These hostels are a backpacker’s paradise. Dormitory style, with shared ablution facilities, they provide excellent cheap accommodation in Zambia. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, and private rooms may also be available.
This type of accommodation sometimes has cooking facilities (barbecue style is popular in Zambia) or they may serve fast foods such as burgers and chips.
A backpacker hostel is a great place to stay if you are in a group or if you want to make friends while you travel. They provide value for money and tend to be well located. What is more, they are unique and authentic, something that is representative of Zambia and the city visited, something to put on social media!
A hostel (or backpacker) establishment is aimed at the budget traveller and generally attracts a younger clientele. As mentioned above, bedrooms are in a dormitory-style (shared) and bathrooms are shared too, although private bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms may be available.
When you book yourself into a dorm room, you book yourself into one bed of that dorm room, while the rest of the beds will be occupied by other backpackers. People in dorms have a place to plug in all of their gadgets, and their own light. Light meals may be available in addition to the room rate.
Dorm rooms usually range from 4 to 10 beds either as bunk beds or single beds in one room. Beds almost always come with linen and bedding. They may also have a no sleeping bag policy. However, the odd hostel around the country will offer beds at a cheaper price with no linen, or linen will be available to hire.
While most hostels have mixed rooms, meaning dorm rooms for males and females, some hostels offer separate female-only dorms and male-only dorms.
Hostel staff will be happy to offer recommendations for sightseeing or other fun things to do in the locality.
Facilities in a dorm room
Most dorm rooms only consist of beds with linen and no other facilities. However, they may include an ensuite shower room and toilet, lockers, luggage storage, a rubbish bin, and/or a table and chairs.
Most backpacker hostels in Zambia provide a communal kitchen, which is popular with hostel guests. Cooking for yourself in hostels is one of the best ways to save money while on the road.
Backpacker hostels always have somewhere to hang out. They will often have a lounge area with sofas, tables, board games and more. They may also have outside communal areas too. Communal lounges vary, some providing the basics while others go all out to keep backpackers entertained. Most have internet access, and some have an internet cafe set up.
Hostels usually have a laundry facility, which may include washing machines and tumble driers. However, in the Zambian climate, even unspun clothes quickly dry if hung on a washing line outside.
If it’s your first time hostelling, it will probably pay off to book ahead; so you know where you’re staying. Making reservations online is now one of the easiest ways to plan ahead when travelling, and many hostels now offer guests this option. But most hostels will also take walk-in guests.