Zambia - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Zambia


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

The country's prime attraction is the spectacular, breathtaking Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Not only do the falls provide unmatched scenery as the water plunges into the depths of the gorge, but they are also the setting for a multitude of adrenaline pumping activities, like whitewater rafting, bungee jumping from the 364 foot (111m) high bridge, canoeing, abseiling, micro-lighting over the falls, elephant-back safaris, jet-boating through the rapids and many more.

If dry land is more to your taste, Zambia offers dozens of superb game parks stocked with a profusion of birds and wildlife. Chief among the parks is South Luangwa National Park, centred on the most intact major river system in Africa, which hosts a huge concentration of game. The legendary 'Zambian walking safari' originated in this park and still offers one of the finest ways to experience the African wilderness.

Visitors to Zambia seldom linger in the towns, being bent on safaris or destined for game lodges and adventure camps, but those who choose to explore the somewhat dishevelled capital, Lusaka, will find it has an interesting charm. More than half of the inhabitants of this over-populated city are unemployed, yet the atmosphere is far from despondent as the people hustle and bustle, determined to survive. Thousands of stalls line the streets offering a fascinating array of services and goods.

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

Information & Facts


Zambia is warm all year round, but has three distinct seasons. Between December and April the weather is hot and wet; from May to August it is cooler and dry; between September and November conditions are hot and dry. Average summer temperatures range between 77°F to 95°F (25°C to 35°C), while in winter the variation increases ranging from 43°F to 75°F (6°C to 24°C).


The international dialling code for Zambia is +260. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. 1 for Lusaka. Operator assisted calls can be booked by dialling 090 or 093. Public telephones are widely available, most requiring tokens, but card phones are now available from where international calls can be made. Connections tend to be bad, particularly outside of Lusaka. There are GSM 900 cell phone networks in operation, but coverage is limited mainly to urban areas. There are several Internet cafes in Livingstone and Lusaka, and secretarial services in Lusaka offer full telephone, fax, telex and email facilities. Postal services are fairly reliable.


Zambia's culture is largely patriarchal, however white visitors tend to be given more respect regardless of gender. Zambians are curious, and visitors should not be offended by stares and questions. Women should refrain from wearing short skirts and low-cut tops, and beachwear should be worn only on the beach, however casual dress is acceptable. The Western practise of 'getting to the point' is not practised in Zambian culture, and it is polite to say hello and exchange pleasantries before asking a question or requesting assistance. Shaking hands is a common greeting, and many Zambians will continue to hold hands throughout the conversation. It is traditional to eat with the right hand, and utensils are not used in many areas.

Duty Free

Travellers to Zambia over 18 years do not have to pay duty on the following items: 400 cigarettes or 500g tobacco, 1 bottle of alcohol and 2.5 litres of beer, and 1 ounce of perfume. Visitors may export the same items for free.

Electrical current in Zambia is 220 volts, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs, as well as two-and three pin round plugs are in use.

Typhoid, polio, rabies and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended for travel to Zambia. Malaria is endemic in Zambia (prophylaxis is essential), and outbreaks of cholera and dysentery are common especially during the rainy season. Visitors to game parks are at risk of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), which is carried by tsetse flies; insect repellent is ineffective against tsetse flies. The country also has one of the highest rates of HIV/Aids infection worldwide. Avoid swimming or wading in bodies of fresh water, such as lakes, ponds, streams, or rivers due to the presence of bilharzia. Medical facilities in the country are under-developed and limited to the point that basic drugs and even clean needles are often not available. The small clinics in Lusaka are regarded as superior to the general hospitals, but clinics in rural areas are rarely stocked with anything more than aspirin or plasters. Full travel insurance, including cover for medical evacuation by air, is therefore essential and it is vital to bring a good first aid kit. Avoid food bought from local street vendors and ensure drinking water is filtered and boiled, or bought in sealed, branded bottles.

There are over 73 dialects spoken in Zambia, but the official language is English. All business is in English and most Zambians speak it fairly well.

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 travellers cheques, US Dollars or Pounds Sterling which can be exchanged at the many bureaux de change found in the main towns. While most of the tourist hotels, restaurants, travel agents and larger shops, especially in Lusaka and Livingstone, accept credit cards many outlets in the rural areas do not and deal only in local currency. ATMs are available in Lusaka and some of the major towns. Banking hours vary but are usually 8.30am to 2.30pm on weekdays and mornings of the first and last Saturday of the month.

Passport Visa

A return ticket or proof of onward travel, all documents for next destination and proof of sufficient funds is required for all travellers. Visas issued on arrival vary in fee according to amount of entries and nationality. There is a special provision for day visitors coming across the border from Zimbabwe into Livingstone. For those nationalities requiring a visa for Zambia, a fee of US$10 is paid on arrival for a 'Day Tripper Visa' and is valid for a maximum stay of 24 hours. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Most visits to Zambia are trouble free, but visitors should be aware that car hijackings and armed robberies are increasing, and mugging, bag-snatching and theft from parked cars is common in downtown areas. Luxury 4x4 vehicles in particular are being targeted for vehicle hijacking. Visitors should avoid the Cairo Road in Lusaka, which is dangerous due to violent robberies. Be vigilant and do not display tempting valuables. Avoid the border areas where Zambia meets Angola and the DRC; cross-border raids are frequent and landmines are a potential danger. Many roads can become impassable in the rainy season (November to April).

Local time in Zambia is GMT +2.

Tipping in Zambia is discouraged, but still practised on occasion and is usually about 10%. A 10% service charge is included in bills, but tipping in hotels is against the law.

Kafue National Park is one of the largest parks in the world spanning a diverse 8,650 square miles (22,400 sq km). Kafu has yet to fully develop as a tourist destination giving excursion in the park an adventurous air. The forested southern portions of the park are soaked in the Lunga and Kafue rivers which gives way to the dry Busanga Plains in the north. Visitors are likely to see lions, cheetahs, elephants, Zebras and a host of other wildlife in their natural environment. Besides enjoying the wildlife through safaris, visitors can enjoy abundant birdwatching and fishing. Kafue is a 200 mile drive west of Lusaka but some of the parks interior roads are dilapidated, especially in the rainy season, making transport across only accessible to 4x4s or chartered flights.

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