Lusaka, in Lusaka Province, is the capital of Zambia. It is a cosmopolitan city that is home to about 2.7 million people (2020), approximately one in six Zambians. Lusaka is the centre of commerce and government in Zambia, and has several cultural facilities.
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- 1 Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka International Airport LUN IATA) (well-signposted 14 km (8.7 mi) km from the City centre, off the Great East Road).
- If you walk out of the airport terminal cross the car park to the petrol station you can pay from only K100 for a ride in to Lusaka city center. if you pick up a taxi outside the Terminal you pay a lot more.
Lusaka is reasonably well-served by flights from Johannesburg, Dubai, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Istanbul, Emirates connects Lusaka with Dubai. Turkish Airlines connects Lusaka with Istanbul. South African Airways fly to Lusaka from Johannesburg with multiple flights per day, Kenya Airways from Nairobi. and Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa. (In Johannesburg the airlines have no control over baggage in transit and the airport's baggage concessionnaire is exempt from responsibility by contract, so lost and especially pilfered baggage can be an issue.)
Various other African airlines also serve Lusaka.
- Pro-Flight traditionally has specialized in serving tourist game lodges rather than trunk intercity flights, though this seems to be changing.
All Zambian airlines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU since 2009. This decision, by the EU Air Safety Committee, followed an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit of Zambia, which discovered significant shortcomings in the ability of the Zambian civil aviation authorities to ensure the safe operation of airlines licensed by them. The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends against flying with any Zambian-based airline if a reasonable alternative exists.
International airlines that have flights to Lusaka include:
- Air Botswana flies to Gaborone.
- Malawi Airlines flies to Lilongwe.
- Kenya Airways flies to Nairobi.
- South African Airways flies to Johannesburg.
- Ethiopian Airlines flies to Addis Ababa.
- Emirates Airlines flies to Dubal.
- FastJet flies to Dar Es Salaam.
- RwandAir flies to Kigali and Johannesburg.
- TAAG Angola Airlines flies to Luanda.
- Air Namibia flies to Windhoek.
- South African Express flies to Durban.
- Airlink Airlines flies to Johannesburg.
- Turkish Airlines flies directly to and from Istanbul.
- Qatar airways is looking to fly three times a week to and from Doha.
- Domestic flights: there are two airlines, Mahogany Air and Proflight Zambia. and for charters Ngwazi Air Charters.
There are two trains per week to Lusaka from Livingstone. The Zambezi offers both business class and sleeper compartment and is recommended for tourists. The other train is the Kafue, heavily subsidized by the government and therefore dirt-cheap but lacking most amenities. There are no differences in travel time between the two trains. Both trains connect with cities north such as Ndola and Kitwe, which are in the Copperbelt region. Timetables can be found on the website of the national carrier ZRL.
It is also possible to buy train tickets for the TAZARA railway from Kapiri Mposhi to Tanzania at Tazara House opp the market corner of cairo road and Independence Avenue Lusaka. students are eligible for a 50% discount. the Kapiri Mposhi Tazara train station is 200 km north of Lusaka. the Tazara railway is a good low cost way to get from Zambia to Tanzania. the 2nd class sleeper fare from Kapiri Mposhi to Mbeya Tanzania is K152. The 2nd class sleeper fare from Kapiri Mposhi to the Tanzania border at Tunduma 900 km is K109. the 2nd class sleep fare all the way from Kapiri Mposhi to Dar Es saalam 1860 km is K227. The train departs Kapiri Moshi two times a week on Tuesday at 16:00 and Friday at 14:00 and you get to the Tanzania Border the next day at around 11:00.
The small 2 Lusaka railway station is centrally located.
Since it is the commercial center and governmental seat of Zambia, all the arterial roads lead to Lusaka. Buses run between Livingstone and Kitwe. Operators of this route regularly change, so ask locally before you travel. Mazhandu is the most reliable option.
For buses within Zambia Mazhandu Family Bus Service is widely considered to be the best, most reliable line by locals and expatriates. Buses leave from Inter-City terminal, near downtown Lusaka. they always run true to schedule, have a large fleet of buses with extras to be called into service in case of a break down, make stops at well-lit areas with decent bathrooms, tag your bags for you, and have courteous bus attendants. The owner is almost always around, making sure everything goes smoothly. There are 7 buses a day between Lusaka and Livingstone, including the overnight bus. Several buses are "business class" with wider seats and greater legroom. the first bus departs about 06:00 and the last bus departs 19:30. with bus fares of 120 Kwacha per person. It is 482 km from Lusaka to Livingstone and the trip takes around 7 hours.
International coach services are available, Intercape offers overnight services from Johannesburg and other destinations in Southern Africa. There are also buses going from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique to Lusaka.
Minibuses are ubiquitous, cheap, and, if already full, fast. Single rides generally cost (about USD 0.50). Most routes head to/from the 4 major bus stations in the city centre (referred to collectively as "town"), although there are a small number of alternative routes or short-cut routes, especially during the rush hours. A rider can get just about anywhere in the city with one connection in town. Going in to town is quite straightforward. Going away from town it's best to ask the driver where he's going. Routes and destinations are not posted on the vehicles themselves, but if a bus is taking on passengers the conductor will likely be shouting the destination through the window. Minibuses do run into the evenings, but become decreasingly frequent at the evening wears on.
For the uninitiated, then, a taxi might be a better option, at least initially. Taxis come in two colours - sky blue, and a light grey, and are usually Toyota Corollas. There are no meters in Zambia's taxis, so prices are somewhat negotiable but always on the high side for Africa. Be sure to set a price before getting in the cab, USD2 for a short ride is a fair tourist price. (Ask at a hotel lobby how much your trip should cost. If the cab driver states a higher price, mention that you're happy to ride a mini-bus. Watch the price drop. )
Take down a taxi driver's mobile number, most will be happy to do an all day deal, wait for you while you explore, pick you up early or late and take you to and from the airport.
Ride-hailing app Yango is available.
Walking is an option as distances are not that large, and there are a fair number of street names to help orient yourself. However walking at night does have its hazards - manhole covers are not Lusaka's strong point and there are many uncovered drains that could swallow you whole, hence a torch is a good idea - and drivers seem allergic to moving over for pedestrians walking on the road - so best to stick to the dirt paths at the side of the roads (these are more common than pavements or sidewalks).
- Wakmaf Bus Services (Max Katyamba), ☏ +260 977-417331, firstname.lastname@example.org. Maxwell Katyamba has worked for World Vision for 13 years and has now decided to start his own business. Wakmaf Bus Services can accommodate from 1-7 people or up to 29 people for larger groups.
- 1 Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 3 Chikwa Road (on the corner of Church Road and Independence Avenue), ☏ +260 211250484. is an elegant concrete building with tall stained glass windows. Properly titled the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, it opened for worship on 14 September 1962.
- 2 Henry Tayali Gallery, Lion Lane Street. 08:00-17:00 M-Sa, Closed Su. in the city Showgrounds; holds exhibitions of local art. Unique and professional pieces are available and the staff will be happy to pack your work for safe travel.
- 3 Munda Wanga Environmental Park, ☏ +260 968868901. 08:00-17:00 daily. Wildlife Park and Sanctuary, Botanical Gardens, Recreational Village and Environmental Education Centre. Started in 1956 as private garden and has grown to be Zambia's premier environmental education facility. With over 50,000 visitors a year Munda Wanga reaches out to the future of Zambia to learn about their environment and natural heritage. The park has rescued animals, including a baby elephant and baboons, and released them back to the wild. However, there are still plenty of animals that find their way in to the sanctuary after being found in the illegal pet-trade. The Botanical Gardens are a place to relax and leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind you. The Terrace Bar and Restaurant has nice food and cold drinks available. K30.
- 4 Lilayi Lodge, Lilayi Road, ☏ +260 971002010. a wildlife ranch. Take a game drive and see animals as close to the wild as they can be in the city. Lilayi lodge has an excellent restaurant and hosts Sunday buffets which can be eaten while lounging in around the pool.
- 5 Lusaka National Museum, Independence Ave (next to the new Government Complex), ☏ +260 975621110. 09:00-16:30 7 days a week. A classic dusty, underfunded African museum that is worth a visit if you are at a loose end. An amusingly stark 'collection' of modern art on the ground floor, coupled with a more engaging exhibition upstairs covering Zambia's colonial history, village life, and witchcraft. Lots of old newspaper cuttings giving an interesting glimpse in to the prejudiced views of British Colonial Officers and their attitudes towards the 'natives'. Give yourself at least 1 hour, but keep your expectations low. K97.
- 6 Freedom Statue. Out in front of the Lusaka National Museum. The statue depicts a man breaking free of chains and is a reminder of Zambia's fight for freedom.
- 7 Kabwata Cultural Village, Burma Road, ☏ +260979291049. 08:00-18:00 daily. Reconstructed Zambian village and shopping with a more "African" feel, with dozens of curio-makers and salesmen. Little bit of hawking. Be prepared to spend a while, and don't be afraid to bargain for a good price.
- 8 Kalimba Reptile Park, ☏ +260 211847190. 09:00-18:00 daily. nice croc pond here, murky waters and slithering serpents. And a swimming pool also. 50 K.
- 9 Lusaka National Park, ☏ +260 972607736. 06:00-18:00 daily. Some sticks and twigs here, maybe a duiker or something once in a blue moon. Place to let the kids out.
- Explore the city with its diverse suburbs and informal settlements. Take a map and explore the city's markets, its second class shopping area and many other nooks. The only precautions recommended would be to leave your valuables at your hotel and take only the cash needed for the day as would apply in any major city.
- Parray's Game Ranch is 21 km from the town centre. Available are game drives, swimming and a playground. There you can see Zebra, Kudu and other herbivores
- Chaminuka Lodge Located near the airport, amazing lodge and facilities. The privately owned park is home to a range of antelopes, a family of elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions and hyenas. 
- 1 Soweto Market, Lumumba Road, ☏ +260 976282364. 06:30-17:30 daily. the front is a modern covered market. Behind it lies a massive market selling everything from beans to used clothes, when you want to take in all the sights and smells, among elements as varying as traditional medicines, bicycle repair men and engine spare parts. (Ensure you hold onto your handbag and any other items)
- 2 Manda Hill, 19255 Manda Hill Rd, ☏ +260 211255549. 08:00-19:00 daily. Lusaka's first official mall, opened in 2000. Game Hypermarket, which is owned by Walmart USA, is the anchor, and the mall also features some high-end boutiques, a bookshop, a Subway restaurant, some memorabilia shops, and a wide range of shops: Shoprite supermarket, clothes, jewelry, books, interior design, electronics, and food places with outside seating.
- 3 Arcades, ☏ +260 973324885. 08:00-19:00 daily. The capital's second mall, featuring a relatively cheap Spar supermarket, where you can find your Western food goods. There are also cinemas (Ster-Kinokor) with air-con and a lot of space when watching a movie. A ticket is around K34 (half that price on weekdays). Right next to the cinema there is a bowling alley with a pretty good standard, and they also do disco-bowling in the late evening. There is a Sunday market on every Sunday (handicraft, clothes, plants) across parts of the parking lots.
- Dutch Reformed Church Market. Held on the last Saturday of each month and has been going for several years. There you can buy an assortment of curios, books, food and art. A special feature is the large number of goods available from other countries such as Congo and Zimbabwe. You can have a light Indian or Chinese meal while children have their faces painted. Look for stand selling products made from recycled glass bottles and handicrafts made by people with disabilities.
- [dead link] Jackal & Hide, Sugarbush Farm, Leopards Hill. Hidden away in Sugar Bush Farm is a beautiful shop that sells fantastic genuine African leather bags and other leather accessories. Good quality, attractive designs and reasonable prices. They opened a cafe too so good for a lunchtime visit.
- Levy 1, Church Rd. Yet more South African shops for you to browse, including a huge Pick'n'Pay, and a cinema.
- Lusaka City Market is probably the nicest market in town if you are looking for an 'African' market experience - its just east of the main downtown area. The 'Town Centre' market is pretty grim and has lots of traffic clogging up the streets.
- MP3 CDs. Lusaka, strategically located next to several countries with a strong musical heritage (Congo, Zimbabwe) is a great place for adding to your African music collection. In the indoor bit of Lusaka City Market there are several places that will burn MP3s or transfer gigabytes of music to your flashdisk or phone for about K10,000.
- EastPark Mall. One of the best malls in Lusaka. It has many top names for fashion and grocery shopping. Great bars and restaurants along with banks, ATMs and money changing outlet. Plenty of secure parking. It's an all weather friendly place with lots going on - a real one stop shop mall.
Banks with ATMs
- Stanbic bank. Has Visa and Mastercard ATMs all over Lusaka.
- Ecobank, cairo road and woodlands shopping center. 24 hours atm.. Has no withdraw fee Visa and Mastercard ATMs.
- Standard Chartered bank. Has Visa and Mastercard ATMs.
- FNB. Has Visa and Mastercard ATMs.
- Pick N Pay Supermarkets (Makeni mall and East Park Mall), ☏ +260 21127378. 09:00-21:00.
- Shoprite (Manda Hill mall). 09:00-21:00. Shoprite is the largest supermarket chain in Zambia.
- Spar Supermarkets. higher price.
- Choppies supermarkets. 08:00-20:00. low price.
Whilst not a gourmet destination there is some good eating to be had in Lusaka. The gradual shopping mall-isation of the city sadly means that uninspiring South African chain restaurants are multiplying - but there is still a good selection of independent places scattered around. Lusaka seems to specialise in Indian cuisine. Chindo Road is the closest thing that Lusaka has to a restaurant strip.
- Dil offers some of the best Indian food anywhere and is reasonably priced (though not dirt-cheap). It's in the Ibex Hill area of town, about 15 minutes drive from the city centre, provided there's no traffic. Well worth the drive but a taxi fare each way will cost more than a meal.
- Dong Fang Good local Chinese fare in Long Acres, near Ndeke Hotel.
- 1 Arirang Korean Restaurant, H8VF+RWV. 10am-11pm. A place to get Korean BBQ and other Korean classics, go for their beef dishes especially as you get the good quality Zambian beef in Korean style. Korean owners who also have a shop next to the restaurant (although pretty expensive) with different imported food.
- Savanna at the Intercontinental Hotel. Does standard international hotel food in a nice setting by the pool. Both a-la carte and all you can eat buffet 365 days a year. Expect to pay around K100,000 for a meal.
- Taj Pamodzi This upmarket hotel has 2 restaurants for evening meals - one offering buffets that vary according to the day and another a grill bar. Indian ownership reflected in the food served. Check out crocodile kebabs on the grill or some of the excellent vegetarian options. Expect to pay $15 or more for a meal.
- Portico's Lusaka's newest hot spot serving homemade Italian dishes. Located at Showgrounds by the polo ground. Groovy decor and new, expanded outdoor area.
- Marlin Restaurant, ☏ +260 211 252 206. The Lusaka Club, Los Angeles Boulevard, Longacres. Long a staple of the Lusaka dining scene Marlin is notorious for its pepper steak. Other meats and some Chinese on the menu also. The restaurant has a definite 1970s feel, but is always pretty busy (reservations needed for busy times), and the beef is pretty good (porterhouse a better option than the fillet). Prices exclude 27% in VAT and service. The wine list is exclusively Nederburg. Mains from K70,000.
- 2 Melsim Lodge Ethiopian Restaurant, Alick Nkhata Rd (north of the old airport, behind Flamingo Supermarket). Run by an Ethiopian lady the lodge's restaurant offers some pretty authentic Ethiopian cuisine - better to eat in the bar under the thatch rather than in the wedding hall-esque dining area. Meal costs around K50,000 per person.
- Debonair's Pizza delivers for about US$5.
- Rhapsody's A cornerstone at Arcades mall, serves a good variety of beef, chicken, pork, pasta and salad dishes. Also a popular night hangout.
- Kilimanjaro Nice cafe at Manda Hill serving yummy sandwiches, crepes, and the best coffee frappucino.
- Cedars Lebanese Restaurant New place, off Church Road. Definitely worth a look.
- Mint Cafe, Arcades Mall Lusaka. Small coffee shop in Arcades Shopping Mall. Serving milkshakes, a variety of coffees including lattes, cappucinos and a great assortment of cakes.
Lusaka has many Western-styled bars (e.g., Brown's, mainly used by tourists, and ex-pats). Zambians love to drink; there are, therefore, a number of bars frequented by locals, as well. Unfortunately, these change often. Rhapsody's open late
- Chez Ntemba* has several branches, plays Rumba and African rhythms until the last person leaves
- Majestic Casino has an excellent bar, casino complete with blackjack and roulette tables and slot machines
- Johnny's Chinese is centrally located
- The Polo Grill has outdoor seating overlooking the Lusaka Polo Club also has a small casino
- Northmead Shopping Centre has an array of clubs and bars including some open 24 hours a day the infamous alpha bar should be tested by all travellers.
- The Cha Bar, 161 Mulobwa Close, Fairview. 12:00 - 24:00. This busy, fun and friendly bar is in Lusaka Backpackers, (which used to be called ChaChaCha Backpackers). Its the most easy going place in the centre of the city, and even has great food. Its used by locals and tourists alike and is the place to be if you want to meet people in a place where you don't need to dress up first. You'll get local businessmen in suits for their after work beer and tourists getting out of the pool. There's even an informal taxi rank outside to get you home when you've finished your evening on the local Mosi beer.
Accommodation in Lusaka.
Backpacker hostels & camping
Dorm beds from US$10, and camping from $5 pp a night.
- Bird Nest Backpackers, 4 long acres (United Nations Av, opposite ZICTA), ☏ +260 975241320. Camping/dorm bed/own room. US$5/15/40.
- Flintstones Backpackers, Plot 9965 Makata close (off Makish road Fairview), ☏ +260 211-221060. Camping/4-bed dorm/own room. US$5/12/35.
- Liberty Boarding Hostel, 5559a Kaleya Road Kalundu, ☏ +260 211-292823. Dorm beds. US$12.
- Lusaka Backpackers It is situated off Bwimjimfumo Road, two-thirds of the way down Mulombwa Close on the right-hand side. dorm beds, private rooms. This place used to be called Chachacha backpackers. Dorm bed US$12, room $40. Use caution if booking safaris through them and try to get your itinerary in writing so there is no confusion.
- Paseli Backpackers hostel, Plot no 7a Paseli road, ☏ +260 211-233494. Camping/4-bed dorm/own room. US$5/15/38.
- Wanderers Backpackers, 848 Lagos Road rhodes park (off addis ababa road). Camping and six-bed dorm, owned by Lusaka Backpackers. Camping US$5, dorm bed US$10 per person..
- Pioneer Camp (14 km from the Lusaka airport.), ☏ +260 966-432700. Camping with own tent. US$10 per person.
- 1 Natwange Backpackers, 20 Kariba, Kalundu. This one is pretty hip, over by the Arcades Mall and Radisson Blu and has a pool, spa, billiards, and breakfast, even though it's just a hostel. $10.
Budget & mid-range
you can still find a double room in a lodge for under US$25 a night.
There are a number of budget to mid-range accommodation options, as well. Of particular note are the 'executive lodge' type places - these are aimed at Zambian businessmen and civil servants on their travels and usually comprise a bedroom, breakfast, a pleasant bar and off-street parking - and are usually modern and clean and less than half the price of the top-end hotels.
- The Abundant Life is an impeccably clean hostel run by a local church. No alcohol allowed on the premises. Staff is extremely friendly. They offer en suite rooms and genuine suites, too, for about US$20. Keep in mind Abundant Life is also a church, and they offer worship services on-site. Don't be surprised (or afraid) if you wake to the sound of the congregation speaking in tongues!
- The Ndeke Hotel for about US$45/night. The rooms have double beds and satellite TV, and the hotel features a nice pool, a good bar, and a clean restaurant.
- North End Lodge, Great North road (15 min to city center). Check-in: 10:00, check-out: 09:00. A/C double rooms with own bathroom and breakfast; has 7 rooms. from US$12.
- Golden Days Executive Lodge, 12238 Mosi o Tunya Road (near woodland stadium). Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Double room with outside bathroom. from US$14.
- Lunga Rest Lodge, Karambwe Great North Road (near Karambwe Police Station). Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Double room with own bathroom. from US$19.
- Purview Lodges Ltd, Plot 1404 Street Ambrose Road.. Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 10:00. Single/double rooms with own bathrooms. from US$19.
- 2 Hilton Garden Inn Lusaka Society Business Park, Cairo Road Lusaka ZM, ☏ +260 211324777. It must be one of Lusaka's tallest (and most aesthetic looking) skyscrapers. It has all the amenities of a Hilton Garden property (pool, gym, restaurant, wifi, etc) and is located downtown. ZK 1507.
- 3 Fallsway Suites, off Alick Nkhata rd. Massmedia, ☏ +260 974599477. Out by the airport and has a pool and nice ambience; kinda pricey though. ZK 1855.
- 4 Radisson Blu Hotel, 19029 Great East Road, ☏ +260 211368900. Pool, spa, breakfast. Very swank and modern, out by Arcades Mall. ZK 1855.
Expect to spend anywhere from US$200 to $400 a night for rooms in these hotels.
- The Pamodzi Hotel. Probably the nicest in Lusaka, having undergone a US$7 million renovation. Helpful staff. However, the food is generally disappointing.
- The Intercontinental Hotel is a close second. Restaurant service can be slow.
- The Southern Sun (ex. Holiday Inn, ex Ridgeway Hotel) is casual and comfortable, but expensive (US$200 per night). Best food of the three Splurge hotels but rooms not the greatest and most are close to a main road.
All three of these hotels offer wireless internet, for US$12-20 per day. Unfortunately, the billing system for each requires you to repeatedly obtain new passwords and user-ids, rather than simply keeping track of your total usage during the stay. It's as if you had to get a new user-id and password every day to use the pool or minibar!
- The Protea Lusaka Hotel is near Arcades and is the newest hotel in Lusaka and will run you about US$150/night for a singe room with a king sized bed. The price includes a breakfast buffet and free wifi accessible from most areas of the hotel. The hotel and restaurant bar area is usually pretty quiet unless there is a conference being held at the hotel. If there is a conference the a la carte restaurant menu is not available, but there is a lunch buffet for about US$25. However, the best part of the hotel is its location in the Arcades, which houses a few of the city's better restaurants. Be wary of a room on the first floor as there is a nightclub in the casino below the hotel, which is noisy on Wednesday and Friday nights.
Lusaka seems to have obtained a bad reputation for being a city plagued by crime, but in reality, this is exaggerated — other African cities such as Nairobi, Johannesburg and Lagos are much more risky. However, travellers should appreciate that walking around the city at night is foolish and that you will become a target for pickpockets if you make your valuables visible. HIV/AIDS is endemic here, so if you have sex while visiting Lusaka, make sure to use a condom and take other appropriate precautions.
Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions
- Canada, High Commission of Canada, 5199 United Nations Ave, ☏ +260 211 250 833, fax: +260 211 254 176, email@example.com.
- Finland, Haile Selasie Ave, oppst. Ndeke house, Longacres, ☏ +260 211-251 988, +260 211 251 234, fax: +260 211-253 783, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-12:00.
- Germany, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany 5209 Haile Selassie Avenue, ☏ +260 211 250644, fax: +260 211 254014.
- Romania, 148 Nanzila Road, ☏ +260 976 683-233, email@example.com. Honorary Consulate (Does not provide consular services. Instead, Romanian citizens in need of assistance should contact the embassy in Pretoria, South Africa or the embassy of another European Union member state.)
- [formerly dead link] Russian Federation, Plot 6407, Diplomatic Triangle, Longacres P.O.Box 32355, ☏ +260 211 252-120, +260 211 252-183.
- Serbia, Independence Avenue 5216, P.O.Box 33379, ☏ +260 211 250-235, fax: +260 211 253-889. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- United Kingdom, 5210 Independence Avenue, 15101 Ridgeway, ☏ +260 211 423 200.
- United States.
Of course, there are game parks (like South Luangwa National Park), scattered throughout Zambia, and many Lusakans visit them on the weekends. Heading to Livingstone for a few days is also a popular choice.
- Siavonga is on Lake Kariba about 2½ hours away from Lusaka
- Protea Lodge Just outside Lusaka, it provides a great place to stay, game drives, a swimming pool, and lions.