African Travel Tips When Visiting Zambia

In Zambia a third of the country devoted to conservation, Zambia offers the visitor some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas in Africa. A wide range of action adventures, from the legendary walking safari to river rafting on the mighty Zambezi, allows the enjoyment of nature at its wildest and most exhilirating.

A birder and angler’s paradise, Zambia has recorded more than 740 bird species in areas of great scenic beauty and has some of the best fresh water fishing available including excellent Tiger fishing. Best of all though, Zambia is one of the most stable countries in Africa, with 73 tribes living in harmony.

People are very friendly and display a rich cultural heritage during their vivid traditional ceremonies, which is open to Westerners to witness their ancient and timeless mystique.

CAPITAL:

Lusaka

CLIMATE:

There are three distinct seasons: Aug-Oct is warm to hot and dry offering the best time for game viewing as water is scarce; Nov-Mar is hot with thundershowers, but excellent bird watching season as migrants come from the north; and Apr-Jul when days are dry and warm and evenings and early mornings are cold – also good for game viewing.

CURRENCY:

1 Kwacha = 100 Ngwee. Foreign exchange is at authorized banks and bureaux de change. American Express is widely used, with more limited use of Access/MasterCard, Diners Club and Visa. US dollar traveller’s cheques are recommended.

ELECTRICITY:

220volts, 50Hz. Plugs are 3-pin square.

HEALTH:

You are advised to take pre-arrival precautions against hepatitis A, polio, typhoid, malaria (risk throughout the year in the whole country) and yellow fever. Other health concerns are dysentery, diarrhoeal diseases, cholera (avoid street vendors; filter and boil water), influenza (risk extends throughout year), limited medical facilities and AIDS. The climate aggravates chronic sinusitis. Dust in the dry season, molds in the rainy season and pollens much of the year can affect allergies.

LANGUAGE:

English is the official language and all media and business is conducted in it. There are over 73 tribal dialects of which the main languages are Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, Luvale, Lozi, Mambwe and Tumbuka.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:

New Years’ Day (1 Jan); Youth Day (12 Mar); Good Friday (9Apr); Easter Monday (12 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Africa Day (25 May); Heroes Day (5 Jul); Unity Day (6 Jul); Farmers’ Day (2 Aug); Defence Day (12 Aug); Independence Day (24 Oct); All Saint’s Day (1 Nov); Christmas Day (25 Dec)

SHOPPING:

ebony carvings; woven baskets; copper, brass and malachite objets d’art; printed cloth; masks; drums; thumb pianos; xylophones; conical fishtraps; clay pots. Souvenirs may be exported without restriction, but game trophies e.g. tooth, bone, skin, feather, etc. are subject to export permits.

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS:

The majority follow traditional animist beliefs and this is reflected in their social culture and customs. Hand shaking is the common form of greeting.

TIME DIFFERENCE:

GMT+2

TIPPING:

Tipping in hotels has been abolished by law, but a 10 percent tip may be expected or included in bills elsewhere.

TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS DESCRIPTION:

South Luangwa:

Zambia’s premier game park noted for its dense concentrations of game, with over 50 mammal and 400 bird species; the Luangwa river boasts more hippos and crocodiles than any other river in Africa.

Liuwa Plains:

Scene of dramatic blue wildebeest migrations with the attendant predators lion, leopard, cheetah and the endangered wild dog.

Kafue:

One of Africa’s biggest parks, with huge herds of antelope and superb lion sightings in the northern Busanga Plains; high concentrations of water birds occur on the flats.

Bangweulu Swamps:

The floodplains are renowned for high concentrations of water birds, of which millions feed in the nutrient rich shallows; it also attracts the endemic acquatic black lechwe antelope by the thousands.

Lochinvar National Park:

Regarded as holding the world record for the highest diversity of bird species (428 in only 410 square kilometres); over 30,000 Kafue lechwe antelope, found nowhere else in the world, roam here.

Lusaka:

In the capital, don’t miss the colourful markets, Munda Wanga Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Kalimba Reptile Park, Kabwata Cultural Village, Lusaka Museum, Zintu Community Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Copper Art Centre.

Livingstone:

In town, see the Mosi-oa-Tunya Zoo, the Livingstone Museum, the Railway Museum, Maramba Cultural Village, Mukuni tribal village, traditional ceremonies and markets. Nearby canoe or cruise on a boat along the upper Zambezi, go white water rafting, bungi jump off Vic Falls bridge, micro-light over the Falls and Batoka Gorge or go on horse riding, hiking or birding trails.

Lake Kariba:

Offers prime fishing, water sports, houseboating and lake camping.

Lake Tanganyika:

Africa’s deepest and longest lake offers great scuba diving and hiking to the top of Kalambo falls, the second highest in Africa at 220 m; other water sports, fishing and game viewing can be enjoyed at Sumbu park on the shore.

Lower Zambezi:

Excellent game viewing by boat or canoe; home to one of the largest remaining elephant herds in the world; also see buffalo and hippo at close range and birds in abundance.