ngonye Falls Campsite is a community campsite next to the falls. It is fenced and the staff who work there are very helpful and friendly. As a community project, they are reliant on the income from the site. 16° 39.32’S, 23° 33.92’E.
LOCHINVAR NATIONAL PARK
The campsite in Lochinvar was destroyed in a fire. However, you can ask to bush camp by the lagoon.
Otherwise, 10 km north of Monze is Moorings Campsite which has camping and self-catering. From there it is possible to do day trips into Lochinvar.
I have given only two facilities for self-drive. These camps are popular and are on the outskirts of town.
Eureka Camping Park, on Kafue Road, the road from Livingstone or Lower Zambezi. Campsite and budget accommodation. The turning to Eureka, on the east of the road is at: 15° 30.26’S, 28° 15.58’E
Pioneer Camp, on the Chipata, South Luangwa, Malawi road (the Great East Road). The turning is at: 15° 21.94’S, 28° 25.42’E. Follow the road to the camp at: 15° 23.75’S, 28° 27.06’E. Campsite and budget accommodation.
BLUE LAGOON NATIONAL PARK
Nakeenda Lodge has camping and self-catering. Open May-November.
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Nanzhila Safari Lodge (Open June-November)
New Kalala Camp
Kasabushi Camp (Access from the Spinal Road)
Mu-Fungata Safari Lodge (Access from the Itezhi-Tezhi Road)
Kaingu Safari Lodge (Access from the Itezhi-Tezhi Road)
Central Kafue near The Hook
Mayukuyuku Bush Camp
Mapunga Bush Camp (Open June-November)
Kafwala Rapids Camp (Self-catering, Open June-November)
Kafue River Lodge
Lungu Island (Self-catering)
Kwale, Lyangu, Katoyana and Sikale
These have to be pre-booked through African Parks
On the road to Lower Zambezi:
Zambezi Breezers is on the Zambezi River, not far from Chirundu, and known for fishing – chalets and camping
Gwabi Lodge is on the Kafue River and is a family-orientated lodge – lodge and camping
Just over the bridge and into the Game Management Area
Mount Hermon Cottages – self-catering and camping
Nsofu – self-catering
Kiambi Lodge – lodge and camping
Lastly, into the wilderness, another 40 km into the Game Management Area
Mvuu Lodge – chalets, camping and self-catering.
Munyameshi River Lodge – camping and self-catering
If you are travelling between Zimbabwe and Zambia the best route is via Siavonga, then over the Kariba Dam wall into Zimbabwe. This is a quiet border and a very pretty run, even though it might be a bit longer.
Spend a night in Siavonga:
Sandy Beach Safari Lodge
Camping is available in Lupande Game Management Area:
Track & Trail Camp
Zikomo Safari Lodge
Croc Valley Camp has self-catering
LUSAKA TO NDOLA
Lusaka to Ndola is 340 km. It is a very busy road so will take time.
Fringilla Lodge – 50 km north of Lusaka – camping
Kafue Lodge Mpongwe – 240 km north of Lusaka and then 80 km on a westerly road. Game Farm with self-catering.
Nsobe Game Camp – 60 km south of Ndola. Campsite and self-catering
Musenga Farm Cottages is self-catering accommodation and is convenient for the Copperbelt. It is half-way between Chingola and Chambishi. (12° 37.33’S, 27° 56.78’E)
LUSAKA TO CHIPATA
It is 560 km from Lusaka to Chipata and then another 120 km to South Luangwa National Park
Along the route:
Bridge Camp is 230 km from Lusaka. Camping, chalets and restaurant. Coming from Lusaka, just before the Luangwa Bridge, take a road south for 3 km. 15° 0.38’S, 30° 12.90’E
Community project Tiko Centre. They have rooms, restaurant and camping. It is on the main road into town from Lusaka. 14° 3.89’S, 32° 1.37’E
Mamarula Campsite. Camping, rooms and restaurant. Take the Lundazi road for 6 km, then follow the signs. 13° 34.97’S, 32° 36.61’E
Dean’s Hill View Lodge. Camping, rooms and restaurant. In town, south of the main road into town from Lusaka. 13° 38.10’S, 32° 37.58’E
Forest Inn (13° 43.35’S, 29° 9.43’E). Camping, rooms, restaurant
Kundalila Falls (13° 9.26’S, 30° 42.11’E). Community campsite
Mutinondo Wilderness. Turning (12° 22.81’S, 31° 5.89’E). Then 25 km along this dirt road. Camping.
These two lodges are recommended by Open Africa
Tusha Safari Lodge (11° 51.30’S, 31° 26.34’E). It is on the main road into town from the south. Camping.
Banyamas Lodge (11° 50.73’S, 31° 26.76’E). In the town. Camping and self-catering.
Mpika to Isoka
Kapishya Hot Springs. Sister to Shiwa Ngandu. (11° 10.24’S, 31° 36.02’E). Camping and chalets.
Chipoma Falls (10° 45.00’S, 32° 0.28’E). On the Mpika-Isoka Road. Turn off (10° 45.87’S, 32° 2.95’E). Then 6 km along a track. National Heritage. Camping with facilities.
King’s Highway ( 9° 40.92’S, 32° 42.75’E). 60 km north of Isoka. Camping and chalets. Good reports.
Foundation for Cross-cultural Education (FCE), a non-profit organisation.
Nkupi Lodge. (8° 45.34’S, 31° 7.06’E ) Camping and chalets. Mentioned in both Bradt and Lonely Planet.
Isango Bay Lodge ( 8° 39.385’S, 31° 11.711’E). Take the road east from Mbala. Turnoff after 10 km ( 8° 47.687’S, 31° 23.719’E). Go west after 15 km at ( 8° 41.610’S, 31° 17.944’E). Then 20 km. Camping and chalets.
Kalambo Falls ( 8° 35.85’S, 31° 14.38’E). Take the same road as Isango but do not take the west turning, continue straight. 15 km. National Heritage. Camping.
Chishimba Falls (10° 6.49’S, 30° 55.05’E). Has camping facilities (National Heritage). It is 35 km east on the Mporokoso Road.
Mansa – Nsumbu
Mumbuluma Falls (10° 55.80’S, 28° 44.18’E). 32 km north of Mansa. Turn east at (10° 55.60’S, 28° 47.96’E). 8km along this road.
Ntumbachushi Falls ( 9° 51.17’S, 28° 56.65’E). Turnoff: (9° 50.66’S, 28° 56.45’E). 1 km along the track. National Heritage. Bush Camping
Lumangwe Falls ( 9° 32.33’S, 29° 23.02’E). Turnoff: ( 9° 32.15’S, 29° 27.87’E). 10 km along the track. National Heritage Site. Zambia Waterfalls: Bush Camping
Kundabikwa Falls ( 9° 13.06’S, 29° 18.26’E). Turnoff: ( 9° 11.40’S, 29° 19.89’E). 5 km along the track. Zambia Waterfalls: Camping superb – quiet and safe – no villages nearby. Bush camping
Ndole Bay ( 8° 28.69’S, 30° 26.97’E). Camping and chalets.
The photographs of the waterfalls have been scanned from Waterfalls of Zambia courtesy of Ilse and Quentin. They are not good copies, so, as I have mentioned before, you should come and take your own.