What is the Capital City of Zambia?

By | April 29, 2024

Lusaka, located in the southern part of Zambia, is the capital and largest city of the country. It serves as the political, economic, and cultural center of Zambia, boasting a rich history, diverse population, and dynamic urban landscape.

  • Area: Lusaka covers an area of approximately 360 square kilometers, making it one of the largest cities in Zambia.
  • Population: The city is home to over 2 million residents, representing a mix of indigenous Zambians, expatriates, and migrants from across Africa and beyond.
  • Time Zone: Lusaka operates on Central Africa Time (CAT), UTC+2, aligning with the standard time for much of Southern Africa.
  • Highest Mountain: Zambia’s highest peak, Mount Mafinga, is located in the northeast of the country, near the border with Malawi. While not within the city limits, it stands as the tallest mountain in Zambia, reaching an elevation of 2,339 meters (7,674 feet).
  • Longest River: The Zambezi River, Africa’s fourth-longest river, flows through the western part of Zambia, forming part of the country’s border with Zimbabwe. It is the longest river in Zambia and a vital source of water, transportation, and hydroelectric power.


Lusaka is situated on a plateau at an elevation of approximately 1,279 meters (4,196 feet) above sea level, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The city’s terrain is relatively flat, with gently rolling hills and fertile plains extending to the horizon. Lusaka is located in the heart of Zambia’s agricultural region, surrounded by fields of maize, wheat, and other crops.

Major Landmarks:

Lusaka boasts several landmarks that reflect its history, culture, and development:

  1. Independence Avenue: This iconic boulevard is the main thoroughfare in Lusaka, lined with government buildings, embassies, and commercial establishments. Independence Avenue serves as a symbol of Zambia’s independence and national pride, commemorating the country’s liberation from British colonial rule in 1964. Visitors can stroll along the avenue, admiring the architecture and soaking in the atmosphere of the bustling city center.
  2. Lusaka National Museum: Located in the heart of the city, the Lusaka National Museum showcases Zambia’s rich cultural heritage and natural history. The museum features exhibits on indigenous peoples, traditional crafts, archaeological artifacts, and wildlife specimens, providing insights into the country’s diverse ethnic groups and ecosystems. Visitors can explore galleries dedicated to Zambian art, history, and folklore, as well as temporary exhibitions highlighting contemporary issues and trends.
  3. Cathedral of the Holy Cross: This majestic cathedral, situated in the city center, is one of Lusaka’s most prominent landmarks. Built in the late 20th century, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is a symbol of Zambia’s Christian faith and spiritual resilience. Its striking modern architecture, soaring spires, and colorful stained glass windows attract worshippers and visitors alike, offering a sanctuary of peace and reflection in the heart of the bustling city.
  4. Lusaka City Market: As one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, Lusaka City Market is a vibrant hub of commerce, culture, and community. Spread across several city blocks, the market offers a dizzying array of goods, including fresh produce, spices, textiles, crafts, and household items. Visitors can explore the labyrinthine stalls, haggle with vendors, and sample local delicacies, immersing themselves in the sights, sounds, and smells of Zambian street life.
  5. Munda Wanga Environmental Park: Located on the outskirts of Lusaka, Munda Wanga Environmental Park is a sanctuary for wildlife conservation and environmental education. The park features botanical gardens, nature trails, and animal enclosures, housing a diverse collection of native and exotic species. Visitors can learn about Zambia’s natural ecosystems, participate in guided tours, and engage in hands-on activities, making it an ideal destination for families, nature lovers, and conservation enthusiasts.

Climate Overview:

Lusaka experiences a subtropical climate, characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the average temperature, precipitation, and sunny days for each month:

Month Average Temperature (°C) Precipitation (mm) Sunny Days
January 22°C 200mm 8
February 22°C 180mm 8
March 22°C 150mm 8
April 21°C 40mm 7
May 20°C 10mm 6
June 18°C 1mm 6
July 18°C 0mm 7
August 20°C 0mm 8
September 22°C 1mm 8
October 24°C 10mm 8
November 24°C 40mm 8
December 23°C 150mm 8

Lusaka’s climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The rainy season typically occurs from November to April, with the heaviest rainfall in January and February. The dry season lasts from May to October, with cooler temperatures and clear skies.

Other Capital Cities in Zambia’s History:

Throughout Zambia’s history, several cities have served as the capital at different times. Let’s explore each of these cities and their significance:

Livingstone (1907-1935):

Livingstone, named after the famous Scottish explorer David Livingstone, served as the capital of Northern Rhodesia during the colonial era. Established as a trading outpost and administrative center, Livingstone played a key role in the development of Zambia’s mining and railway industries. The city’s strategic location on the Zambezi River made it a gateway to the Victoria Falls and a hub for tourism and transportation. Livingstone’s colonial architecture, museums, and botanical gardens reflect its historical importance and cultural heritage.

Kabwe (1935-1964):

Kabwe, formerly known as Broken Hill, served as the capital of Northern Rhodesia during the mid-20th century. Located in the central part of Zambia, Kabwe was a center of mining, industry, and commerce, with abundant deposits of lead and zinc driving economic growth. The city’s name derives from the Bemba word “kabweza,” meaning “ore” or “smelting,” highlighting its role in the extraction and processing of minerals. Despite its industrial legacy, Kabwe is known for its scenic beauty, cultural diversity, and vibrant markets.

Choma (1964-1973):

Choma, located in the southern province of Zambia, briefly served as the capital of Zambia following independence from British rule in 1964. Named after the local Tonga word for “water,” Choma is situated on the banks of the Choma River, surrounded by rolling hills and fertile plains. The city’s rural charm, friendly atmosphere, and agricultural heritage make it a popular destination for travelers seeking a taste of traditional Zambian life. Choma’s markets, festivals, and cultural events celebrate the region’s indigenous cultures and customs.

Country Facts:

Zambia, located in southern Africa according to countries zipper, is a landlocked country known for its diverse landscapes, wildlife, and cultural heritage. Here are some key facts about Zambia:

  • Geography: Zambia covers an area of approximately 752,614 square kilometers, making it one of the largest countries in Africa. It is bordered by eight countries, including Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country’s geography includes the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, and the vast plains of the Zambezi and Luangwa valleys.
  • Population: Zambia is home to over 18 million people, comprising a mix of ethnic groups, including the Bemba, Tonga, Lozi, Ngoni, and Lunda. The population is predominantly rural, with a significant urban population concentrated in cities such as Lusaka, Ndola, and Kitwe.
  • Economy: Zambia’s economy is heavily dependent on copper mining, which accounts for the majority of its export revenue. In addition to mining, the country’s economy is supported by agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. Zambia faces challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and income inequality, despite its natural resource wealth.
  • History: Zambia has a rich history dating back to the pre-colonial era, with indigenous kingdoms such as the Lozi, Bemba, and Chewa shaping the region’s cultural and political landscape. The area was colonized by the British in the late 19th century and became independent as Zambia in 1964. The country’s history is marked by struggles for independence, political upheaval, and economic development.
  • Culture: Zambia’s culture is diverse and vibrant, reflecting the traditions of its various ethnic groups and influences from neighboring countries. Music and dance play a central role in Zambian culture, with genres such as traditional drumming, kalindula, and hip-hop gaining popularity. Traditional ceremonies, such as the Kuomboka festival of the Lozi people, celebrate the country’s cultural heritage and identity.
  • Environment: Zambia is known for its rich biodiversity, including national parks, game reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. The country is home to iconic species such as elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinoceroses, as well as a wide variety of birds and plants. Conservation efforts, such as community-based natural resource management and ecotourism initiatives, aim to protect Zambia’s natural heritage for future generations.

Lusaka stands as a dynamic symbol of Zambia’s resilience, diversity, and aspirations for the future. From its historic landmarks to its vibrant culture and bustling markets, Lusaka captivates visitors with its blend of tradition and modernity, offering a glimpse into the soul of this remarkable country. As the capital city, Lusaka serves as a gateway to Zambia’s treasures, welcoming travelers from around the world to explore its natural wonders, cultural riches, and warm hospitality.

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