An Afrosocialite's Guide to Lusaka

Mazuba Kapambwe @afrosocialite - Image Crafted Media

Mazuba Kapambwe- Image Crafted Media 

We've recently been meeting more and more Zambians on our SBA sojourns and while that's exciting, it's also getting pretty awkward answering their questions as to our lack of Zambian content thus far. But that's all about to change as we have called upon our good friend Mazuba Kapambwe, aka @afrosocialite, to let us all in on Lusaka's best gems. Mazuba grew up between Zambia, USA, Germany and Ethiopia before moving back to Lusaka in 2012 to co-found social media management company 'C1rca 1964'. She's now the co-host of the new travel reality-docu 'The Fest Gurus' which is how we met her, shooting the first episode at HIFA 2013 with our good friends Lorraine Charlotte and Crafted Media. Firmly embedded in the local 'ZedCreatives' scene and selected as one of just ten World Economic Forum Lusaka Global Shapers, we trust she knows what's what in Lusaka. Here are her must visit places to check out in Zambia's capital city for a great night out, a quick drink after work, hanging out with Lusaka's movers and shakers, or simply a little R&R. 

In the mood for...A Night To Remember: NEWS CAFE 

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"By day, this South African import is a restaurant but it's the weekends when it really comes alive as the place to be for Lusaka’s crowd to let loose. Guests can have dinner, drinks and hookah while listening to DJ's playing the latest zedbeats, Kwaito and Nigerian music, or whatever takes the fancy of one of the hosted South African DJ’s who come to town like Oskido. Dress to be seen as chances are you’ll run into someone you know or a former Big Brother housemate or two.  Once guests tire of News, the next happening club is Room 101 just a three minute walk away in Arcades mall." 

Top tip: Fridays are the best nights, and make sure to get there before 10pm for any chance of getting a table. News Cafe 2276 Thabo Mbeki Rd Lusaka

In the mood for...A Light Lunch: MINT LOUNGE

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"Health nuts, this one's for you. Known for using organic local produce, Mint Lounge is a popular spot in the Arcades shopping mall. It helps that it's beautiful too, tastefully decorated in greens, whites and turquoise. Their Malawi shandy is top notch, as is their prawn risotto and their brilliant but elusive red velvet cupcakes which sell out fast. You'll also have to get in there quick to ensure getting a seat at weekends so it's worth making a reservation. It'll be worth it though as this is also a good spot to run into local celebs- I've met both Pompi and former Chipolopolo (Zambia’s National Soccer Team) coach Herve Renard here. If you’re there for dinner and feel the need to party, turn the corner and you’ll find yourself at News Café."  

Top tip: be prepared to wait a while for your meal so a little snack beforehand won't go amiss. Mint Lounge, Acacia Park, Arcades. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm/Sat-Sun:9am -11pm

In the mood for....A Cheeky Midweek Cocktail: PORTICO 

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"An Italian restaurant located in the showgrounds where the annual Agricultural and Commercial show is held, Portico is the perfect mid week after-work spot. Unwind with the best cocktails in Lusaka while you watch the occasional polo match sometimes held at the nearby Polo Grill, or enjoy the live band that plays on weekends and select Wednesdays."   

Plot 2374 Nangwenya Road, Lusaka Showgrounds. (A short walk/drive from Polo Grill) +260 211 250111, Closed Mondays. 

In the mood for...A Daycation: LILAYI LODGE 

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"Escape the bustle of Lusaka without venturing out of the city in the sanctuary of Lilayi Lodge. Recently tastefully renovated, Lilayi is just a thirty minute drive away from the city. There an exciting list of activities awaits including game drives, bush walks and horseback safaris where you can expect to see zebra, antelope, giraffe and wilderbeest. A visit to Lilayi would not be complete without a stop at the elephant nursery - the onsite orphanage for elephant calves. After you've expended all that energy, refuel in the Lilayi restaurant which serves up what it describes as "a marriage of African fusion and contemporary cuisine" using game from their farm and vegetables from their garden. How’s that for a daycation?"

Lilayi Lodge Follow the Kafue Road for 15kms. Turn left at the Lilayi sign onto Lilayi Road and continue for 5kms until a T-junction is reached. Follow the signs to the game reserve entrance. Lilayi lays 5km from the entrance. +260 211840435/6, 

In the mood for...Geek Chic: BONGO HIVE

"From the outside you could easily mistake Bongo Hive for just any another house in it's residential neighbourhood, but don't overlook what is actually Lusaka's first tech hub. Home to tech lovers and creatives alike, Bongo Hive is where likeminds come to work together on innovative technology that could leapfrog development in Zambia. There’s always something going here be it a film screening, unveiling of a new app, an industry event, swap shop or talks by inspiring people such as Zambian entrepreneur Monica Musonda, so it's worth checking out their facebook page to see what's going on. There’s also cool art on the walls by a local Zambian artist and if you’re in the mood for some history, a few minutes walk from Bongo Hive is a national heritage site which once housed the village of the headman Lusaka and the Soli tribe who are the original inhabitants of the capital city."

Bongo Hive 25 Mpulungu Road, Olympia

In the mood for...Family Fun: SUGAR BUSH FARM

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"Sugar Bush is one of those magical places that everyone raves about but actually manages to live up to its hype. Just on the outskirts of Lusaka, this farm hosts The Design House- a thatched Cape Dutch barn that doubles as a store for locally made leather handbags, belts and more by Jackal and Hide brand, as well as a café where you can have brunch. They also host the Sugar Bush Fair a few weeks before Christmas where you can purchase art, souvenirs and cool things to spruce up your living space. I’d also recommend Sugar Bush for families with little ones as there’s a playground on the premises. Or if you’re young at heart, you can give the tyre swing a go. Before you leave, be sure to pick up some organic strawberries for dessert!"        

The Design House Café open Tuesday-Saturday from 08:30 – 17:00 hours and on Sundays from 09:00 to 16:00 hours. The café is closed on Mondays.To find The Design House café, take the Leopards Hill road from Crossroads, Kabulonga. Go past Pilatus and the American International School, and through the neighbourhood watch boom. Sugarbush Farm is clearly marked on the right at the top of the next hill.

Author: Mazuba Kapambwe is Co-Host of @TheFestGurus, Afro-Entertainment Guru for @RadioAFRO, a @LskGlobalShaper and term coiner of #zedcreatives. Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog

Know better spots in Lusaka? Let us all know in the comments below!