The trip from Livingstone to Lusaka is on a standard route as indicated on any map or GPS.
The distance travelled from Maramba to Pioneer was about 490km.
Time taken 8hrs, some of it through the slowish traffic and many traffic circles of Lusaka, which in fact work quite well. At one of them a large articulated truck nearly took us out as the trailer shut us out around such a circle whilst cutting in on us from the outside lane. Only a heavy foot on the brake and an even heavier hand on the hooter saved a nasty situation. I am sure it won’t be the last.
Road conditions. Initially the T1 from Livingstone is excellent. The A1 and then the T2 to Lusaka (from Chirundu) is reached after about 410km and our journey was now palpably gaining momentum as we were on the true Great North Road. We were passing through Lusaka after about 7hrs on the road. The T4A GPS program was fantastic in guiding us through Lusaka and never skipped a beat. Without it we would have been completely lost as there are no meaningful signposts.
Exiting out of Lusaka on the Great East Road, past the very busy Manda Hill Shopping Center, you will eventually see the sign to Pioneer Camp to the right, soon after the Great East Road narrows to 2 lanes. Then it is about 5km down a shocking dirt road, signposted, but bad enough for you to suspect that you are lost. After checking in at Pioneer it was off to the Twin Palms Shopping Center and the Shoprite outlet there for final supplies. The butchery was particularly good. There are clear signs for the shopping center from the Great East Road as you head back into Lusaka. Probably 4km away in all through not very congested roads.
Pioneer Camp was visited by me about 20 years ago and remains a very popular and well run destination in Lusaka. The other popular place for self-drivers is Eureka Campsite which is on the southern outskirts of Lusaka on the road from Kafue town which you will also pass. However whatever the merits of either camp, Pioneer has the huge advantage of being very convenient if you are proceeding to South Luangwa National Park or in fact to Malawi. Pioneer lies through the busy and somewhat chaotic city of Lusaka on the Great East Road or T4. This will save you the problem of trying to get through Lusaka in the early morning gridlocked traffic. This 490km trek took us 8 hours and was good to have behind us!
I like Pioneer Camp a lot. It is still situated down the terrible dirt road on the eastern outskirts of Lusaka off the Great Eastern Road. It does not have formally marked out campsites but plenty of shade and level areas. Likewise there are no formal fire pits or water points at each camp but there is a very nice fairly new ablution block with 4 separate toilets with washbasins and also 4 flush loos, all very neat and tidy with electric geezers. There are some lights scattered around the campsite but no electrical points. The water is from a borehole and is beautiful. We topped up our vehicle water tank. Wood is provided.
The owner of about 8 years a Brit by the name of Paul is very friendly and helpful. Paul has a good knowledge of the Zambian wildlife destinations. As well as camping they have various forms of chalets. Campers are welcome in the bar and restaurant as well as to use the swimming pool.
COSTS of camping US$10 pppn.
We both had 300g rump steaks with chips and veg at about US$13 and the food was good. The menu is kept fairly simple but others also enjoyed their meals. There was only 1 other couple in the campsite which could take about 4-6 groups. Security is good.