Zambia is a huge country in Southern Africa which is still little visited in comparison to its neighbours. But tourism is on the rise and many travellers are beginning to see Zambia as a more authentic and off-the-beaten track alternative. After years of poaching and poor maintenance, the country's 19 national parks and reserves have been well rehabilitated. The game viewing now ranks among the best in Africa, but without the crowds of tourists!
Zambia is landlocked and borders ten other countries - though most travellers fly from Johannesburg or East Africa. The Zambezi River forms the border with Zimbabwe while Lake Tanganyika straddles the border with Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the north. The country gained independence in 1964 from the British and changed its name from northern Rhodesia to Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda was the first democratically elected leader.
Zambia is one of the more stable countries in the region and entirely safe to visit. The government has committed itself to tourism and there has been a concerted attempt to eradicate poaching and protect the country's fragile environment. Travellers are coming back but we recommend you get here before the rest!
Area: 752,614 square kilometers (290,586 square miles)
Religion: Christian, Muslim, Hindu
Life Expectancy: 41
GDP per Capita: U.S. $800
Literacy Percent: 81
Language: There are over 73 dialects spoken in Zambia, but the official language is English.
Currency: The Zambian currency is the Kwacha (ZMK), divided into 100 ngwee, but the coins are now worthless and seldom used. It is best to bring travelers cheques, US Dollars or Pounds Sterling which can be exchanged at the many bureaux de change found in the main towns.
Time: GMT +2.
Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs, as well as two-and three pin round plugs are in use.
Communications: The international dialing code for Zambia is +260. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00 27 for South Africa).