Travel Tips for Zambia

Some things to keep in mind when traveling to Zambia...

Departure Tax

When leaving Zambia on an International flight a US$25.00 departure tax is levied. A US$8.00 is levied for domestic flights. Departure tax has to be paid only in US$.

Location

Zambia, a landlocked country in south-central Africa, is about one-tenth larger than Texas. It is surrounded by Angola, Zaire, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. The country is mostly a plateau that rises to 8,000 feet in the east.

Climate

With a mild tropical climate, Zambia is warm all year round, but has three separate seasons. May to August is cool and dry; from September to November the country is hot and dry, while December to April is hot and wet. Heavy tropical storms can occur at the start of the wet season, which one should take into consideration when travelling to Zambia. The temperature range in summer is between 77°F and 95°F, while winter is slightly milder, dropping to 43°F to 75°F.

Entry Requirements

Ensure that your passport is valid through your return date home. American citizens can obtain visa upon entry to Zambia, for a fee of $50 USD. Canadians do not need a visa for entry.

Tipping Protocol

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.

Language

The population is comprised of approximately 72 ethnic groups, most of which are Bantu-speaking.

Health

In addition to up to date routine vaccinations, the following are needed at 4-6 weeks before departure: typhoid, hepatitis A, meningitis, yellow fever, polio, rabies and malaria.

Currency & Exchange, Credit Cards, and Banking

The currency of Zambia is the Kwacha with the international currency code ZMK. The kwatcha fluctuates greatly, even from week to week, so it's good to check the rates online. ATMs are widely available in urban areas. Credit cards are widely accepted and Visa and Mastercard are usually the preferred ones by merchants. American Express is usually only accepted by certain hotels and certain stores, so check before you decide to purchase anything if that's the only card you have. Please note that the networks are often down, so reserve some cash for your purchases as well- the network could be down all day.

Electricity

Electricity in Zambia is 230V and frequency is 50Hz. The socket/plug types are Type C, D and G. They look like this:

C Type socket/plug D type socket/plug and G type socket/plug

Religion

About 80 percent of the people in Zambia are Christian and Christianity is Zambia's official religion. However, many Zambians belong to independent churches which combine Christianity and African religions. Traditional beliefs still hold strong, particularly in rural areas.

Communication

The telephone system in Zambia is rather poor and often frustrating but usually in the urban areas it is possible to make international calls. GSM cell phones work in Zambia, even if the country is only partially covered. Cards can be purchased at the airport and the more modern three band phones will connect to the international network. Telephone services are not available in most Parks.

Jet lag

Westbound flights appear to be the worst for jet lag but many people report feelings of jet lag with any long haul flights. To prevent feeling the worse for wear when you arrive at your destination try the following tips: Be well rested before boarding your flight, drink plenty of fluids and cut back on the alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, try to exercise by stretching in your seat or strolling the isle. One of the best tips is to try to set your body clock to your destination’s time while in flight. Waiting until you land can leave you literally in the wrong time zone.

What to Pack
  • Khaki, brown, green and beige colors

  • Light cotton tops and cotton trousers

  • Shirts with long sleeves (even in summer, they will protect you from the sun and from mosquitoes)

  • T-shirts

  • Shorts or a light skirt

  • Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days

  • Sweater or fleece

  • Heavy jacket for game drives (especially during the winter months)

  • Socks

  • Comfortable walking shoes/boots

  • Sun block, sunglasses and insect repellent are essential

  • Hat

  • Light, compact raincoat during the rainy months