FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Planning a trip and needing a bit of advice?  Hopefully the below will give you the assistance you need …..

What is the difference between the Backpackers and the Camp?

Location

Jollyboys Camp is 1.2 kilometers from the main Mosi-oa-Tunya road, behind the Livingstone Golf Course, in a quiet residential street, near the suburb of Linda.  The closest supermarket and stores are a quick 7 to 10-minute walk away.  The main road is a 10 to 15-minute walk away.

Jollyboys Backpackers is parallel to the main road, in the middle of town, set behind the Livingstone museum.  The closest supermarket and stores on the main road are a 5-minute walk away.

Guests

Jollyboys Backpackers tends to cater more for individual travelers, wanting a more social environment.  The bar and restaurant are open to the public and we often host events such as pub quizzes, fun games, the occasional party for special events.

Jollyboys Camp is more tranquil and a great space for groups, families or travelers wanting a more relaxed atmosphere.  The bar is not open to outside guests and events are tailored to guests that are in-house. Jollyboys Camp also has much more expansive lawns for camping and can cater to about 40 tents; whereas Jollyboys Backpackers accepts camping on a walk-in basis only and there is only space for about 6 tents.

Facilities & Amenities

We aim to ensure the facilities and services at both Jollyboys Backpackers & Jollyboys Camp are very similar – both offer a fabulous swimming pool, free daily shuttle to Victoria Falls; a free pick up from Livingstone Airport, and a great travel office.  One main difference with room types would be:

Jollyboys Backpackers – all ensuite rooms and dorms have air-conditioning; all other rooms have fans.

Jollyboys Camp – all rooms have either ceiling fans or stand-up fans.

Restaurant

Jollyboys Camp has a breakfast and lunch snack bar from 6:30am-14:00, and a weekly extended Sunday Brunch menu.  Group meals are available to pre-order, vegan and vegetarian as well as a budget or standard option.  The area has several restaurants nearby as well as meal delivery options.

Jollyboys Backpackers has an a-la-carte menu from 06:30 till 21:00, as well as several daily specials (vegan and vegetarian options always available).  We recommend pre ordering group meals.

Wellness Spa

Jollyboys Backpackers has a beauty spa on-site offering a range of treatments such as waxing, manicures/pedicures and massages.  Appointments for the spa treatments can be made for guests staying at the Camp.

What visa should I get?

It is always recommended that you confirm visa requirements directly with the country you wish to visit, usually via their government website as regulations do tend to change without notice.

Saying that, we are very happy to assist with up to date information – please get in touch with us if you have any questions whatsoever.  Please remember that due to our vicinity to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, it may be best to get a visa which allows for multiple crossings.

Do I need travel insurance?

YES!  Please ensure your travel insurance covers medical treatments and emergency cover.  Local doctor surgeries and hospitals offer consultations and treatments for a fee, the fees vary from nominal $20 to $2000+ for certain treatments.

Do I need anti-malaria tablets?

We always recommend visiting a tropical health or travelers’ clinic before arriving; you may need the normal travel vaccinations.  The chemists and pharmacies in Livingstone are accustomed to regular traveler illnesses, they can assist in many areas.

After several successful years of targeted mosquito spraying programs by the Government, Livingstone has been down-graded from a ‘High risk’ to a ‘Low-risk’ malaria area.  Outside of Livingstone, malaria is still common in certain areas.

Should you experience flu-like symptoms or a sever headache and neck pain after visiting a malaria area, immediately see a doctor for a malaria test; most clinics in Zambia offer quick and easy malaria tests that cost very little, however outside of Africa you should visit a tropical diseases hospital / travel clinic and not a General Practioner (GP).

What is the difference between Livingstone Airport (Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport) and Victoria Falls Airport?

The Livingstone Airport is in Zambia, roughly 7 kilometers (10 to 15 minutes) from the main town, whereas the Victoria Falls Airport is in Zimbabwe (so you will need a visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia) and is roughly 40 kilometers from Livingstone main town (up to 1-hour travel time).

Do I need a guided tour to see the Victoria Falls?

The walking routes around Victoria Falls (both on the Zimbabwean side and the Zambian side) are clearly marked paths, and we offer all our guests free maps for Vic Falls as well as the town.  There are some paths that require a steep climb and can be slippery when the spray is at its fullest or rainy weather.

When is the best time of year to travel?

April / May: The vegetation should still be green and lush after the rainy season, however the rains should have stopped by now.  The landscape this time of year makes for great photography; contrasting dirt / sand roads with the deep green bush and bright blue skies, all of which makes many animals spotted on safari stand out brilliantly; zebras, giraffe, lions, ostriches etc.

June/July/August: This is generally the busiest time of year in the Livingstone area.  It is also the dry, winter months making for excellent game viewing.  If you can, ideally avoid July as this is very busy – late into August will have the start of multi day rafting.

September / October / November: These are HOT and dry months!  If you are wanting to feel the warmth of the African sun, this is the time.  The Jollyboys swimming pool will be your haven and ice-cold beers will be your best friend.  The vegetation will be much drier and less dense; this does assist with game viewing in thinner bush and also makes entertaining river Safaris at Chobe National Park, with animals staying closer to water during the heat of the day.

December / January / February: These months are typically the rainy season; warm, humid and brilliant African storms!  The dry and parched vegetation springs to life, the rains revive everything in the bush after the long dry summer.  Ordinarily the days are semi-humid and hot, until the pressure builds up late afternoon and a tremendous storm breaks to clear the air, these are usually pretty short-lived storms.

How much should my Livingstone budget be?

There is a LOT of fun to be had in Livingstone; adrenalin activities, safaris, gastronomic experiences and once-in-a-life-time opportunities.  Contact enquiries@backpackzambia.com in order for us to help you plan your trip.  Make sure you have enough time in Livingstone to make the most of what it has to offer!

Groceries can be expensive in Zambia as most things are imported and the fuel costs are high for transportation.  Soft drinks and other staple items are often in short supply in Zambia and costs can be close to Western prices with frequent fluctuations.

We try to keep our restaurant and bar prices as budget as possible for our guests; drinks ranging from $1 to $3 and food ranging $2 to $10.  Everything is made from scratch and from local producers as much as possible.

Is Zambia safe?

YES!  Zambia in in category 1 (of 1 to 4) as one of the safest places to travel by the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, in 2018.  Zambians are mostly very conservative, polite and extremely friendly, however please ask before you take photos of people as many do not like to be photographed.

As with any travel or backpacking in the world, don’t bring anything that is irreplaceable, or sentimental, as things do get lost and broken on the road.

Global Peace Index 2018: Rank – Country – Score

1 – Iceland – 1.096
23 – Netherlands – 1.574
29 – Botswana – 1.659
43 – Namibia – 1.806
44 – Malawi – 1.811
48 – Zambia – 1.822
57 – United Kingdom – 1.876
121 – USA – 2.3
124 – Zimbabwe – 2.326
125 – South Africa – 2.328

Stop Eating Boring Camping Food!

The days of hot dogs and cold canned chili are long gone. Just because you’re spending time camping, or eating in a self-catering kitchen doesn’t mean your food has to be bland and boring. Making use of online recipes, common sense planning, and better and cheaper camping cookware mean it’s much easier than it used to be for you to have a satisfying meal at the end of a long day exploring Livingstone or during an overnight safari. Any good adventure should include hot and delicious meals.

Pack Smarter

One of the best ways to eat well while out travelling is to plan a little ahead. Taking small steps like packing premade spice mixes, researching easy, creative recipes before you go, and sticking to self contained meals (think one pot) can keep you from eating a banana for dinner, or from spending half the night cleaning up after a failed experiment. A small nalgene pre-filled with salt and pepper and garlic salt can instantly brighten an dish, and keeps you from the hassle of keeping spices in separate baggies, where they’re easy to lose or spill. Try packing energy dense foods like nuts and berries for snacking to keep yourself energized throughout a busy day. Taking little steps like this can keep you focused and having fun during, say, an amazing raft trip.

Bring the Luxury to You

There’s a whole range of new products out there that making cooking on the go easier, faster, and more delicious, so you can spend more time looking for wildlife, and less fidgeting with a finicky stove. One-pot quick boiling stoves, for example, are easy to use and make it easy to whip up some soup packets or easy pasta. New improvements in cookware materials and designs make it easy to choose a set for your trip that won’t leave you feeling like you’ve carried the whole kitchen with you on safari. Lightweight and foldable pour-over coffee makers, or french press conversion accessories mean that it’s easier than ever to drink quality coffee, even when the nearest Starbucks is miles away. Just make sure your water is safe to drink and that you’re treating it if it isn’t.

Ask Around for Flavor

When you’re out buying food before a safari, adventure, or night at the camp, it can help to look at what locals are buying, and to ask what some of the best foods right now are. Obviously some common sense is needed – you wouldn’t want to take wet squishy fruit on a rough road trip – but taking a cue from those who live in Zambia can introduce you to some new foods, and also point to the foods that are in season and have the most flavor.

Camping made YUMMY!

Article written by Jennifer Drake

Responsible Tourism: environmental outreach in Malota

Malota, like many communities in Africa, have no formal waste management systems. Generally; Council (Municipal) waste collection is accessible to those who pay council rates and not those living in informal settlements or those too impoverished to afford the luxury.

Waste management in this context is mostly dumping and burning; people have to live in the direct vicinity of large areas of burning waste, which has many negative health consequences.  Not to mention toxic air, ground and water pollution. The situation is now affecting wildlife with elephant dung being found full of plastic bags whilst I personally witnessed elephants eating plastic bags from a small dumpsite.

Rubbish burning at a dump site.
Pollution affecting elephants.

Zigzag is a local artist who is as passionate about environmental awareness and protection as we are. Several years ago, Zigzag installed a wire elephant on the front lawn of the Livingstone Council, to highlight the lack of environmental awareness of pollution as well as the plight of thousands who are forced to live in it. In collaboration with Jollyboys, Zigzag took a group staying with us to Malota township to reach out to the residents and help the message about waste management gain more momentum.

Getting involved.
Spreading the (enviro) love ….

Jollyboys and Zigzag aim to establish and maintain a regular line of cooperation and communications with Malota (and hopefully other townships). Before the end of the year we aim to return to Malota with Norwegian artists and Zigzag and put on a mini concert to put some fun into a pretty grim subject.

Making something out of nothing.
As we say at Jollyboys …. BE PART OF IT!!

October: hot … hot … HOT

Today is Zambia’s Independence Day, and it is said that “it always rains on Independence Day‘. We shall see, Livingstone has been sweltering the past few weeks. S-W-E-L-T-E-R-I-N-G

The rapid decline of so-called ‘winter’ in late August, the short ‘spring’ in September has rapidly steam-rolled into full-blown summer.

October is here, and so is the heat. Be prepared: hat, lots of water, sun screen.

Accuweather.com has a conservative temperature graph but doesn’t reflect the true temperature on the ground with thermometers hitting 40c several times the past couple of weeks.

As the heat rises, so does the pressure build; we are all looking to the skies and waiting for the November rains. Until then we all cower in the shade and venture out on foot, only when absolutely necessary during the day.

Schedule physically active trips or tours for as early in the day as possible and water. Water .. water .. water (until beer’o’clock obviously). Then hit the Jollyboys for a cooling swim in our pristine and refreshing pool!

Roll on November, We’ll keep you posted ….

Lunar eclipse and live music: a special night in Livingstone

Today we bid farewell to our visiting band “Tribal Men”, who gave our guests a musical treat over the past long weekend in Livingstone.

The band from South Africa organically collaborated with our local resident artists and musicians, “Yes Rasta”. The meeting of like-minded spirits resulted in a magical few evenings of super-relaxed musical flow, for local residents and guests alike.

Monday the 7th of August we celebrated Farmers Day with a superb sundowner and evening session; Yes Rasta and Tribal Men signing to the Earth’s shadow partially eclipsing a full moon. With minds and souls satisfied, we polished it all off with ‘Beer and Burger’ specials: Zambian Mosi and Zambian beef patties … patriotic and delicious!

Yes Rasta are resident artists pretty much, being creative – in one way or another – and introducing home grown art to our guests. Hopefully our paths will cross with Tribal Men as well … and we can sing to the moon once more.

Thank you Tony Barnett Productions for the Full moon eclipse image.

A visit to ‘The Elephant Café’

On a lovely Tuesday in February, Stella, one of our receptionist, and I went to enjoy an amazing lunch at Elephant café. What a treat this was and let me tell you why….

At around 10 am in the morning we were picked up and dropped at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge where the speedboat was waiting for us. Very lucky, we got to sit in the front and together with 6 others, off we went for a short river safari on the beautiful Zambezi River. We found a large pod of hippos relaxing and spotted some waterbuck on one of the many islands.


From the river we could see the elephants waiting for us. It is easy to forget how big elephants actually are, until you stand next to them!

We met little Muyuni first, Muyuni is a 3 year old bull born on the 29th of December 2013. He was very calm and enjoyed the bag of pellets, pushing his trunk down hard into the bag to eat them quickly. Three and already incredibly strong.


It was time to meet Mashumbi, Muyuni’s mother, the matriarch of the herd. Like her son she was very kind and seemed to enjoy the photography. Many selfies later, we saved the biggest one for last. Danny the dominant bull of the herd, his tusks are mighty impressive and his trunk was very eager for more and more pellets.

It was time to step back and watch the rest of the herd come out and pose for photos. It was wonderful to see them calmly room around the grass and wander off to the river for a drink and before we knew it lunch was ready.

Welcomed with a glass of bubbles, we were seated at our table with a view of the Zambezi river and presented with the menu. The menu is incredibly inspiring and quickly makes your mouth water with anticipation. Annabel Hughes, the chef welcomed us and explained the menu. They use only locally sourced ingredients, this mixed with traditional foods, such as Mongogo nuts, will make your tastebuds very happy!(Mongogo nuts come from trees which grow locally in the Livingstone area.) After relaxing with a cup of coffee served with a delicious bush biscotti, it was time to board the boat. With big smiles as the wind was blowing through our hair, we made our way back.



The combination of meeting elephants, absolutely delicious food and amazing service made it an experience we will both never forget.

A big thank you to Jollyboys Backpackers and Camp, Safari Par Excellence, the elephants, the chefs, all staff and Annabel Hughes for a delightful day!