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Know Before You Go


Zambia

Zambia Safari information Zambia is a landlocked country, shaped like a contorted figure-of-eight 750,000 square kms in area, its borders do not correspond to any tribal or linguistic area. The population is estimated at about 9.5 million, density is about 11 people per square km - one of the lightest in the world. Most unusual for a developing country, more than 50% of Zambia’s population lives in urban areas (mostly Lusaka and the cities of the Copperbelt). There are about 35 different ethnic groups (or ‘tribes’) in Zambia, all with their own language. English has become an essential national and official language; it is widely spoken across the country - even in quite remote areas.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

All visitors require valid passports and return air tickets. Visas are required for entry into Zambia. Visa fees vary according to a travelerís nationality. American citizens pay USD $135 for an entry visa (maximum stay three months). Visas are obtainable at the border. Note: Please check with your nearest Zambia Consulate for up to date information for other than US citizens. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required of all travelers over one year of age traveling from infected areas.

DEPARTURE TAXES

For those passengers flying out of Zambia, there is a US$25 international departure tax that is not included in the cost of the safari and must be paid direct. There is also a $8 domestic departure tax that must be paid direct on departure. Please ensure you have the exact amount of US Dollars in cash before you leave your home country. Large denomination bills such as U$50 or US$100 bills are not accepted.

CURRENCY

The currency unit is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK). Travelers can exchange their currency for Zambian Kwacha at commercial banks in Zambia. Banks in Zambia are open during the following hours: 8:15am – 2:30pm Mondays to Fridays. There is an ATM machine outside Barclay’s Bank in Livingstone. However, tourist activities are quoted and paid for in US dollars. Therefore, it may not be necessary to carry Kwacha, as many hotels, lodges, shops and restaurants accept US dollars as well as international credit cards (Visa and MasterCard). Please note that American Express and Diner’s Club are often not accepted. Because the currency has been deregulated, there are foreign exchange (‘forex’) bureaux in most large towns whose rates are generally about 5% better (with faster service) than banks. Visitors can import and export their foreign currency without restriction provided it is declared upon arrival. You may import and export a maximum of ZMK 100 in Zambian bank notes. Banks in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana or Namibia do not accept ZMK bank notes.

CLIMATE

Most of the country falls into a plateau region, which has a pleasant climate. The valley of the Zambezi River is a low-lying area, which runs the length of the western and southern borders with a hotter and more humid climate. The extreme northern areas have a more usual tropical climate as they reach the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Despite the tropical location, the altitude of the Zambian plateau ensures a comfortable climate throughout the year except in the river valleys where it is markedly hotter. There are three main seasons: April to August is cool and dry; September to October is hot and dry; and November to March is warm and wet.

Temperature (ºF) - These are the average lows and highs
 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

LVI 63/90 63/86 64/88 57/84 50/84 45/77 43/77 46/82 57/91 64/93 64/88 63/88

Rainfall (inches). This varies according to the year and where you are.
 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

LVI 8.47 7.28 3.94 1.77 0.19 0.11 0.03 0.11 0.15 0.78 3.94 7.48

WATER

Water in the urban areas and major resorts including safari camps and lodges is safe to drink.

ELECTRICITY

Electricity, of which 99.5 percent is generated by the Kariba hydro-electricity scheme, runs at 220/240V AC, 50 Hz.

COMMUNICATIONS

There is a workable telephone and postal service throughout the country, as well as cell phone and Internet facilities in the capital of Lusaka. A direct international dialing service is available from the major hotels and lodges. For international telephone calls, the country code is 260 – regional country codes are: Lusaka (01), Chirundu (01), Livingstone (03). Safari lodges communicate via two-way radio.

TIME ZONE

Greenwich Mean Time + 2 hours during Daylight Savings; Greenwich Mean Time + 1 hour for the remainder of the year.

LANGUAGE

English is the official language and there are some 73 regional dialects, which fall into the main language groups of Nyanja, Tonga, Bemba, Lozi, Kaonde, Luvale and Lunda. The English-speaking visitor to Zambia will have no problems while traveling throughout the country to major tourist areas.

WHAT TO BUY

Zambia is a good place to buy gemstones, fine basketry and a wide variety of wood and stone carvings. Be on the look out for the beautiful fabric wall hangings and bed covers from the Luangwa Valley – each one is unique. Lusaka is surprisingly well endowed with galleries where the work of local artists is of high quality. Try the Henry Tayali Visual Arts Gallery at the show grounds, the smaller Mpala Gallery on Mwilwa Road, and the sculpture park at the Garden House Hotel on Mumbwa Road, run by Mr. Rossi, a well-known collector and supporter of Zambian art. Zintu Community Museum, Panganini Road, shows traditional arts and crafts, on display and in production.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Possibly more than any other country in the region, officials in Zambia do not like visitor’s photographing public buildings, bridges, airports or anything else, which could be strategic. If in doubt, ask - or better still, save your camera for the national parks.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

1 January
New Year’s Day
12 March Youth Day
Varies Good Friday
Varies Easter Saturday
Varies Easter Monday
1 May
Labor Day
2 May Public Holiday
25 May African Freedom Day
5 July Heroes’ Day
6 July Unity Day
2 August Farmers’ Day
24 October Independence Day
25 December Christmas Day