I recently took a trip to Lusaka. There was no way I could drive on the Zimba road as it is. Can you imagine what it is going to be like after the rainy season? Maybe we will be completely cut off? Anyhow, I took a flight and hired a car in Lusaka. The cost of the flight was US$313, and the cost of the car was US$250 for two days. The flight left Livingstone at 6:30 am, arrived in Lusaka at 7:30 am; I picked up the car immediately from the airport and was in town for business by about 8:30 am. I had two full days in Lusaka, leaving there the following day at 5:00 pm.
Had I driven it would have cost about US$300 for fuel for the car; add to that, wear and tear on the vehicle (and the stress); I would have spent two days travelling. As it was, I arrived in Lusaka early and stress-free and left there in the same way. And saved two days driving.
I flew to Lusaka on Zambian Airways and hired the car from Voyagers. Both companies have offices at Livingstone airport so it was easy to organise. The cost of a flight varies according to when you fly and how early you book – the earlier you book, the cheaper the flight.
The reason for going to Lusaka was many-fold. Firstly I had to visit the Registrar of Companies to submit Annual Returns. Every year one is supposed to submit these pieces of paper to keep a company legal. For years I have been sending up “runners” to do it for me, with varying degrees of success. Anyhow, this time I thought I would have to do it myself to make sure that everything was in order.
What a performance. The offices of the Registrar of Companies have been “modernised.” All the information have been put on computer. Last year, my returns had been refused because they were incorrect. They were incorrect for various reasons. One of them is because I was listed as a Zambian. Whoever had input the data had got it wrong. So this time I wanted to get it right. It took me about two hours to prove to the officers that their data had been incorrectly typed into the computer files and that I was, in fact, a Brit. I went through the paperwork for several companies, all of which had glitches. Finally, I was told to go and pay.
I went to the Cash Office, which is now cocooned in an office called “Customer Service.” There was absolutely no customer service. The office was piled with people all in different queues, instructions all over the wall, but no one to tell you what was going on. Eventually when I read that I had to report to the Central Counter first, I waited in line to meet a young man who told me to join another queue. “That one there,” he said. “Why?” I asked, but he refused to tell me. The queue squirmed its way all around the wall, and everyone in it looked extremely hostile. I left.
The good news is that the Registrar of Companies is opening an office in Livingstone. It will be housed in the Zambia National Tourist Board office by the museum. So, although I left the Lusaka office rather rashly, I know that I can pay my dues in Livingstone within the coming weeks.
I did have lots of other government offices I visited. Some good, some bad. It is just a shame that Zambia can’t run without trips to Lusaka. Our lives would be so much more pleasant. Having said that, I found that driving around Lusaka isn’t as bad as it used to be and drivers are much more courteous.
Zambian Visa Fees Reduced
Multiple Entry=$160.00 (Only granted at HQ)