Travelling in Zambia is generally very easy, safe and mostly straightforward.
With one of the fastest developing economies in Southern Africa, Zambia is very well set up for independent travellers. The capital Lusaka is a bustling city with several large shopping malls, cinemas, hotels and lots of minibuses!
In rural Zambia life still largely revolves around subsistence farming; amenities like ATMs and shops stocking imported goods are fewer and further between.
People in Zambia are extremely welcoming and friendly. It pays to be polite in Zambia; good manners are highly regarded. In larger towns and cities, English is widely spoken. In rural areas, English is less commonly spoken; here a little bit of local lingo goes a long way!
Coaches and minibuses travel between Lusaka and all major towns, and the domestic airline Proflight Zambia also flies from the capital to most large towns.
If you are travelling overland, be prepared for your journey to sometimes take longer than expected thanks to varying road conditions. In this case, just kick back, enjoy the adventure, and revel in the knowledge that everything will happen on Zambia time!
Citizens of most European and North American countries require tourist visas to enter Zambia. The easiest way to get a visa is to buy one at your point of entry. Single entry visas cost $50, multiple-entry visas are $85. Full information on visas is available from the Zambian Department of Immigration website.
The Zambian Kwacha is the currency of Zambia. Most shops, restaurants and bars will ask for payment in Zambian Kwacha.
Tour operators will often be happy to accept payment in dollars, euros, pounds or rand. Money can be easily exchanged at bureaux de change and banks in major towns like Lusaka, Livingstone and Chipata.
Credit/debit cards can be used at most major towns for payment and to withdraw cash. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in Zambia; Mastercard is being recognised by more establishments, but there are some places where you will only be able to use Visa.
It is best to check with tour operators in advance about the methods of payment they accept. Also be aware that most businesses will charge a 5 or 6% commission on card payments, as this is the charge levied by Zambian banks to process them.
Zambia is in a malaria zone. We strongly recommend that you take anti-malaria medication wherever you stay in the country. It is best to speak to your medical practitioner before you travel to determine which type of medication is best for you.
Malaria carrying mosquitoes are always more active at dusk and after dark. At these times, try to always wear long sleeves and long trousers. It’s also really important to wear mosquito repellent at night and to sleep under a treated mosquito net. Finally, if you begin to feel unwell, seek medical treatment at a recommended clinic as soon as possible.
Still have questions? Please feel free to drop us a line if there is any more information you need.