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Home arrow Zambia Travel Tips

Zambia Travel Tips

Climate

Although Zambia lies in the tropics, the height of the plateau ensures that the climate is seldom unpleasantly hot, except in the valleys. There are three seasons: the cool, dry winter season from May to September; the hot, dry season in October and November; and the rainy season, which is even hotter, from December to April. Lightweights or tropical with rainwear.

Languages

English is the official language, but there are over 73 local dialects. The main languages are Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja and Tonga.

Currency details

Exchange of foreign currency is carried out at authorised banks and bureaux de change. Most hotels, restaurants, travel agents and bigger shops accept credit cards. ATMs are available within Lusaka and some of the major towns in Zambia. Standard Chartered and Barclays Bank have ATMs which accept Visa. The import and export of local currency is limited to ZMK100. Free import of foreign currency subject to declaration on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on import. All passengers entering or departing from Zambia must declare all currency notes exceeding US$5000 or equivalent. Note: Currency declaration forms and exchange receipts must be shown if purchasing airline tickets in Zambia.

Social Conventions

African culture and traditions remain prominent and there are various customs, folklore and traditional crafts in the different regions. Traditional dancing is popular and there are many colourful annual ceremonies that take place throughout the country. Visitors to the outlying areas should expect to be met with curiosity. Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. Gifts are often offered to visitors as a sign of gratitude, friendship or honour. One should never refuse a gift but accept it with both hands.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the South African three–pin type (2 small round pins over 1 larger round pin).

Security Tips

Most visits to Zambia are trouble free. The threat from terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. Travellers are advised against all but essential travel to parts of the north western Copperbelt, Central and Luapula provinces, which are close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly after dark. There are continuing reports of armed cross–border raids from the DRC. There are also landmines in this area, and on the borders with Angola and Mozambique. This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK.

Tipping customs

A 10 per cent sales tax is added to all bills. Tipping in hotels has been abolished by law but a 10 per cent tip may be expected or included in bills elsewhere.

Health Precautions

It is imperative that you obtain malaria prophylactics before entering Zambia. When purchasing these, please tell your doctor or pharmacist which areas in Zambia you intend visiting. Start your course at least 24 hours before entering Zambia and continue taking the pills for six weeks after leaving the country. If you suffer from side effects, try taking your pills at night, after dinner as this usually minimises the effect of the symptoms.

Tourism Attractions

Victoria falls, these immense and awe–inspiring falls are known to the local Kololo people as the ‘Mosi-oa-;Tunya’ or ‘Smoke Which Thunders’. The official name for this breathtaking spectacle is Victoria Falls, named by David Livingstone in 1885 when he ‘discovered’ them. Many say they prefer the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, as it is less commercialised than the Zimbabwe tourist hub. The bridge has an amazing view of the Falls and the black shiny basalt rocks opposite, on which sits a lush green mist–soaked rain forest. One special vantage point is the Knife Edge Bridge, which affords views of the eastern cataract, the main falls, and Boiling Pot, where the river turns into the Batoka Gorge.

Getting around Towns and Cities

Bus services in Lusaka are provided by private minibuses and shared taxis. The buses are somewhat basic, and can become very crowded. Taxis are not metered and fares should be agreed in advance. It is also advisable to negotiate a fare.

Visa Requirements

VISAS: Required by all except.

  1. Nationals of the UK and Ireland (Nationals of other EU countries do require visas);
  2. Nationals of Commonwealth, Dependent and Associated states (with the exception of Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan, Sri Lanka do need visas);
  3. Nationals of Fiji, Norway, Romania, Sweden and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)

Types of visa: US $25 (Single Entry and Transit up to 7 Days, Tourist and Business) Zambian Kwacha K5,000 (Re–entry), US $ 40 (Double and Multiple Entry) Transit visas are not required by those exempted from full visas or by those continuing their journey by the same or next connecting flight within 24 hours and not leaving the airport. (Correct at time of print, please visit your nearest travel agent for updated details)