Zambia is one of Africa’s most urbanised countries. However the Government has allocated large areas of land to conservation projects, national parks and game management areas; therefore much of the country remains wild, underdeveloped and unspoilt. Many of these parks are home to incredible numbers of Africa’s most-feted wild mammals and extraordinary birdlife.
With English as the main business language and high ethnic diversity, Zambia has remained one of the few African countries to have little tribal animosity or political problems.
Zambia is +2 hour time difference to London GMT.
Safety – High Level
Zambia is widely regarded as one of the safest countries in Africa and is politically stable. Travel in major cities as well as at National Parks and game reserves is generally safe during daylight hours. Security risks increase after dark. Be vigilant, keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed when driving and remain aware of your surroundings, especially after dark.
TOP TIP – Use a smaller wallet for day to day things, replenish as required; prying eyes will not then see your main cash. Make photocopies of important documents like tickets, insurance papers, passport, and visa and keep them separate. It is also recommended to scan these documents and email a copy to yourself and somebody at home, along with your flight and other travel details. If you don't have a scanner, you can leave photocopies with somebody at home.
Flying and Airports
Getting here is made easy by the daily flights from Johannesburg, or with Kenyan Airways making flights from Nairobi each week, as well as flights from Dubai into Lusaka. Zambia’s Lusaka International Airport is based near the capital Lusaka. Transfers can be made to Livingstone International Airport, the nearest Airport to Victoria Falls, although there are some direct flights in from Johannesburg and Nairobi. Average transfer time from London to Lusaka is 13 hours (excluding stop overs). Internal flights are generally by smaller lightweight aircraft between the local airstrips servicing the many reserves, towns and lodges.
Airport Taxes - Both international and domestic airport taxes should be included in your ticket price. Note - for charter flights and seat rate charters these are NOT included.
Passport & Visa
You need to ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months remaining between date of departure from the country and the date of expiry, as well as sufficient blank pages for visa and stamps. There are Points of Sale for those requiring Visa’s at Lusaka and Livingstone International Airports, a single visa is $50 cash and double or multi entry visa is $80 cash. Inevitably these Points of Sale do become busy during arrival periods and there can be a period of waiting in line, nevertheless we at ASE offer a meet and greet system on arrival to all our guests, which includes fast tracking through immigration. However as of October 2015, foreign nationals who require visas, and allowing for 3 – 5 working days, can apply by the online e-Visa facility –
**Families travelling with children : From the 1st of June 2015 all foreign nationals and South Africans travelling with children under 18, to or from South Africa as well as travellers in transit will be requested to provide an unabridged birth certificate (including the details of the child's father as well as the mother) of all travelling children. This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children. Should only one parent be travelling with a child, he or she must produce an unabridged birth certificate and consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child, giving authority for him or her to enter into or depart from South Africa with the child he or she is travelling with. When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel. If you require any further information please do contact us.
Malaria is common in the low lying areas of the country which include most of the good wildlife destinations. You MUST have malaria protection and we would recommend tetanus, yellow fever and the hepatitis vaccinations. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for all persons arriving from a country with risk of Yellow Fever or who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in a country with risk of Yellow Fever.
It is advisable to know your blood group type in case of emergency.
Chemists / Pharmacies - Traveller’s naturally should carry an adequate supply of their prescribed medicines with them. There are chemists in the major centres and there are some emergency chemists open after hours on Sundays in Lusaka. However, medical services are underdeveloped and only in Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone are there anything resembling western standards. In the rural areas the clinics usually only have the basics.
Some over the counter drugs available in the UK are not legal in Zambia. Please check your ingredients carefully and contact the Government of Zambia’s Pharmaceutical Authority for further advice if you are in any doubt (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Customs Officers may ask to see prescriptions for any medication you bring into the country.
Tap water in the major towns is purified and perfectly safe to drink. In the more remote areas always boil it first, except if you’re staying at a lodge or hotel where drinking water is boiled already. Bottled water is readily available in the bigger towns.
Medical Insurance - medical insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country and should include emergency air evacuation coverage if you’re spending any time in remote parts of the country.
Cash and Travellers’ cheques* are accepted. Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted but not in remote areas and should not be relied on except in major towns. US dollars are easier to change than sterling – although it is worth asking for only new US dollar bills - i.e. ones with large heads as some US$ banknotes may not be accepted due to the high levels of counterfeit currency in circulation in Africa.
The currency in Zambia is the Zambian Kwacha. US Dollars cash can be used at all major outlets such as hotels and airports.
*(nb: Travellers cheques are widely accepted although no longer as commonly used)
Zambia has very obvious wet and dry seasons which have a huge influence on game-viewing or Bird Watching. There are three seasons – cool and dry from May to August, hot and dry from September to November, and warm and wet from December to April.
In the warm wet season, (Dec-Apr) frequent heavy showers and thunderstorms occur, followed by spells of bright sunshine. This time of year provides excellent bird viewing and a great opportunity to see the Lions and Leopards and their cubs near the roadside. January - April are particularly good months for visiting the Falls due to high water levels.
During the cool dry season, (May-Aug) night frosts may occur in places sheltered from the wind. You are advised to bring warm clothing for early morning and late night game drives during this time. Yet daytime remains hot.
Temperatures rise high during the hot, dry season (Sept-Nov) from Jul/Aug onwards is the best game viewing as the grasses have dropped and water becomes more difficult, the animal and bird spotting becomes superb.
Local Laws and Customs
It is illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence. Those caught purchasing or trafficking such goods will be prosecuted and receive prison sentences or fines.
Avoid buying ivory – The import and export of ivory produce is banned.
The possession of pornographic material is illegal in Zambia and offenders may be jailed and/or deported.
Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia and those caught engaging in homosexual acts can be sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.
The Zambian Authorities do not always inform the British High Commission when British Nationals have been arrested. If you are detained for any reason, we can support you in your right to contact a British Consular Officer.
Avoid taking pictures of sensitive sites including power stations, explosives factories, pumping stations, army barracks, government buildings, mining areas, refineries and airports. If in doubt don’t take a picture.
Respect the local people – ask before taking any photographs. Do not worry if you do not speak the language as a smile and gesture will be understood.
Respect local etiquette – tight fitting or revelling clothes may be insensitive to local feeling and public displays of affection are very inappropriate
Greetings – African society is rarely as rushed as westerners. When you first meet someone you should always greet them leisurely “Good morning/Afternoon, how are you” before embarking on any questions.
Strong insect repellent, high factor sun screen, anti-histamine cream AND tablets, brimmed hat, sun glasses, good walking shoes/boots.
Binoculars and a torch…who wants to pass binoculars on when there is a leopard or elephant to be seen?
Most camps and lodges do regular laundry – don’t over pack!
Glasses (for safety pack two pairs) – safari is a dusty adventure; those with contact lenses may find this a difficulty.