Zambia is an incredible destination yet is traditionally not as high as it deserves to be on the wish list of most travellers when planning a trip to Southern Africa. It really offers a world-class safari experience. Zambia offers a unique and absorbing African adventure. Those who do make the decision to visit will be awestruck by the wealth of wildlife - whether on a walking safari, river cruise or game drive - and will leave with a kaleidoscope of memories.
South Luangwa National Park is the country's premier game reserve. Covering 9050 sq km of pristine wilderness, it contains an incredible density and diversity of wildlife, including predators and prey alike, with 60 species of animals and 400 species of birds. It also offers amazing walking safaris where you can get up close with Africa's wild animals and camp out under the stars after a day in the bush.
Kafue National Park is the country's biggest reserve, and one of the largest in the world. It is a fertile eco-system teeming with antelope, hippos and predators congregating along the Busanga floodplains. Lower Zambezi offers game viewing potential via sunset cruise, replete with the obligatory gin and tonic of course, or get paddling on a canoe safari mid the mighty Zambezi River. And most travellers will spend a night in Lusaka at the beginning or end of their trip, a chaotic, crowded but charming African city.
Zambia's premier attraction is undoubtedly Victoria Falls, which it shares with neighbouring Zimbabwe. You can stay in either country but many travellers head to Zambia these days. One of the world's seven natural wonders, the Falls are simply spectacular and when in full flood are the largest falling curtain of water in the world.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Zambia
Most visitors to Zambia will either arrive in Lusaka or Livingstone. Being the capital, Lusaka is served by a number of international airlines, with many travellers flying here directly from Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya) or Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). Emirates, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines all fly directly to Lusaka.
Flights from America can be arranged with either British Airways or South African Airways, via London or Johannesburg respectively. From the UK, there are four flights a week direct from Gatwick Airport to Lusaka and from Australia, Qantas flies to Harare in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg in South Africa, with connecting flights available to Lusaka. European airlines such as KLM, Air France and Lufthansa also fly to Lusaka, via either Harare or Johannesburg.
Daily flights operate between Johannesburg Airport and Livingstone Airport. The flight is about 90 minutes in duration and Livingstone Airport is about 20 minutes drive from the Falls Resort.
There is also a direct Kruger National Park to Livingstone flight which allows guests to combine a Kruger safari with Victoria Falls on the same day, which would not be possible otherwise.
Because Zambia is a tropical country, it does not have a distinct summer and winter as such but rather a rainy and dry season.
From November to March, there is a lot of rainfall and this means the national parks are lush and green. The game watching is not as good due to the plentiful water supply and the dense bush but the birding is spectacular. This time of year is also known as the Emerald Season, due to the bright green colours.
Game viewing is at its best from June onwards, during the dry season.
September and October offer the optimal wilderness experience as animals congregate around waterholes, rivers and lakes.
Having said that, game viewing is still pretty good all-year-round and it often depends on what exactly you want to see.
Victoria Falls are at their most mighty in April and May, just after the rains have finished. In fact, the Falls are the largest curtain of falling water in the world (when in full flood). In the dry season, the levels may be lower but there is less spray so you have better panoramic views and you can explore the surroundings more fully.
Yes. Zambia is a malaria area. We are not doctors, so please note that you should always speak to your doctor about malaria prevention before travelling. However, on that note, it is entirely possible to have a safe, malaria-free holiday in Africa by using prophylactic drugs.
Tip 1: Repel the Mosquitoes
The female mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria is a silent mossy, so you will have to ensure you repel them. They can strike at any time of day but are most active at dusk as well as dawn. Always wear repellent as well as long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the evenings and mornings. Please note that clothes alone won't protect you, as they can bite through the material. Most of our lodges will have screened windows and doors, air conditioning systems, and mosquito nets to further protect you.
Tip 2: ALWAYS Take Anti-Malaria Tablets
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself against malaria is taking Prophylactic tablets. Please note that you have to speak to your doctor before taking these tablets to ensure that you take the right one, as well as the correct dosage when entering the malaria area.
Top 3: Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms and Finish Your Course of Meds
If you start to notice any flu-like symptoms, you must get a malaria test to be safe and catch it early because malaria reacts well to early treatment. Also, don't stop taking your meds until the course is complete!
Zambia is best known for its access to Victoria Falls, which it shares with bordering Zimbabwe. Here you can partake in numerous adrenaline-fueled activities ranging from whitewater rafting to bungee jumping. It also has several National Parks where you can go on safari to see a diversity of animals and birds.
Some interesting facts about Zambia include:
There are 20 National Parks throughout the country and offers some of the best game viewing in Africa - without all the crowds you’ll find in more popular safari destinations
There are over 73 dialects in Zambia, but English is the official language
The currency is called the Kwacha (ZMK) - though USD is widely accepted
Roads are maintained fairly well, but some areas will require the use of a 4x4
Most travellers require a visa to enter Zambia. Travellers are advised to contact their nearest Zambian embassy or consulate to see if they need one or not.
How long will it take to issue my visa?
Single-entry visas are available and can be issued on the day of arrival at all borders and airports. For double- or multiple-entry visas, however, you will have to apply before you travel. Visas to Zambia are usually processed in about 5 to 10 work days. Certain nationals from certain countries are eligible for the KAZA UNI-VISA which will be issued at certain ports of entry upon arrival in Zambia. The KAZA UNIVISA costs USD 50 and is valid up to 30 days in any given period of 12 months, as long as the holder remains within Zambia and Zimbabwe. It also covers those who visit Botswana for day-trips through Kazungula Borders.
What are the visa requirements?
To apply for a Zambian visa in advance, you will need the following documents: a passport that is valid for 6 months, two signed Zambian visa application forms, 2 passport photos, a letter of invitation, and a flight itinerary or airline tickets as proof of departure.
For how long should my visa be valid?
A tourist visa to Zambia will be valid for 90 days while a visa for business travellers will be valid for 30 days. You also have the option of applying for a day-tripper visa which will allow you to be in Zambia for no more than 24 hours. The KAZA UNI-VISA is valid for 30 days.
Note: The UNIVISA was reinstated as of 21 December 2016. It allows visitors to travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia as frequently as they wish while the visa is valid. The cost of a UNIVISA is US$50.
It is recommended to get an eVisa prior to arrival. This means that queues are reduced and that time spent at airports is minimised.
Please ensure that you verify this information independently with the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate as your consultant cannot be held liable for any errors.
If you are planning a self-driving trip through Zambia, there are some rules that you will need to bear in mind. People drive on the left-hand side of the road and you will have to be in possession of an international driver’s license and be at least 23-years old. Foreign licenses may also be fine – as long as they are in English.
The quality of the roads in Zambia is not particularly good. Main highways tend to have potholes and gravel roads in national parks and rural areas should preferably be avoided in rainy seasons. Driving in rural areas at night is not advised as wild and domestic animals tend to stray into the road.
That said, travellers are generally advised not to self-drive through Zambia. Most hotels and lodges can arrange a local guide or driver to get you around.
Before travelling to Zambia, make sure you have bought the correct travel adaptor. The Type C, Type D, and Type G plugs are all accepted as the standard electric plugs in Zambia. The Type C plus (commonly known as the EuroPlug) is a two-pinned unearthed plug. The Type D plug has three large round pins in a circular configuration and is often referred to as the Old British Plug. The Type G Plug is the British three-pin rectangular blade plug and is commonly known as the 13-amp plug. While power cuts are frequent in Zambia, most hotels and lodges will be equipped with a generator.
Zamnet is the country’s biggest internet service provider. While internet access in Zambia can be quite patchy, most hotels have Wi-Fi set up for their guests and for the conference facilities. Most urban areas also have plenty of internet cafes. Travellers who wish to readily access the internet are advised to travel with a device such as a laptop or a tablet.
MTN and Airtel are the two major mobile-service providers in Zambia and SIM cards can readily be bought throughout the country. International service providers do offer roaming agreements if this is your preferred option. Cellphone reception is good, albeit patchier in rural areas.
Most lodges and hotels will post postcards on your behalf so a visit to the local post office will not be necessary.
If you are planning a trip to Zambia, here are some helpful hints you need to know before you go:
-If you’re visiting Victoria Falls in the rainy season, make sure you pack rain boots and a raincoat - or risk getting soaked
-Zambia still has not fully embraced homosexuality and we ask that homosexual couples be respectful of the country’s regulations by withholding from and minimising public displays of affection
-Public displays of affection – regardless of your sexual orientation – are frowned upon
Before going on a trip, it is important to consult your doctor, and take out comprehensive travel and health insurance that will cover all of your intended activities while on holiday in Zambia. Here are some helpful health hints to bear in mind:
-Zambia is a malaria area and travellers should take the necessary precautions, before embarking on their trip
-The risk of malaria is strongest in densely populated areas during the rainy season. Remember to pack and apply insect repellent, to cover up with full-length clothing, and to spray your room with insecticide before going to sleep
-The sun is very harsh in Zambia and you are advised to wear sunscreen and a hat – especially at midday
-On hot days, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and staying in the shade
-Water at hotels and lodges are generally filtered and safe to drink. If you’re venturing off the beaten track, be advised to preferably boil water before using it
If you’re planning a trip to Zambia, these are the most important money matters you need to know before you go:
-The Zambian currency is the Kwacha (ZMW). One Kwacha consists of 100 ngwee. Banknotes are in denominations of K100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 2. Coins are in denominations of K1 and 50, 10, and 5 ngwee
-While foreign currency is widely accepted throughout Zambia, this may be a short-term reprieve so certain hotels and lodges (particularly Wilderness Safaris) prefer to use Kwacha for transactions. Visa (more so than American Express and MasterCard) is accepted at most hotels, lodges, and restaurants. When paying is foreign currency change is often given in Kwacha.
-Upon arrival in Zambia, you can exchange your currency at authorised banks and bureaux de change
-Tourists over the age of 18 may import the following items into Zambia without incurring customs duty: 400 cigarettes, 1.5L of spirits, and 2.5L of wine, personal goods to the value of US$1000
-Local currency and foreign currencies exceeding USD 5000 (or equivalent) must be declared when entering or leaving the country.
-Bank hours vary but – for the most part – banks are open from 08:30 to 14:30 on weekdays and from 08:25 to 10:30 on Saturdays