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  • Overview

    The big, beautiful country of Zambia is situated in the heart ofthe African sub-continent, largely untainted by commercial touristdevelopment, but nevertheless well-equipped to allow visitors toexperience the warmth, excitement, challenges and adventures ofAfrica. Zambia beckons with an abundance of natural attractions andextreme sports, which has earned it the reputation of being the'adventure centre' of the continent.

    The country's prime attraction is the spectacular, breathtakingVictoria Falls on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe.Not only do the falls provide unmatched scenery as the waterplunges into the depths of the gorge, but they are also the settingfor a multitude of adrenaline pumping activities, like whitewaterrafting, bungee jumping from the 364 foot (111m) high bridge,canoeing, abseiling, micro-lighting over the falls, elephant-backsafaris, jet-boating through the rapids and much more.

    If travellers prefer dry land, Zambia offers dozens of superbgame parks stocked with a profusion of birds and wildlife. Chiefamong the parks is South Luangwa National Park. Centred on the mostintact major river system in Africa, it hosts a huge concentrationof game. The legendary 'Zambian walking safari' originated in thispark and still offers one of the finest ways to experience theAfrican wilderness.

    Visitors to Zambia seldom linger in the towns, being bent onsafaris or destined for game lodges and adventure camps. Those whochoose to explore the somewhat dishevelled capital, Lusaka, willfind it has an interesting charm. More than half of the inhabitantsof this over-populated city are unemployed, yet the atmosphere isfar from despondent as the people hustle and bustle, determined tosurvive. Thousands of stalls line the streets offering afascinating array of services and goods.

    Lovers of the outdoors cannot fail to find everything and moreto satisfy them in the varied wilderness of Zambia.

    Zambia introduces foreigners to some of the best naturalattractions and adventurous activities that Africa has to offer.Tourism is concentrated around a few major attractions in thecountry. Lake Kariba draws many visitors and is a hub for fishing,boating, wildlife safaris and watersports, and Livingstone is thegateway to the wonders of Victoria Falls and the mighty ZambeziRiver. Zambia also has some excellent wildlife reserves.

    The country's lack of infrastructure can be problematic fortravellers, as the poor roads make accessing certain areasdifficult. Livingstone and the capital city, Lusaka, are bothfairly well developed, though. Lusaka is not a popular touristdestination in itself but many travellers pass through thesprawling city and it is quite an experience. The markets andnightlife can be exciting and fun, and there are a number of smallmuseums to visit.

    Zambia is accessible to both budget travellers and those insearch of luxury. Livingstone in particular boasts both greatbackpacker hostels and incredible luxury hotels.

    Kafue National Park

    Kafue National Park is one of the largest nature reserves inAfrica, spanning a diverse 8,650 square miles (22,400 sq km), whichmakes it roughly the size of Wales. Vast swathes of Kafue have yetto be explored and developed, making it a wonderful destination forthose who want a real African adventure. Although the headquartersof the park are in the south, the southern region is actually lessvisited and more rundown; the real gem of the park is the floodedgrasslands ecoregion in the north, which includes the BusangaSwamp. These rich lands support large herds of herbivores and theirnatural predators and the area is also noted for its birdlife.Visitors are likely to see lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and ahost of other species in their natural environment while exploringKafue. Besides enjoying the wildlife through safaris, visitors canenjoy abundant bird watching and fishing. Kafue is a 224 mile(360km) drive west of Lusaka, and a short two-hour drive fromLivingstone, but some of the park's interior roads are dilapidated,especially in the rainy season, making the park accessible only to4x4s or chartered flights. There are now a number of great safaricamps and game lodges in and around the reserve and infrastructureis gradually improving.

    Kafue National Park Kafue National Park Steven dosRemedios
    Livingstone

    Livingstone is a historic colonial city on the southern borderof Zambia. Also known as Maramba, the town was incorporated as partof Northern Rhodesia under Cecil John Rhodes, and gained prominencein the 19th century as a trading hub for passage across the ZambeziRiver. As trade and industry in the region has declined, the townhas embraced the tourist trade that comes naturally to it. Locatedjust six miles (10km) from the Zambezi River, Livingstone is apopular gateway to the mighty Victoria Falls and has benefittedfrom the hordes of tourists that flock there every year. Itscolonial past means the city has a number of historical buildings,and several decent museums devoted to archaeology, history,ethnography, geology, railways, and of course the town's namesake:David Livingstone. Livingstone also has a surprisingly festivenightlife, with a number of bars and clubs frequented by touristsand expats. Its thriving backpackers' scene makes it a favouritewith budget travellers. That said, there are also some luxurylodges nestled into gorgeous riverside settings.

    It is the perfect base for whitewater rafting, bungee jumpingand visiting the falls. It is also well situated as a gateway tothe abundant nature and wildlife of southern Zambia. Mosi-oa-TunyaNational Park offers bird watching and game safaris, and a numberof game cruises are available along the Zambezi River.

    Livingstone Livingstone Gary Bembridge
    Kariba

    Lake Kariba is the largest artificial lake in the world, and avery popular tourist destination in Zambia (and Zimbabwe). A numberof game and safari parks ring the lake on both the Zambian andZimbabwean sides, and tour operators offer a number of wateractivities such as boat and pontoon cruises. The best way toexperience the vast body of water is to hire a houseboat, thoughthere are a variety of accommodation options for those who preferto sleep on land, including campsites, luxury lodges andself-catering chalets. All budgets will find something on offer.Lake Kariba is an excellent place to see wildlife, but foreignersshould be wary of hippo and crocodiles when swimming in Kariba, andon the banks. The facilities around the lake are good, withentertainment available at the casino and hotel complexes. Also,travellers will appreciate Lake Kariba's famously beautifulsunsets. Those who are planning a houseboat holiday should timetheir trip so they can witness the full moon rising over the water,which is quite a magical experience.

    The area can get swelteringly hot in the summer, and many peopleprefer to visit in the cooler months (May to September), when theweather is still balmy and sunny, but far more comfortable.

    Lake Kariba Lake Kariba Aristocrats-hat
    Victoria Falls

    The majestic Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke thatThunders), are located on the Zambezi River, on the border ofZambia and Zimbabwe. Explorer David Livingstone named the falls forQueen Victoria when he first saw them in 1855. One of the sevennatural wonders of the world, the falls have been attractingtravellers and adventure seekers for decades; its pounding waterscreating a mist that can be seen for miles and the sound of thefalls, especially in the rainy season (November to April), make itdifficult to hear anything else. There is a trail that runs alongthe cliff adjacent to the waterfall which visitors can use to reachthe scenic viewpoints, and a helicopter tour is a phenomenal way tosee the falls from above. Although it is only accessible at certainwater levels, and is certainly not for the faint of heart, there isalso a natural pool right above the falls called the Devil's PunchBowl; swimming just above the lip of the pounding waterfall is anamazing thrill. Guided tours to the falls are available fromLivingstone, but it is easy to explore without a guide. Manytourists like to see the falls from the Zimbabwean side as well(especially during the dry season when the Zambian side gets quitedry) and crossing the border is usually quick and painless as theofficials are accustomed to visitors popping over just to see thefalls.

    Victoria Falls Victoria Falls John Walker

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Lusaka's humid subtropical climate is heavily influenced by itshigh-altitude location. The city experiences hot summers and warmwinters, with little variation in temperature. Winter, from May toJuly, sees temperatures move between 78°F (26°C) and 92°F (33°C).In summer, from September to January, Lusaka's temperatures rangefrom 87°F (31°C) to 104°F (40°C). Lusaka experiences distinct wetand dry seasons. The wet season lasts from November to April, whenprecipitation amounts to between three inches (76mm) and 10 inches(245mm) of rainfall per month. Humidity regularly exceeds 80percent during the rainy season. From May to September, Lusakaexperiences very little rainfall.

    Zambia is warm all year round, but has three distinct seasons.Between December and April the weather is hot and wet; from May toAugust it is cooler and dry; between September and Novemberconditions are hot and dry. The rains come earlier and last longerthe further north in Zambia one ventures, and the east generallyreceives more rainfall than the western lowlands. The Zambiansummer, between November and March, can get swelteringly hot, withthe average temperatures ranging between 77°F and 95°F (25°C and35°C), while in winter, between May and August, the temperaturerange becomes far greater with temperatures measuring anywherebetween 43°F and 75°F (6°C and 24°C). Autumn and spring are shortin Zambia; there aren't really four distinct seasons. During therainy season, roads often become impassable due to mud andpotholes, and many attractions are unreachable; as a result, manycamps close during this time and it is not an easy time to visit.The best time to visit Zambia is between June and September, whenthe nights are cold but the days are usually sunny and pleasant,and game viewing is at its best.

    Kenneth Kaunda International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 12 miles (20km) northeast ofLusaka.
    Time: Local time is GMT +2.
    Getting to the city: A minibus service runs to the city centre via Great East Road,and taxis are available.
    Car Rental: Most major car hire companies are represented at the airport.Cars are usually hired with a chauffeur.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available at the airport.
    Fascilities: The airport has a bank with a bureau de change, a post office,restaurants, a bar, shops, and a VIP lounge. A tourist help deskand travel agent can also be found in the airport terminalbuilding, as well as a business centre.
    Parking Long and short-term parking is available.
    Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport
    Location: The airport is located one miles (1.2km) south of theNdola city.
    Time: Local time is GMT +2.
    Getting to the city: Taxis and rental cars are available.
    Car Rental: Europcar is represented at the airport. Other car rentalcompanies are available in town.
    Airport Taxis: There are many taxis available. It is best to negotiate a farebefore departing.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities are limited, but there is a small duty-freestore.
    Parking Parking is available close to the terminal building.
    Money:

    The Zambian currency is the Kwacha (ZMW), and is divided into100 ngwee. It is best to bring US Dollars or Pounds Sterling, whichcan be exchanged at the many bureaux de change found in the maintowns; visitors should avoid exchanging money outside of banks orrespected hotels. While most of the tourist hotels, restaurants,travel agents and larger shops, especially in Lusaka andLivingstone, accept credit cards, many outlets in the rural areasdo not and deal only in local currency. ATMs are available inLusaka and some of the major towns. Banking hours vary but areusually 8.30am to 3.30pm on weekdays and mornings on Saturdays.

    Language:

    There are many dialects spoken in Zambia, but theofficial language is English. Most business is conducted in Englishand most Zambians speak it fairly well.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current in Zambia is 230 volts, 50Hz.Square three-pin plugs, as well as two- and three-pin round plugsare in use.

    Entry Requirements:

    United States citizens require a passport valid for four monthsbeyond period of intended stay. A visa is required. Single andmultiple-entry visas can be obtained on arrival for stays of up to90 days (tourists) or 30 days (business travellers). E-visas can beobtained before departure.

    British citizens require a passport valid for four months beyondperiod of intended stay, but a visa is not necessary for atouristic stay of up to 90 days.

    Canadians require a passport valid for four months beyond periodof intended stay. A visa is required. Single and multiple-entryvisas can be obtained on arrival for stays of up to 90 days(tourists) or 30 days (business travellers). E-visas can beobtained before departure.

    Australians require a passport valid for four months beyondperiod of intended stay. A visa is required. On arrival a 90-daytourist visa or 30-day business visa can be obtained. E-visas canbe obtained before departure.

    South Africans need a passport valid for four months beyondperiod of intended stay. South African nationals do not need a visafor stays for up to 90 days (tourists) or up to 30 days (businesstravellers). Note that temporary or emergency South African traveldocuments are not accepted.

    Irish nationals require a passport valid for four months beyondperiod of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90days.

    United States citizens require a passport valid for four monthsbeyond period of intended stay. A visa is required. Single andmultiple-entry visas can be obtained on arrival for stays of up to90 days (tourists) or 30 days (business travellers). E-visas can beobtained before departure.

    New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for four monthsbeyond period of intended stay. A visa is required. A 90-daytourist visa or 30-day business visa can be obtained on arrival inZambia. Passengers with a New Zealand passport issued to residentsof Niue, Tokelau or nationals of Cook Islands traveling as touristsdo not require a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    A return ticket or proof of onward travel, all documents fornext destination and proof of sufficient funds is required for alltravellers. Visas issued on arrival vary in fee according to amountof entries and nationality. Passports must have at least threeblank visa pages. It is also possible to obtain an e-visa onlineprior to departure for Zambia; passengers must have printedconfirmation of the e-visa with them upon arrival. There is aspecial provision for day visitors coming across the border fromZimbabwe into Livingstone. It is highly recommended thattravellers' passports have at least six months' validity remainingafter the intended date of departure from their travel destination.Immigration officials often apply different rules to those statedby travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Typhoid, polio, rabies and hepatitis A vaccinations should beconsidered for travel to Zambia. Malaria is endemic in Zambia(prophylaxis is essential), and outbreaks of cholera and dysenteryare common especially during the rainy season. Yellow fever is arisk in the northwest and western provinces. Visitors to game parksare at risk of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), whichis carried by tsetse flies; insect repellent is ineffective againsttsetse flies. The country also has one of the highest rates ofHIV/Aids infection worldwide. Visitors should avoid swimming orwading in bodies of fresh water, such as lakes, ponds, streams, orrivers due to the presence of bilharzia.

    Medical facilities in the country are under-developed andlimited to the point that basic drugs and even clean needles areoften not available. The small clinics in Lusaka are regarded assuperior to the general hospitals, but clinics in rural areas arerarely stocked with anything more than aspirin or plasters. Fulltravel insurance, including cover for medical evacuation by air, istherefore essential and it is vital to bring a good first-aid kit.Visitors should avoid food bought from local street vendors andensure drinking water is filtered and boiled, or bought in sealed,branded bottles.

    Tipping:

    Tipping in Zambia is usually about 10 percent. A 10 percentservice charge is usually included in bills.

    Safety Information:

    Though package tours in Zambia are generally safe and mostvisits are trouble-free, visitors should be aware that carhijackings and armed robberies are increasing. Mugging,bag-snatching and theft from parked cars is common in urban areas.Political rallies, demonstrations, and large gatherings have thepotential for violence and should be avoided. Travellers should bevigilant and avoid displaying valuables. They should also avoid theborder areas where Zambia meets Angola and the DRC; cross-borderraids are frequent and landmines are a potential danger. Many roadscan become impassable in the rainy season (November to April).Travellers should be aware that overstaying a visa is a seriousoffence and may result in arrest and imprisonment.

    Local Customs:

    Zambia's culture is largely patriarchal; however, white visitorstend to be treated respectfully regardless of gender. Zambians arecurious, and visitors should not be offended by stares andquestions. Women should refrain from wearing short skirts andlow-cut tops, and beachwear should be worn only on the beach; evenwhen dressed conservatively, women may find the stares from localsdisconcerting. The Western practise of 'getting to the point' isnot practised in Zambian culture, and it is polite to say hello andexchange pleasantries before asking a question or requestingassistance. Shaking hands is a common greeting, and many Zambianswill continue to hold hands throughout the conversation. It istraditional to eat with the right hand, and utensils are not usedin many areas.

    Homosexuality is condemned by the general population and isconsidered illegal. Gay travellers should be discreet and avoidpublic displays of affection.

    Business:

    According to the World Bank, doing business in Zambia is lessdifficult than in many other African countries, but it is a verypoor country and the lack of infrastructure can be a challenge.Bribery and corruption can also be a problem. Business meetings areformal but seldom punctual; a suit and tie are appropriate attiredespite the heat. Office hours in Zambia are 8am to 5pm Monday toFriday, with a one hour lunch break between 1pm and 2pm; however,in practice workers often arrive late or leave early making theseoffice hours a mere guideline.

    Communications:

    The international dialling code for Zambia is +260. The outgoingcode is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 forSouth Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Lusaka.Connections tend to be bad, particularly outside of Lusaka. Wifi islimited to top hotels and restaurants, and free international callscan be made using the internet.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Zambia over 18 years do not have to pay duty onthe following items: 400 cigarettes or 500g tobacco or 500g ofcigars; 1.5 litres of spirits, 2.5 litres of wine and 2.5 litres ofbeer, and goods to the value of USD 1,000. Prohibited items includenarcotics, pornography and explosive materials, and restrictionsare applied to live animals, medication and hunting weapons.

    Useful Contacts:

    Zambia National Tourist Board, Lusaka: www.zambiatourism.com

    Zambia Embassies:

    Zambian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 2344009.

    Zambian High Commission, London, United Kingdom (alsoresponsible for Ireland): +44 207 589 6655.

    Zambian High Commission, Ottawa, Cananda: + 613 232 4400.

    Zambian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 3261854.

    High Commission of the Republic of Zambia, Canberra, Australia:+61 261 994 900.

    Foreign Embassies in Zambia :

    United States Embassy, Lusaka: +260 211 357 000.

    British High Commission, Lusaka: +260 211 423 200.

    Canadian High Commission, Lusaka: +260 1 250 833.

    South African High Commission, Lusaka: +260 211 26 0497.

    Australian Embassy, Harare, Zimbabwe (also responsible forZambia): +263 242 853 235 55.

    Irish Embassy, Lusaka: +260 211 290 650.

    New Zealand Honorary Consulate, Lusaka, Zambia: (+260) 211 252402 / 5 / 6.

    Zambia Emergency Numbers : 999 (General Emergency); 991 (Police)
    Zambia

    Getting around Lusaka is not easy. While the city centre isrelatively small, walking is not always a pleasant experiencebecause of the climate and the hawkers along the sides of theroads. Public transport consists of buses and minibuses that runfrequently along main transport routes, helping people get aroundthe city. However, buses and minibuses can get crowded, meaningthey're not always a comfortable way to travel. Visitors who havean international driving licence can hire a car, and there areplenty of reputable car hire companies in the city and at theairport. On the downside, driving in Lusaka is not an easy taskbecause traffic is often gridlocked and it can be difficult to findparking. While signage is usually quite clear, the condition of theroads is not always good. Hiring a car with a driver is a popularoption.