Although you can fly between Zambia’s capital of Lusaka and Livingstone, which is near the Zimbabwe border, domestic flight prices are sky-high and most one-ways price out at $250. There’s no real domestic airline in Zambia, so the Lusaka to Livingstone runs are done by small planes. For this trip, I chose to instead take the bus with Shalom Bus Services, which has been running since 1996.
Shalom provides luxury coaches as well as standard buses, depending on the route. The bus from Lusaka to Livingstone was modern and seemed to serve as a cargo ship, with an entire car (in parts) and lots of luggage from other passengers in its belly.
The AC on this bus was broken (although it’s advertised as being fully air-conditioned) and there was no on-board WiFi either.
The journey from Lusaka to Livingstone is ‘just’ 500 km but takes almost nine hours. The road is a rather wide two-lane paved road. The drivers certainly try to drive as fast as possible (including some parts of the road where they race at 140 mph), though the bus stops about once an hour or more to pick up more passengers. We got the impression those were rather unscheduled stops and served to make some extra income for the bus driver. Only one stop was at a rest stop. which had surprisingly good restrooms and fast food.
There are no government roadblocks on this route, but the bumps in the roads can get tiresome on such a long trip.
Taking the bus in this part of Zambia is cheap; we only paid $14 for each ticket. However, it is not a pleasant experience, with tightly-packed passengers, a broken AC and no WiFi.
When in Lusaka, you can try to get your hotel to get the tickets for you or you can just take a taxi to the bus station and then buy the tickets there (only 24 hours before departure). The bus station is decently organized, but the amount of touts there is epic. You will be yelled at and chased through the area continuously.