The big, beautiful country of Zambia is situated in the heart of the African sub-continent, untainted by commercial tourist development, but nevertheless well-equipped to allow visitors to experience the warmth, excitement, challenges and adventures of the real 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 many 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 wetlands and wilderness of Zambia.
The Zambian currency is the Kwacha (ZMK), divided into 100
ngwee, but the coins are now worthless and seldom used. It is best
to bring travellers cheques, US Dollars or Pounds Sterling which
can be exchanged at the many bureaux de change found in the main
towns. 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 2.30pm on
weekdays and mornings of the first and last Saturday of the
|ZMK 1 =||US$ 0.02||Â£ 0.01||C$ 0.02||A$ 0.02||R 0.16||EUR 0.02||NZ$ 0.02|
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Typhoid, polio, rabies and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended for travel to Zambia. Malaria is endemic in Zambia (prophylaxis is essential), and outbreaks of cholera and dysentery are common especially during the rainy season. Yellow fever is a risk in the North West and Western provinces. Visitors to game parks are at risk of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), which is carried by tsetse flies; insect repellent is ineffective against tsetse flies. The country also has one of the highest rates of HIV/Aids infection worldwide. Avoid swimming or wading in bodies of fresh water, such as lakes, ponds, streams, or rivers due to the presence of bilharzia. Medical facilities in the country are under-developed and limited to the point that basic drugs and even clean needles are often not available. The small clinics in Lusaka are regarded as superior to the general hospitals, but clinics in rural areas are rarely stocked with anything more than aspirin or plasters. Full travel insurance, including cover for medical evacuation by air, is therefore essential and it is vital to bring a good first aid kit. Avoid food bought from local street vendors and ensure drinking water is filtered and boiled, or bought in sealed, branded bottles.
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. There is a special provision for day visitors coming across the border from Zimbabwe into Livingstone. For those nationalities requiring a visa for Zambia, a fee of US$10 is paid on arrival for a 'Day Tripper Visa' and is valid for a maximum stay of 24 hours. 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.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Zambia National Tourist Board, Lusaka: +260 (0)1 229 087 or www.zambiatourism.com
Foreign Embassies in Zambia
The cosmopolitan capital of Zambia, Lusaka is home to roughly 1/10th of the country's population. The city is a mixture of modern and traditional business in Africa as new high-rise buildings towers over colourful outdoor markets.
Lusaka is home to a number of sights and attractions, including museums like the Lusaka National Museum, the Political Museum and the Zintu Community Museum; monuments and statues dedicated to freedom fighters; and cultural attractions like a theatre, cinema, zoo, golf club and the Munda Wanga Environmental Park.
The city is the best shopping destination in Zambia, with traditional goods and handcrafted souvenirs on sale next to Western shops like Woolworth's and Shoprite. There are a variety of restaurants ranging from pizza and sandwich shops to Korean barbecue and Pakistani kormas, and enough bars and clubs to keep both locals and visitors entertained.
Lusaka is within driving distance of many of Zambia's game parks, including South Luangwa National Park and Kafue National Park. Blue Lagoon is a popular excursion for viewing game like zebra, buffalo and hippos.
Livingstone, also known as Maramba, is a historic colonial city on the southern border of Zambia. Incorporated as part of Northern Rhodesia under Cecil John Rhodes, the town gained prominence in the 19th century as a trading hub for passage across the Zambezi River.
As trade and industry in the region has declined, the town has embraced the tourist trade that comes naturally to it. Just 6.2 miles (10km) from the Zambezi River, Livingstone is a popular gateway to the mighty Victoria Falls and has benefitted from the hordes of tourists that flock there each year. Its colonial past means the city has a number of historical buildings; and several good museums devoted to archaeology, history, ethnography, geology, railways, and of course the town's namesake: David Livingstone.
Livingstone is a great base from which to explore the abundant nature and wildlife of southern Zambia. Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park offers birdwatching and game safaris, and a number of cruises and water activities are available along the Zambezi River.
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