Overview of Zambia
The big, beautiful country of Zambia is situated in the heart of the African sub-continent, largely untainted by commercial tourist development, but nevertheless well-equipped to allow visitors to experience the warmth, excitement, challenges and adventures of 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 much 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 varied wilderness of Zambia.
- There are many dialects spoken in Zambia, but the official language is English. Most business is conducted in English and most Zambians speak it fairly well.
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. Passports must have at least one blank visa page. It is also possible to obtain an e-visa online prior to departure for Zambia; passengers must have printed confirmation of the e-visa with them upon arrival. There is a special provision for day visitors coming across the border from Zimbabwe into Livingstone. 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.
The Zambian currency is the Kwacha (ZMW), recently divided into 1,000 ngwee (instead of 100), and coins have become largely obsolete. It is best to bring US Dollars or Pounds Sterling, which can be exchanged at the many bureaux de change found in the main towns; avoid exchanging money outside of banks or respected hotels. 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 3.30pm on weekdays and mornings on Saturdays.
- Electrical current in Zambia is 230 volts, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs, as well as two- and three-pin round plugs are in use.