ZAMBIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Zambia, in southern Africa, is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, with many parks and safari areas. On its border with Zimbabwe is famed Victoria Falls – indigenously called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or "Smoke That Thunders” – plunging a misty 108m into narrow Batoka Gorge. Spanning the Zambezi River just below the falls is Victoria Falls Bridge, a spectacular viewpoint.
The country has retained its virgin, untamed wilderness that throbs with wildlife and exotic birds. The scenery is breathtaking and the road network just ideal for a discovery drive around the country.
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ZAMBIA QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Lusaka
- Currency: Zambian Kwacha (ZMW)
- Area: 752,614 km²
- Population: 17,35 million (2018)
- Language: English (official), Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages
- Religion:Christian (50%-75%), Muslim and Hindu (24%-49%), indigenous beliefs (1%)
- Electricity: 230V/50Hz, Plug type C/D/G
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ZAMBIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 2nd Monday in March, Youth Day
- 1 May, Labor Day
- 25 May, Africa Day
- 1st Monday in July, Heroes’ Day
- 1st Tuesday in July, Unity Day
- 1st Monday in August, Farmers’ Day
- 24 October, Independence Day
Also, Good Friday through Easter Monday.
FESTIVALS IN ZAMBIA
BEST TIME TO VISIT ZAMBIA
Zambia has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The rainy season, also known as the "long rains," typically runs from November to April. During this time, the country experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity. The dry season, also known as the "short rains," runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny with very little rainfall. This is considered the best time to visit Zambia as it is perfect for outdoor activities such as safari tours and wildlife viewing.
ZAMBIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Zambia's location near the equator gives the country its tropical climate. The annual rainfall in Zambia averages between 700 mm in the south and 1,400 mm in the north. The hot months are very dry, receiving almost no rainfall between May and August. The wet season (September-April) rainfall is controlled by the passage of the tropical rain belt (also known as the Inter‐Tropical Conversion Zone, ITCZ) which oscillates between the northern and southern tropics over the course of a year, bringing rain between October and April of 150‐300 mm per month. Variations in the movements of the ITCZ can cause large variations in the rainfall received from one year to the next. Rainfall in Zambia is also strongly influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which causes further inter‐annual variability. El Niño conditions (warm phase) bring drier than average conditions in the wet summer months (December-February) in the southern half of the country, whilst the north of the country simultaneously experiences significantly wetter‐than average conditions. The reverse pattern occurs with La Niña (cold phase) episodes, with dry conditions in the north and wet conditions in the south.
ZAMBIA TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN ZAMBIA
HIKING & CYCLING IN ZAMBIA
The best time for outdoor activities and game viewing in Zambia is during the dry season, from May to November.
BEACH OPTIONS IN ZAMBIA
SURFING IN ZAMBIA
River surfing is growing in popularity worldwide and one of the world’s most dangerous river wave lies somewhere along the mighty Zambezi River in Zambia.
KITESURF IN ZAMBIA
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN ZAMBIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
ZAMBIA TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Zambia can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the time of year, the type of accommodations you choose, and the activities you plan to do.
Here are some estimates for different aspects of travel in Zambia:
- Airfare: Round-trip airfare to Zambia can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,500 or more, depending on your departure city and the time of year you travel.
- Accommodations: Prices for accommodations in Zambia can range from around $10 to $50 per night for budget-friendly options such as camping and hostels, to several hundred dollars per night for luxury lodges and hotels.
- Food: You can find local food in Zambia for around $3 to $5 per meal.
- Transportation: The cost of transportation in Zambia can vary depending on the mode of transport you choose and the distance you travel. For example, a bus ride from Lusaka to Livingstone can cost around $15, while a private car and driver can cost around $100 per day.
- Activities: The cost of activities such as safari tours, wildlife viewing, and visits to Victoria Falls can vary widely, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 or more per activity.
Overall, you should budget around $50 to $100 per day for budget travel, and $150 to $300 for more comfortable travel.
Please keep in mind that these are estimates and costs can vary greatly depending on your choices and needs.
Here is a sample budget for a one-week trip to Zambia:
- Airfare: $800 (round-trip from the US)
- Accommodations: $300 ($50 per night for a budget-friendly guesthouse)
- Food: $150 ($10 to $15 per meal)
- Transportation: $50 (bus rides, taxis)
- Activities: $300 (safari tour, visit to Victoria Falls, cultural activities)
- Other expenses: $50 (souvenirs, miscellaneous expenses)
Please note that this is a sample budget and costs can vary greatly depending on your individual choices and needs. Also, these prices might change due to inflation or other factors.
It's also important to note that this budget does not include international travel insurance, visa fees and vaccinations, which are necessary for the trip.
ZAMBIA TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for Zambia:
- Bring a valid passport and make sure it has at least six months of validity remaining beyond your travel dates.
- Check visa requirements for your country and obtain any necessary visas well in advance of your trip.
- Make sure you have up-to-date vaccinations and consider getting travel insurance.
- Bring appropriate clothing and gear for the season and activities you plan to do.
- Bring a reusable water bottle and stay hydrated.
- Learn a few basic phrases in the local language (Bemba, Tonga, Nyanja) it can be helpful when communicating with locals.
- Be respectful of local customs and traditions.
- Be mindful of your surroundings when traveling, and take precautions to protect yourself from theft and crime.
- Bring cash, as credit card acceptance is limited in Zambia, although it's becoming more common in bigger cities and tourist areas.
- While in Zambia, be sure to visit the Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonder of the world. Also, consider taking a safari tour to see the diverse wildlife in the country.
- If you are planning to visit national parks or other protected areas, be sure to check with the relevant authorities in advance to ensure that you have the necessary permits and permissions.
- Be aware of the safety and health concerns, such as Malaria and yellow fever and take necessary precautions.
By following these tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Zambia.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF ZAMBIA
Zambia is divided into ten provinces, each with its own unique culture, history, and attractions. Here is an overview of some of the main regions of Zambia and their highlights:
- Lusaka: Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. The city is known for its bustling markets, museums, and cultural attractions, such as the National Museum and the Freedom Statue.
- Copperbelt: The Copperbelt is the heart of Zambia's mining industry, and is home to the towns of Kitwe and Ndola. This region is known for its history of mining and its industrial heritage.
- Northern Province: The Northern Province is known for its wilderness areas, including the Liuwa Plain National Park, the Kafue National Park, and the Lochinvar National Park. These parks are known for their diverse wildlife, including lions, elephants, and cheetahs.
- Muchinga Province: The Muchinga Province is known for its mountainous terrain and beautiful scenery. The province is home to the Muchinga Escarpment, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. It also home to the South Luangwa National Park, one of the most popular game parks in Africa, known for its high concentration of leopards.
- Luapula Province: The Luapula Province is known for its beautiful lakes and waterfalls, including the Mambilima Falls and the Kapampa Hot Springs. It's also known for its rich culture and traditional dances.
- Western Province: The Western Province is known for its rugged terrain and beautiful wilderness areas, including the Bangweulu Wetlands and the Busanga Plains. It's also known for the beautiful Lake Mweru Wantipa, which is a great spot for fishing and boating.
- Eastern Province: The Eastern Province is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, and leopards. It's also home to the Nyika National Park, a beautiful wilderness area with rolling hills and grasslands.
- Central Province: The Central Province is known for its beautiful lakes and rivers, including the Kafue River and the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam. It's also home to the Chongwe River Camp, a popular spot for wildlife viewing and bird watching.
- Southern Province: The Southern Province is known for its beautiful wilderness areas, including the Lower Zambezi National Park and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. It's also home to the Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, which is a must-see attraction in Zambia.
- North-Western Province: The North-Western Province is known for its beautiful wilderness areas, including the Liuwa Plain National Park, the Kafue National Park, and the Lochinvar National Park, which are home to diverse wildlife and beautiful scenery.
These are just some of the highlights of the different regions of Zambia, and there is much more to explore and discover in this beautiful country.
Zambia is a country with a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, wildlife, culture, and history. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Zambia:
- Visit Victoria Falls: Known as one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls is a must-see attraction in Zambia. The falls are located on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border and offer spectacular views of the water cascading down a sheer cliff. Visitors can take a boat ride to Livingstone Island for a close-up view of the falls, or take a helicopter or microlight flight for a bird's-eye view.
- Go on a safari: Zambia is home to many national parks and game reserves that offer a chance to see a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Some popular safari destinations include South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, and Liuwa Plain National Park.
- Explore the Copperbelt: The Copperbelt region is known for its mining heritage and is home to the towns of Kitwe and Ndola. Visitors can learn about the history of mining in the region, and visit the Mufulira Mine Museum and the Ndola Museum.
- Visit traditional villages: Zambia is home to many traditional villages that offer a glimpse into the country's rich culture and history. Visitors can learn about traditional customs and practices, and see traditional dances and music performances.
- Explore the wilderness areas: Zambia is home to many beautiful wilderness areas, including the Bangweulu Wetlands, the Busanga Plains, and the Liuwa Plain National Park. These areas are known for their diverse wildlife and beautiful scenery.
- Experience the local culture: Zambia is home to many different cultures and traditions, and visitors can learn about them by visiting local markets, museums, and cultural centers. Visitors can also attend traditional ceremonies and festivals, such as the Kuomboka ceremony, which is held annually on the Zambezi River.
- Relax at the lake: Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest lake in the world, and the second-largest fresh water lake by volume. It's a great spot for swimming, boating, fishing, and relaxing.
- Go white water rafting: The Zambezi River is a great place for white water rafting and kayaking, with some of the best rapids in the world.
- Take a bird-watching trip: Zambia is home to a wide variety of bird species, and is a great destination for bird-watching. Popular bird-watching destinations include the Bangweulu Wetlands, the Kafue Flats, and the Liuwa Plain National Park.
These are just a few of the many things to see and do in Zambia, and there is much more to explore and discover in this beautiful country.
WHAT TO EAT IN ZAMBIA
Zambia has a diverse culinary scene that reflects the country's various cultures and traditions. Here are some of the best foods to try when visiting Zambia:
- Nshima: This is a traditional staple food made from ground corn (maize) and is served with a variety of stews and vegetables. It's a commonly eaten food in Zambia and is usually eaten with the hands.
- Chikanda: This is a traditional snack made from ground tubers and is often flavored with spices and herbs. It's usually eaten as a side dish or as a snack.
- Fried fish: Fish is a popular food in Zambia, and it's often served fried with a variety of sides such as rice, vegetables, and salad.
- Ndiwo: This is a traditional relish made from ground peanuts and is often served with nshima. It's a popular food in Zambia and is enjoyed by many.
- Chicken and beef: Chicken and beef are also popular meats in Zambia and are often grilled or stewed with a variety of spices and herbs.
- Cassava leaves and other greens: Cassava leaves and other greens are a common ingredient in Zambian cuisine and are often served as a side dish or as a main ingredient in a stew.
- Fruits: Zambia is home to a wide variety of tropical fruits, including papayas, pineapples, and mangoes. These fruits are often used to make fresh juices and smoothies.
- Traditional drinks: Visitors can try a traditional beer made from millet or sorghum. Also, you can try a traditional drink made from the marula fruit known as "Mwenge" which is a sweet and sour concoction.
These are just a few examples of the delicious foods that you can try when visiting Zambia. Keep in mind that availability of some of these foods may vary depending on the region and the season. Be open-minded and try new things, you might discover new delicious foods.
LGBTQ IN ZAMBIA
WHERE TO STAY IN ZAMBIA
When visiting Zambia for the first time, it's a good idea to stay in a few different places to experience the country's diverse regions and cultures. Here are some suggestions for where to stay:
- Lusaka: As the capital and largest city of Zambia, Lusaka is a good starting point for a first-time visit. Here you can find a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury hotels. Lusaka is also a good base for exploring the Copperbelt region, which is known for its mining heritage.
- Victoria Falls: Victoria Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world, and it's a must-see attraction in Zambia. There are a wide range of accommodations in the area, from budget-friendly backpacker hostels to luxury lodges, to suit all budgets.
- South Luangwa National Park: This park is one of the best places to go on safari in Zambia, and is known for its high concentration of leopards. Visitors can choose to stay in a traditional safari camp or in a luxury lodge.
- Lower Zambezi National Park: This park is another great place to go on safari in Zambia, and is known for its diverse wildlife and beautiful scenery. Visitors can choose to stay in a traditional safari camp or in a luxury lodge.
- Livingstone: Livingstone is a city located near Victoria falls and it's a good base for exploring the falls. There are a wide range of accommodations in the area, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury lodges.
- Bangweulu Wetlands: This area is known for its beautiful wilderness areas and bird-watching. Visitors can choose to stay in a traditional safari camp or in a luxury lodge.
- Copperbelt Region: Visitors can stay in the towns of Kitwe and Ndola to explore the mining heritage of the area.
These are just a few suggestions for where to stay when visiting Zambia for the first time. There are many other regions and cities worth visiting, such as the North Western province with the Liuwa Plains national park, the Muchinga province and its escarpment or the Eastern province with Nyika national park. Keep in mind that availability and costs may vary depending on the time of year and the type of accommodation you choose.
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