Lusaka, Zambia Geography

Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, is situated in the southern part of the country, in a region of gentle hills and plateaus. The geography of Lusaka is characterized by its central location within Zambia, its elevation, and the influence of the Kafue River and several smaller rivers. In this comprehensive exploration of Lusaka’s geography, we will delve into its natural features, the role of the Kafue River, the city’s topography, and the nearby mountains.

Location and Overview:

According to, Lusaka is located at approximately 15.3875 degrees south latitude and 28.3228 degrees east longitude. It serves as the economic, political, and cultural center of Zambia, making it a pivotal city in the region. The city is strategically located within the southern African region and plays a key role in the country’s development and commerce.

Lusaka Plateau:

The Lusaka Plateau is a significant geographical feature that defines the city’s topography and has a profound influence on its climate:

  1. Elevation: Lusaka is situated on the Lusaka Plateau, which has an elevation of approximately 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) above sea level. The city’s elevated position contributes to its moderate and pleasant climate, making it a preferred location for habitation and government activities.
  2. Climate Influence: The plateau’s elevation results in more moderate temperatures compared to the lower-lying regions of Zambia. It offers relief from the extreme heat experienced in other parts of the country, making it a desirable place for residents.
  3. Agriculture: The fertile soil of the plateau supports agriculture, with the cultivation of crops such as maize, vegetables, and flowers being common. This agricultural activity contributes to the city’s food supply and local economy.
  4. Urban Development: The flat and elevated terrain of the plateau is suitable for urban development, allowing the city to expand while taking advantage of the region’s geography.

Kafue River:

The Kafue River is one of the most prominent geographical features in the vicinity of Lusaka:

  1. River Source: The Kafue River originates from the Kafue Marshes in the north-western part of Zambia. It flows southward and eventually joins the Zambezi River, which plays a crucial role in the region’s hydrology.
  2. Water Source: The Kafue River serves as a significant water source for Lusaka and the surrounding region. It provides freshwater for drinking, agriculture, and industrial use.
  3. Biodiversity: The river and its surrounding wetlands are known for their biodiversity, with various plant and animal species supported by the watercourse.
  4. Recreational Opportunities: The Kafue River offers recreational opportunities for residents and tourists, including activities like boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing.


Lusaka’s topography is characterized by its location on the Lusaka Plateau, the presence of hills and valleys, and the relatively flat terrain:

  1. Elevated Plateau: The city is situated on a plateau, which offers a relatively flat and habitable surface, ideal for urban development and infrastructure.
  2. Gentle Hills: While the plateau is generally flat, there are areas in and around Lusaka that feature gentle hills and valleys. These topographical features provide scenic beauty and contribute to the city’s landscape.
  3. Valleys and Gorges: The terrain around Lusaka includes valleys and gorges formed by rivers and streams. Some of these natural features are incorporated into the city’s layout, with roads and bridges connecting different parts of the city.

Climate and Weather:

Lusaka experiences a subtropical highland climate, characterized by distinct seasons and moderate temperature variations:

  1. Summers: Summers in Lusaka, from October to April, are warm and wet. The city experiences average high temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). The rainy season from November to March brings most of the city’s annual rainfall.
  2. Winters: Winters, from May to September, are cooler and drier, with average high temperatures ranging from 18°C to 24°C (64°F to 75°F). July is the coldest month.
  3. Rainfall: The rainy season in Lusaka is characterized by heavy and frequent rainfall, with occasional thunderstorms. The dry season is marked by lower precipitation and more stable weather.
  4. Climate Comfort: Lusaka’s elevation on the plateau provides a comfortable and moderate climate. It is known for its pleasant weather throughout the year.

Urban Development and Infrastructure:

Lusaka’s geography has significantly influenced its urban development and infrastructure:

  1. Flat Terrain: The relatively flat terrain of the Lusaka Plateau has facilitated urban expansion and the development of infrastructure, making it easier to build and maintain roads, buildings, and utilities.
  2. Agriculture: The fertile soil of the plateau supports agriculture in the city’s outskirts, contributing to the local food supply and the economy.
  3. Water Management: The Kafue River and its tributaries are essential for the city’s water supply, and efforts to manage and conserve this resource are crucial for sustainable development.
  4. Recreation: Lusaka has parks, green spaces, and recreational areas that make use of the city’s natural beauty and provide residents with opportunities for leisure and outdoor activities.
  5. Transportation: The city’s transportation infrastructure, including roads and bridges, has been developed to connect different parts of the city, taking into account the surrounding topography.

In summary, Lusaka’s geography is defined by its location on the Lusaka Plateau, its elevation, and the influence of the Kafue River. The plateau’s elevation and climate provide a more moderate and pleasant environment than other parts of Zambia. Agriculture, supported by the fertile soil, contributes to the city’s food supply and economy. The Kafue River serves as a vital water source and offers recreational opportunities. The city’s flat terrain and gentle hills facilitate urban development and infrastructure, including transportation and water management. Lusaka’s climate features distinct seasons with warm, wet summers and cooler, drier winters. Urban development takes advantage of the city’s geography, emphasizing green spaces, agriculture, and water resource management.