Zambia Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Zambia in 2023
Welcome to Zambia
Zambia is one of the dream destinations for tourists, offering the best safari experiences in the world, as the incredible concentration of wildlife and the stunning Victoria Falls make for a unique and surely unforgettable trip.
In recent years, Zambia has become a highly sought after tourist destination, a must-see if you enjoy walking safaris. To prepare you for a new adventure, we offer you the ultimate Zambia travel guide with all the practical tips and inspiration you need.
Document checklist for Zambia
Visa (if applicable)
Return airline ticket
Essential Zambia travel information
Currency - Zambian kwacha (ZK). $1 is equivalent to approx. ZK 18.
Daily budget for 1 person - Per day, prepare to spend ZK 907 ($50).
Languages - English is the official language of Zambia, which is used in business and education. However, the main local languages are Nyanja and Bemba.
Socket type - For Zambia, there are three associated plug types, C, D, and G. The country operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Time zone - Central Africa Time (CAT), UTC +2.
Top 3 cities to visit - Lusaka, Livingstone, and Ndola.
Top 3 landmarks/monuments - South Luangwa National Park, Victoria Falls, and Kafue National Park.
Visa information for Zambia
According to your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa to visit Zambia. Use our convenient Visa Checker Tool to check if you need a visa to visit the country, and apply directly.
The Zambia KAZA UniVisa explained
The Zambia KAZA UniVisa pilot project was designed in collaboration with the World Bank to facilitate easier travel for foreign tourists between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The KAZA UniVisa is a special travel document that allows entry into Zambia and Zimbabwe as often as you like within 30 days (Multiple Entry), as well as a single entry into Botswana for a day trip through the Kazungula border. You must visit Zambia as the first country on your list in order to be eligible for this visa.
The Zambia Tourist eVisa explained
The Zambian Tourist e-visa is an official document that allows eligible nationals entry to Zambia for tourist purposes, for which they need to apply in advance. There are 3 types of Zambia eVisas, the single-entry, double-entry and multiple-entry visa.
Typical costs and budget for Zambia
Listed below are the costs to take into account when planning your budget for your trip to Zambia.
Daily spending per person - Allow a daily budget of ZK 907 ($50).
Meals - On average you’ll spend ZK 217 ($12) on meals per day in Zambia.
Transport - Depending on what type of transport you use, local transportation will cost between ZK 54 ZK 180 ($3 - $10).
Hotel - Accommodation for one person in a budget hotel costs on average ZK 450 ($26) per night.
Overall, depending on your needs, you may spend up to ZK 10,000 ($700) for a one week of comfortable stay in Zambia for two people. However, choosing budget options may help to spend less than that.
Transport and ways to travel around Zambia
There are several ways to explore Zambia. However, it would help if you remembered that the roads are not well maintained, so choose what suits your needs and what fits your standards.
Minibus - Local minibuses have specific routes, and it is a very economical way to travel. Before getting on one of these cars, confirm the destination with the driver or assistant.
Bus - Buses and coaches depart in Lusaka from the intercity bus station to cities such as Kapiri, Livingstone, and Ndola, as well as neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, and Tanzania. You can book in advance on the website or buy tickets at the bus station.
Train - The Tazara train (Tanzania-Zambia Railway) is an option to travel from central Zambia to northern Zambia and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, if you want to travel to both countries. There are economic tickets available from ZK 430 ($24). It is advisable to book your trip one month in advance to avoid disappointment.
Domestic flights - If you want to save time, you can travel per domestic flight to various destinations, as airstrips for microlight flights are dotted around the country.
Lusaka, Ndola, Mfuwe, and Livingstone have major airports, with several airlines flying to each daily. Charter flights to airstrips such as Royal and Jeki in South Luangwa National Park are also frequent.
If you travel in high season, make sure you book your flight in advance for lower prices.
- Private taxis - These are the taxis that operate legally and are characterized by having the sign ‘taxi' on top of the car. You can find them at the main shopping centers such as Manda Hill, East Park, and the airport in Lusaka, among other places.
It is essential to know that before taking a trip with a taxi, you need to negotiate the price with the driver so that you know how much the trip will cost so as not to be surprised by the price.
- Private car hire - This is the best option for exploring remote places. There are several car rental agencies in the country, and some of them may ask you for an international driving license. If you take this option, try to have all the necessary documentation.
You can also hire a driver, but it will cost you a little more. However, renting a car may be dangerous, as roads are not well maintained, so experience is needed.
Safety in Zambia
Zambia is generally a safe country to travel to as a tourist. However, always be alert and take the necessary precautions to avoid theft and pickpocketing.
Here are a few recommendations for traveling around Zambia:
Women can travel alone safely, but avoiding going out late at night is advisable.
Purchase travel insurance in case of emergencies. You can have medical access more easily.
Only drink water from sealed bottles. It is not recommended to drink water from the tap.
Only keep money for the day in your pocket, and travel with small amounts of cash.
Weather in Zambia
The best time to travel in Zambia is during the cool, dry season between June and November when the days are warm and the nights cold. Temperatures can range between 23°C/ 73°F and 36°C/97°F throughout the country. In addition, you have more chances to explore and observe wildlife in all its glory, as grass is low.
In the rainy season (mid-November to April) the roads might flood and it gets harder to travel around, plus most attractions close. However, the best time to visit Victoria Falls is just after the summer rains from February to May, when the most amount of water flows at Victoria Falls.
Popular cities and towns in Zambia
Here’s our top 5 of the best cities and towns in Zambia to explore:
Lusaka is the capital of Zambia and one of the major cities to enjoy, with unique bars, great restaurants, and hidden cafés. In addition, you can visit the Lusaka National Park as well as the Zambian Historical Center and get to know the history of the country.
Livingstone is a dynamic city with plenty of shops and local markets to find a vibrant atmosphere. Here, locals and foreigners mix, giving an exotic touch to the town. It’s also the gateway to the magical Victoria Falls.
Ndola is a welcoming city with friendly locals. Here you can visit the famous Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial Site, the Copperbelt Museum, and many other attractions.
Kitwe is the second-largest city in Zambia. It has a large mining industry and numerous tourist attractions for visitors who wish to explore places such as Mwekwera Falls, Mindolo Dam, Kumasamba Lodge, Chembe Bird Sanctuary, and Nkana Mines.
Kabwe, which Australian and European miners nicknamed Broken Hill after its similarity to the namesake town in Australia, offers attractions such as the BigTree National Monument, fishing, the Mulungushi River, Lukanga Swamp, and Broken Hill Man Memorial.
Must do and see in Zambia
To get to know Zambia better, it is necessary to know the most beautiful landmarks and landscapes this country offers, from safaris full of wildlife to incredible waterfalls and other unmissable national parks. Here are the best things to do in Zambia!
Visit the incredible Zambian national parks
South Luangwa National Park is the most popular safari destination and one of Zambia's best places to see wildlife. It has the largest concentration of animals in Africa. It is home to crocodiles, hippos, elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, and buffaloes.
We recommend visiting this wildly intense place in the dry season, as the animals flock to the river banks, giving a unique opportunity to see lions and leopards in action. One of the most unique things to do here is doing a walking safari, which was introduced in the 1960s. Victoria Falls is located between the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, on the Zambezi River. The highest point reached 355 feet (108 meters), but its width is even more surprising, which is more than a mile. More than five hundred million cubic meters of water plummets into the gorge per minute. Victoria Falls is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Zambia that cannot be taken off your travel list.
Kafue National Park is the oldest national park in one of the largest protected hunting areas in Africa. You can spot antelopes, African wild dogs, elephants, and unique lizards.
Lower Zambezi National Park is known for its onslaught of safari options and ecotourism. Here lions, elephants, buffalo, and leopards congregate to drink water and feed.
The Zambezi River is the fourth-largest river in Africa. It is more than 2500 km long before ending in the Indian Ocean. In the dry season, the Zambezi River is the only water source for much of Zambia's game, making it a perfect place for a safari.
Typical Zambian food to try
To get to know a country, is to get to know its food. Here are some recommendations for local dishes to try in Zambia:
Chibwabwa - This dish is typically prepared for formal events. It consists of tomatoes, onions, pumpkin leaves, and (optionally) peanuts. The ingredients are boiled in water until the mixture thickens in texture.
Ifisashi- This is a traditional Zambian stew made with peanuts, tomatoes, onions, and vegetables, such as sweet potato leaves, spinach, and cabbage.
Chikanda- This Zambian appetizer is made of tubers of the Chikanda orchids. Small tubers are dried and crushed, then combined with a thick mixture of peanuts and dried chilies.
Vaccine information for Zambia
There are various diseases that occur in Zambia that you are unlikely to be resistant to. Vaccines can protect you against these diseases. The most common health risks and diseases in Zambia are Dengue, DTP, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Zika, and Hepatitis A and B. Contact your local doctor for vaccine recommendations.
Please note that being vaccinated against Yellow Fever may be mandatory if traveling from a high risk area. You can travel to Zambia without being vaccinated for COVID-19, but testing requirements may apply.
Want to know all the information about COVID-19 vaccination and other vaccines? Check the CDC website to find everything you need to know to prepare for your trip.
Visiting the Victoria Falls in Zambia
Awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur can be seen at Victoria Falls, located on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the 1800s, the Kololo tribe living in the area described it as 'Mosi-oa-Tunya', or The Smoke that Thunders.
The falls can be viewed from a path along the edge of the forest. A beautiful viewpoint is offered at the Knife-edge Bridge, where visitors have the best vantage point over the Eastern Cataract and the main falls as well as the Boiling Pot, from which the river flows down the Batoka Gorge.
Other great spots include Livingstone Island, the Falls Bridge, and the Lookout Tree. Devil’s Pool is a natural swimming pool on the edge of the falls, offering panoramic views across. Many visitors travel to both Zimbabwe and Zambia because both sides offer unique views.
The [KAZA UniVisa] for entry into both Zimbabwe and Zambia is available at all major ports of entry into both countries, making it easier than ever to experience both sides of the falls. To find out more, click here.
Fun facts about Zambia
A few facts about Zambia that might surprise you:
Zambia was named after the fourth-biggest river in Africa. The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa after the Nile, Congo, and Niger Rivers.
The local currency is the Zambian kwacha, which translates to 'dawn'. However, most ATMs give out US dollars, which you can use for larger purchases or when paying at hotels and restaurants.
Victoria Falls are home to Devil's Pool, a natural pool that can be safely swum in during the dry season. At first glance, the pool looks extremely dangerous, but due to an underwater lip, it's safe.
In Zambia, it's possible to see the 'big five': the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo.
More than 72 languages are spoken in Zambia.
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