ZAMBIA TRAVEL INFORMATION
Zambia’s elevation on a plateau gives it a moderate to tropical climate with three distinct seasons:
December to April Summer Warm and wet – Zambia’s rainy season
May to August (winter) Winter Cool and dry
September to November Spring Hot and dry – Oct/Nov being hottest months
Average summer temperatures range from 25C to 35 – 40C and winter from 6C to 24C
Generally, comfortable casual clothing is suitable throughout the year. Outdoor gear stores offer a wide range of safari/bush apparel.
Going on Safari?
The most practical items to pack are:
- Khaki, brown, green and beige colours
- Light cotton tops and cotton trousers
- Shirts with long sleeves (even in summer, they will protect you from the sun and from mosquitoes)
- Shorts or a light skirt
- Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
- Sweater or fleece for game drives (especially during the winter months – morning & evenings can be very chilly)
- Comfortable walking shoes/boots
- Slops or casual open shoes
- Sun block, sunglasses and insect repellent are essential
- Sun Hat
- Light, compact raincoat during the rainy months
- Costume if you are going to a venue that has swimming facilities
- Mosquito repellant
- Layers are most practical for the fluctuating day/night temperatures of Zambia.
- Dull and/or neutral colours are more suitable for safari; white is definitely not practical.
- Don’t bring too much – laundry is available at most main camps – and there is a strict 15Kg limit for baggage on light planes.
- It is best to pack hardy, durable clothing in a soft bag rather than a suitcase. Soft bags are also essential on light planes.
Do Not Forget
- Plenty of spare film or digital memory, spare camera batteries and recharger. Camps often run on generators and can usually assist with re-charging at designated times.
- Sun Cream
- Wet Bag for cameras and belongings if visiting the Victoria Falls
Cell coverage is available in most cities and towns and along most major road routes. However, coverage is limited in remote areas. Cell phone cards are available at most airports and various outlets around Zambia.
Internet cafes are available in most major cities and towns in Lusaka. Most major hotels have internet access on either a pay basis or as part of their services. Internet service in parks or game areas may not be accessible, or is very limited.
The official currency is the Zambian Kwacha and the coins are Ngwee.
Because the exchange rate is prone to vary, the USD is used extensively in trade and most Government levies are also quoted in USD.
If you are changing USD be sure to bring notes of varying denominations since change is often a problem in Africa and all notes must have “large heads” – the old series notes with small heads are no longer accepted anywhere in Zambia.
There are bureau de change facilities at most airports and in major cities and towns and a vast network of ATM machines to draw cash.
Credit cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants, chain stores and travel agents in cities and major towns. However, it is highly recommended that tourists do bring USD cash, especially when you are on safari or visiting a remote area
ATM machines are now more freely available in larger cities and towns and major banks will allow withdrawals against credit cards. Remember to advise your credit card company that you will be travelling and the countries you will be travelling to.
Please check before you travel if the forex you are bringing into Zambia is an accepted/changeable currency.
Most international and domestic airlines do include departure taxes in their fare cost, but please always check with your travel agency prior to departure on airport taxes, as regulations can change from time to time.
SADC drivers licences are valid in Zambia. All other visitors wishing to drive in Zambia must ensure they hold a valid International Drivers Licence.
Self-Drive travellers must ensure that they have proof of ownership of the vehicle or the correct permission to be using the car eg. Company owned vehicles, car hire vehicles. Please check current regulations prior to travel for temporary or permanent import permits, as these may change from time to time. See Vehicle Permits below.
The following items may be imported into Zambia by persons over 18 years, for their own consumption, without incurring customs duty:
- 400 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco.
- 5l beer, wine or spirits opened
- 1 oz of perfume
If you are wanting to export any animal or plant products please check on customs regulations with regard to required permits and packaging.
Note: Souvenirs may be exported without restriction but game trophies such as tooth, bone, horn, shell, claw, skin, hair, feather or other durable items are subject to export permits.
Local current is 220v, 50 cycle AC
Zambia’s leading domestic carrier is Proflight, which offers seamless scheduled flights to the main tourist destinations and where possible, on to international flight connections. The main tourist airports are Lusaka, South Luangwa (Mfuwe), Lower Zambezi and Livingstone. Scheduled and Charter flights are on offer for other destinations in Zambia.
The main international airports are Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone. These airports are serviced by major carriers including SAA, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines. Zambia is also a hub for regional travel with connections to Botstwana, Nambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and other regional countries.
Zambia’s major cities and tourist destinations are connected by a growing network of tarred or gravel highways and roads, making it easy to get from city to city by car. However, minor roads may often in poor condition, and in the rainy season some roads are not accessible. Unfortunately, mechanical support between towns is minimal. It is recommended to travel from sunrise to sunset and to travel in convoy if you are not experienced at travelling in Africa.
It is an offence to use a mobile phone while driving or to drive under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substance.
You are required to wear a safety belt, and to carry your driver’s licence with you at all times (and any other travel, permit documents you may have)
It’s easy to hire a taxi in Lusaka, Livingstone and the other major cities by booking over the phone, either direct or via your hotel. It’s also possible to hail a cab in the street. Fares are reasonable and taxis are considered a safe option. Taxis are not metered so agree a fare in advance.
COACH OR BUS:
Long-distance coaches run from Lusaka’s intercity bus terminal to the major regional centers.
There are Local bus services in Lusaka and the other cities which are private mini buses or shared taxis. These can be quite crowded, but a fun way to get to know the locals – and if you are not in a rush to get directly to your destination! Taxis are not metered so please agree a fare in advance.
Zambia has three main internal train lines, from Livingstone to Lusaka, from Lusaka to the Copperbelt, and from Kapiri Mposhi to the Northern border with Tanzania. The main train station is in Dedan Kamathi Road in central Lusaka, one road east of Cairo Road.
There is a twice-weekly Kitwe-Lusaka-Livingstone service which leaves Kitwe in the morning and reaches Lusaka at night and Livingstone the following evening. It has no sleepers or first class carriages. Children under three years of age travel free, children between three and 15 years pay half price.
By rail note:
The rail network is poorly maintained and services are often badly delayed.
Local ferries operate on the main the waterways.
- Zambia, is a malaria area. Visitors are strongly advised to bring prophylactic medicine, but please seek advice from your doctor or local travel clinic.
- Visitors who have travelled through a yellow fever or cholera zone, will be required to present an International Yellow Fever Certificate of vaccination.
- Please bring copies of prescriptions for all controlled substances (medicines) to present if requested, on entry and exit to Zambia.
- Bottled water is recommended when travelling in Zambia.
- All visitors should check with their local travel clinic on any medical requirements in order to travel in Zambia as these may be amended from time to time
- Private Hospitals are available in the bigger cities and towns, and medical evacuation facilities are also available. (See health insurance below)
Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage especially if you are spending time in remote parts of the country. Travellers should procure adequate travel insurance prior to travel.
Health service in Zambia is not free. Adequate health care cannot be assured outside main towns and it is recommended to carry basic medical supplies, particularly if you are on a self-drive trip. General and private hospitals are available in the major towns such as Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone.
English is the official language, but there are over 73 local dialects. The main languages are Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja and Tonga.
Visitors are able to take photographs in most places but are advised to avoid military installations and government buildings. As a courtesy, visitors are requested to please ask permission before taking photo’s of any people.
Zambia is a land locked country surrounded by other countries along its extensive frontier.
The eight countries with whom we share borders are; The Democratic Republic of Congo to the North, Tanzania to the North East, Malawi to the East, Mozambique to the South East, Zimbabwe to the South, Botswana and Namibia to the South West and Angola to the West.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2016
1 January New Year’s Day
8 March International Women’s Day
12 March Youth Day
25 March Good Friday
26 March Holy Saturday
27 March Easter Sunday
28 March Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
25 May African Freedom Day
4 July Heroes’ Day
5 July Unity Day
1 August Farmers’ Day
18 October Day of National Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation
24 October Independence Day.
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Public Holiday
Zambia is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 7 hours ahead of Eastern USA time and 10 hours ahead of Pacific and Western time.
Tipping is an acceptable practice in Zambia for good service and the recommended rate is 10%. This rate would apply for all tourist venues.
However, some restaurants do include a 10% service fee, so please take note when you receive your bill.
We recommend that before travelling, you obtain comprehensive travel insurance. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake ie. Extreme ‘sports’ such as bungee jumping, white water rafting etc. Your credit card accident cover, home insurance, or private health cover may not be sufficient.
Your travel insurance should include:
- Medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad – more information on medical and health cover.
- 24 hour emergency service and assistance.
- Personal liability cover in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property.
- Lost and stolen possessions cover.
- Cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover.
- Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as jet skiing.
- Cover the entire period that you will be travelling
Your policy may also have:
- personal accident cover
- legal expenses cover
- financial protection if your airline goes bankrupt before or during your trip.
If you are driving a vehicle into Zambia, you will be required to obtain a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) or, depending on the country of origin of the vehicle, a carnet de passage.
If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, they must have a letter of authorisation from the owner for use of the vehicle in Zambia eg company vehicle, rental vehicle.
To ensure you have the correct documentation, please contact, well in advance, your AA office or similar, to check the latest regulations.
Alternatively you may contact:
Zambia Revenue Authority Tel: + 260 211 380000 / 381111 or +260 971 2811 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All visitors should check the Immigration requirements well before travel. E-VISAS are now available for some nationalities.