An overlanders guide to Livingstone

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Alison Cole

The Zambian town of Livingstone experienced an unexpected boom in the 90s as a result of the political troubles in neighbouring Zimbabwe. With tourists avoiding Zim, places like Livingstone were only too happy to roll out the welcome mat. Sure, the fuel is pricey around here, but the town is a good base from which to visit the Victoria Falls.

An overlander’s guide to Livingstone 
This article isn’t about where to bungee or to go rafting, this is a guide to the town of Livingstone – a list of places you might find useful if you’re overnighting or just passing through. If you’re heading to places like Liuwa Plains, South Luangwa, Kasanka (for the bat migration) or even faraway Serengeti, Livingstone is a town you’ll likely end up passing through. The places listed below will ensure that you can tend to your needs quickly, giving you more time at your end destination.

Shoprite
The local paper recently criticised this store for not stocking local fruit and vegetables; apparently they truck everything in.  The store reacted by putting Zambian products stickers on all their locally-produced goods. But they still carry many of the brands that’ll be familiar to you if you shop at an SA Shoprite store.  The Livingstone shop is located in the Mosi-au-Tunya Square. Some of you might remember the Spar; when we were last in town it had closed down and they were busy building a new one in a more central location.
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AUTOWORLD
This is a neat one-stop automotive shop. Fridge broken and you can’t  fix it? Buy a cooler box from Autoworld. Not only do they sell every little thing you might have forgotten, they also do tyre repairs, replacements and balancing. For more details call +260 21 3 320 264.
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MTN SHOP
I don’t activate international roaming on my cellphone anymore, as it’s way too expensive. I solve my connectivity issues by buying local SIM cards in the countries I’m travelling through. In Livingstone, Zambia, there’s an MTN shop right next to the big Shoprite store in the Mosi-au-Tunya Square.  This is where I purchased my Zambian SIM card for my Blackberry.  This allowed me to check emails and surf the net at a fraction of the international roaming rates. It’s worth noting that the MTN signal is pretty good throughout Zambia so with this network you’ll be able to communicate from just about anywhere. You can buy SIM cards and airtime from street sellers and most shops.
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Informal Markets
If it’s fresh produce you’re a er then stop o at some of the many stalls in and around the centre of town.  They’re much cheaper and fresher than Spar or Shoprite. Just don’t forget to haggle your way down to a fair price.
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Livingstone Toyota
Don’t give me that alles loop reg altyd reg nonsense – when we passed through Livingstone there was a South African Cruiser in the workshop and it wasn’t there for a service. Breakdowns happen with any brand of vehicle so it’s always good to know where you can  nd good help. And who knows, perhaps your 15 000 km service has fallen due en route. Or you need some spares. Whatever the reason, this Toyota dealership offers it all. Peter Mwaba was the branch manager when we popped in. You can contact the dealership on +260 213 322 406/7/9.
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Wonderbak
Is someone in your party celebrating a birthday? Do you need a cake? Not only does Wonderbake have a lovely selection of freshly baked cakes, treats, breads and rolls, they also serve a great cup of co ee. I’m not one of those who enjoys frozen bread fresh from the freezer, so I loved the selection and variety offered here.  This bakery cum coffee shop is located in the main road just opposite the post office, right next to ForeX where you go to change money. To order a cake in advance, call Wonderbake on +260 213 3324201.
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Forex
 This can be a hassle as you can’t get kwacha before you arrive in Zambia so you’re forced to visit the local exchange houses upon arrival in towns such as Livingstone. I was told to try the Post O ce and although they might give the best rates for US$100 bills, their rate drops signi cantly if you’re exchanging US$1 or US$5 bills.  The other option is to try ForeX next door to Wonderbake. Don’t forget to take your passport along to verify that you’re a foreigner who’s thus ripe to be ripped off. ForeX
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Post Offfce
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FOLEY’S AFRICA
 Thse boys know Land Rovers better than anyone in the region and will put you back on the road before you can say “What’s wrong with my Landy?” We have previously featured Foley’s in the magazine – they service and repair Landies and might even have that spare part you need to continue with your adventure. They can be contacted on +260 213 320 888 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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The bushfront lodge
A long-time favourite campsite for South Africans. It’s run by the same people who own the Zambezi Waterfront, but unlike the Waterfront which can get pretty lively when full, this place is quiet. You can camp on lush green grass underneath shady trees with lekker braai places right next to you. Ablutions include  fush toilets and piping hot water which should make mommy happy. For more details see www.safpar.net or call +26 021 332 2446. S17°52.331’, E025°14.167’

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