- Where the Locals Go
Helen Davies may hail from the United Kingdom, but after an extended solo journey around Africa in her 20s, she fell in love with the continent. In fact, Zambia impressed her so much she ended up moving there to become an expedition leader and tour guide. Nowadays, she divides her time between Africa and the U.K. and documents her travels on her blog, Helen in Wonderlust, to help others uncover the best the world has to offer. As she says, “Life is an adventure. Live it!” Here are a few things about the city Helen calls her “second home.”
Livingstone (Zambia) Is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is on a cycling tour that takes you through the local villages.
July is the best time to visit my city because the Zambezi River is at its fullest—which means that Victoria Falls is at its most spectacular. If you visit the falls during a full moon, you may even get to see a lunar rainbow.
You can see my city best from the air during a microlight flight over Victoria Falls.
Locals know to skip the fancy restaurants and check out Wonder Bake Bakery instead.
Kubu Crafts is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.
In the past, notable people like David Livingstone—the first European to explore this area and the city’s namesake—have called my city home.
My city’s best museum is the Livingstone Museum because it houses many of Livingstone’s personal effects and depicts life in Zambia from both a native and British colonial perspective.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that all cabs have a purple stripe and a trip from the airport to anywhere in the main town should not cost more than 60 ZMW ($10) in total (maybe a little bit more if you are heading to one of the bigger hotels on the river).
The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is in or on the Zambezi—whether by river board, canoe, kayak, raft, or boat.
My city really knows how to celebrate the arts. It hosts a number of events throughout the year, including an international cultural arts festival and Earth Fest, a music and sustainability festival sponsored by a social enterprise called Greenpop.
For a fancy night out, go to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for afternoon tea, followed by cocktails on the deck, overlooking the Zambezi at sunset. If you’re lucky you may even spot a few elephants and hippos. Then finish off your night at Café Zambezi.
Just outside my city, you can visit Victoria Falls Town, across the border in Zimbabwe, or Chobe National Park in Botswana.
My city is known for being the adventure capital of Africa, but it’s really one of the most romantic destinations in the world.
The best outdoor market in my city is Maramba Market.
Kubu Café is my favorite place to grab breakfast and Olga’s Pizzeria is the spot for late-night eats.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read local notice boards in town or chat up local cab drivers.
My city’s biggest sports event is the Zambezi River Festival. Watch it from the riverbank or perhaps even from the top of the gorge overlooking “rapid number 7.”
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I walk around the local markets, taking in the music, colors, smells, and vibrant atmosphere.
To escape the crowds, I head to Jungle Junction on beautiful Bovu Island, several miles upriver from Livingstone.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Brad Pitt because it’s rugged and a little bit wild, but beautiful, with a suave, sophisticated side.
The dish that represents my city best is nshima (maize porridge) with relish and Mosi lager is my city’s signature drink.
The Capitol Theatre is my favorite building in town because it’s a beautiful Art Deco building built in the 1930s.
The most random thing about my city is that it has two large supermarkets, something you wouldn’t expect in such a small place.
The Zambezi Sun is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Fez Bar.
Seeing elephants and giraffes on the way to work could only happen in my city.
In the spring you should go see Victoria Falls—but be prepared to get soaked.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
In the summer you should go back to the falls and see it again, this time without so much mist in the way, and perhaps pop across the border to Zimbabwe.
In the fall you should go rafting and visit the Devil’s Pool when the water level is relatively low.
In the winter you should try to get a good bargain on a hotel as this is the region’s hot and rainy season.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss a boat trip down the Zambezi to try to spot elephants, giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles.
The best book about my city is Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone, by Martin Dugard.
In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because Livingstone has everything you could ever want in an African adventure.
Follow Helen’s story on Twitter and Instagram @helenwonderlust.