The average tourist knows very little about Zambia, other than the fact that it is located somewhere on the African continent. Zambia is rarely found among the recommended and popular travel destinations.
Nevertheless, there is also a lot to see and enjoy. The rich Zambian nature, topped with the legendary Victoria Falls, will delight the eyes of even the most sophisticated tourists.
About the country
The first people in what is now Zambia appeared thousands of years ago. Some chaotic tribal cultures continued here long enough until the first state formations emerged in XVI-XVII centuries.
Already in the XVIII century European colonizers came here, and by the XIX century Zambia was ruled by Britain and Portugal. In 1964, on the same wave as many of its neighbors, Zambia gained its independence.
What you need to know about Zambia:
The capital is Lusaka;
Area – 752.6 thousand km2;
Population – 18.7 million people;
The form of government is a presidential republic;
Currency is the Zambian kwacha;
Russian citizens require a visa to Zambia. It is possible to obtain it on arrival.
Zambia is located in southern Africa, and borders with eight countries. Zambia’s neighbors to the east are Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique; to the north is the DR Congo; to the west is Angola; and to the south Namibia and Zimbabwe border Botswana for another 100 meters. Zambia is divided into ten provinces, roughly equal in size and population.
Zambia’s terrain for the most part consists of plateaus, which range in height from 900 to 1,500 meters above sea level (in some places up to 2,000 meters). The country’s main river is the Zambezi (Zambezi), whose basin includes about 80% of all inland waters.
Zambia lies in the subequatorial and partly in the tropical climatic zone. Given the uniformity of the surface topography, the weather throughout the country is also fairly uniform.
Zambia has three main seasons – the cold and dry period from May to July, hot and dry through October, and warm and humid the remaining six months. The average temperature during the cold season ranges from +15+20°C, and during the warm season it rises to +24+28°C.
The largest amount of precipitation falls in the period from January to March. Throughout the country, rainfall varies from the northern regions (1200 to 1400 mm per year) to the south (up to 500 to 700 mm in the arid Zambezi River Valley).
What to see in Zambia
Of the cultural and historical attractions in Zambia, not many monuments have survived to this day. So the main treasure of the country – in its fantastic African nature.
This, however, does not mean that there is nothing to see in the cities of Zambia. The richest on places of interest is Livingstone, located in the south of the country, near the border with Zimbabwe.
The city was named after David Livingstone, one of the greatest African explorers of XIX century. Of course, this means that this city has his museum.
In addition to the scientist’s life story, the National Livingstone Museum also houses many extremely valuable artifacts he found during his lifetime, including a Neanderthal skull that is more than 100,000 years old.
Another museum in Livingstone is the Railway Museum. It is very close to the train station and is a collection of old trains and engines, from which you can trace the history of the local railroad.
And how could you be in an African city without the market? The main bazaar in Livingstone is called Maramba and here you can buy almost anything you like – from national fabrics, crockery and furniture, to a variety of amulets and magical devices.
The locals also regularly go here, but for tourists this place is definitely a must-see.
On the outskirts of Livingston is a place more interesting than the usual bazaars. This is Chief Mukuni Village, a traditional settlement of the local Leia tribe.
It is important to note that this is no piece park, built especially for tourists, and this is a real full-fledged village, which is home to about 5 thousand people.
The inhabitants, however, are always very welcome and warmly welcome all tourists, gladly showing them their life, craft, and treating them to traditional food and drink.
In the capital of Zambia, the city of Lusaka, there are very few really worthwhile places. One of them is again the Kamvala market. You could say all the same about it as about Maramba, except that it is a capital city.
The vast expanse of Kafue National Nature Park begins 200 kilometers west of Lusaka. This is the largest Zambian park formed around the Kafue River basin, which has forests, savannahs, and sandy shores.
The park is also home to almost all the main symbols of African wildlife – lions, elephants, zebras, antelope and many other species.
Another national park is South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia. This is almost 9,000 km2 of the valley of the river of the same name. The main “chip” of this park can be called the numerous populations of elephants, some herds may number up to a hundred individuals at once.
Perhaps the main attraction of the whole of Zambia can safely be called the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, a truly unique place. The water of the Zambezi falls from a height of about 120 meters, and the width of the entire waterfall is almost two kilometers.
The powerful sound of the waterfall can be heard within a radius of 40 kilometers around. The local tribes call it Mosi-oa-tunya, which means “the rumbling smoke”. A nature park organized near the waterfall on the Zambian side bears the same name.
The location is open even at night, as admiring the waterfall in the moonlight is a separate pleasure. A little upstream, right in the middle of the river is Livingstone Island, the place from which the great traveler himself first saw the majestic waterfall.
A much less famous, but just as steep, waterfall stretches 300 kilometers downstream of the Zambezi. Ngonye Falls, and its main advantage is that it is less popular with tourists, so there are far fewer annoying crowds than in Victoria.
There are caves in Zambia, the most famous of which is Nsalu Cave, located in the north-east. Here you can see samples of ancient rock art, made 20 thousand years ago.
It is impossible not to mention the very popular African lake – Lake Tanganyika. It is shared by four countries, Zambia has only a small piece in the south, but even that is enough to enjoy the beauty and scenic beauty of the place.
Mobile Communications and the Internet
The cell phone industry in Zambia is quite well developed, with more than 80% of the population connected. There are three main “whales” that cover the market – MTN, Airtel and Zamtel.
It is most advantageous to take tariffs with mobile Internet, as cellular service here can be intermittent, and call rates are not the best.
- MTN – 7 USD for 10 Gb internet.
- Airtel – 9,5 USD for 10 Gb internet.
- Zamtel: 5.5 USD for 11 Gb of Internet.
You can buy a SIM card in many places. At the official points of sale, you will need to register your SIM card and show appropriate documents.
You can buy a card without registration from street vendors, but there it will be about twice the price (about 0.6 USD vs. 0.3 in the salon).
In Lusaka, there are many outlets with free wireless Internet. But in smaller cities such service will be harder to find, except at popular tourist spots, like Victoria Falls.
Tips and Tricks
- Always remember that you’re in the heart of Africa, so even without going into natural parks, you need to watch out for wildlife. And in the reserves even more – to walk only where the guide allows, and listen to his instructions.
- Don’t linger in the capital, it’s better to move to Livingstone as soon as you arrive, because most of the country’s sights are concentrated around it.
- It’s better to stock up on cash, because credit cards are not accepted everywhere, and suddenly finding yourself without the ability to pay is a bad idea.
Speaking about transport in Zambia, it is important to mention the quality of local roads, only 25% of which are paved here. It is better not to drive yourself on unpaved roads, to avoid extreme situations.
You can rent a car in Zambia. The easiest way to do this is at the airport, where you can find the major global brands and some local carriers. It is recommended to take a car with four-wheel drive, given the less than ideal condition of the roads.
The requirements are quite standard – an international driver’s license, a credit card, and the age of the driver is 21 years old or older. Remember also that most roads in Zambia are poorly lit and often not at all, so it is better to refrain from night driving.
The main type of public transport in Zambia are buses. They run throughout the country, with their help you can get almost anywhere. Buses are divided into different classes, depending on comfort. From this respectively varies and the cost of travel.
For example, from Lusaka to Livingstone the cheapest ticket will cost $13 – $15, but there are also for $20 – $25. Of course, the schedule of Zambian buses is purely symbolic, and follow it very rarely, so you should not rely on it. In addition, there are also tourist buses that are organized to take visitors to places of interest.
In towns is easiest to travel by shuttle buses, city buses, or cabs.
How to get to Zambia
Zambia has three international airports. Two of them, namely Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport (LVI) in Livingstone, and Mfuwe Airport (MFU) take flights only from neighboring countries – South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia.
The main arrival point for most tourists is Kenneth Kaunda Airport (LUN) in the capital Lusaka. In addition to African carriers, Turkish Airlines and Emirates direct flights from Istanbul and Dubai also fly here. Connections through these cities are the easiest way to get to Zambia.
The total flight time to Lusaka from Moscow is about 12 to 13 hours, not counting the connection. This is assuming the shortest flight via Turkey or the UAE.
There are other ways to fly to Zambia; depending on the price, flight time and number of connections you can choose the best option.
Step by step around the world
Zambia, or the full official form, the Republic of Zambia, is a state located in South Africa. Zambia gained independence in 1964, but before that it was under British rule and was called Northern Rhodesia. It is a country with a very interesting culture, original traditions, unique places which will be remembered for a lifetime. On this land there are beautiful nature reserves, with rare animals, diverse birds and unusual plants. Huge expanses of undiscovered national parks, tiny villages densely populated by local natives, the world famous Victoria Falls, and life, which has not changed for centuries. This small African country has almost no cities, and the population is one of the lowest on the African continent.
Zambia is an undiscovered country
The capital of Zambia is the largest and youngest city in the country, Lusaka . The city was built in 1905 and named after a tribal chief who lived in the settlement at the time. In 1931 Lusaka became the administrative center of the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and in 1964 it was made the capital as a result of Zambia’s declaration of independence.
Originally a small railway station, Lusaka is today the political, industrial and cultural center of Zambia. The city was planned as a colonial city, with a clear division of residential areas into European, African and Asian. The most affluent areas of the capital settled on the plateau stretching southeast from the railroad. In the old part of Kabwata you can see several hundred identical tiny round huts under thatched roofs. On the territory of the capital are concentrated many enterprises of light, food, chemical and metallurgical industries, some of the leading educational institutions of the country, museums and galleries.
The flag of the Republic of Zambia is a rectangular cloth of bright green color with an aspect ratio of 2:3. In the lower right corner of the Zambian flag is a flag of three vertical stripes of red, black, and orange, and in the upper right corner is an image of a screaming eagle , with its wings open.
- Green is the symbol of Zambia’s natural wealth
- The red color stands for the blood of the people spilled for the country’s independence
- Orange symbolizes the country’s wealth of mineral resources, particularly copper
- The shrieking eagle symbolizes the importance of Zambia’s people, not its problems
See all the flags of the world here.
The coat of arms of the Republic of Zambia is a black shield with six vertical silver wavy pillars. Above the shield are a crossed hoe, a pickaxe and a golden screech-eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer), with its wings open. The shield is held on the left side by a man dressed in green and on the right by a woman dressed in red. The shield-holders stand on a green grass cover. At the base of the coat of arms is a silver motto ribbon, on which is written in English “One Zambia One Nation”. which translates into Russian as “One Zambia, One Nation” .
- The black field of the shield symbolizes the African continent
- the silver pillars are the Victoria Falls
- The eagle symbolizes freedom and national hope for the future
- hoe and pickaxe symbolize agriculture and mining in the country
- green grass cover – flora and fauna of Zambia
- man and woman – inhabitants of the Republic of Zambia
All the coats of arms of the countries of the world , see here.
“Stand and Sing of Zambia” (“Lumbanyeni Zambia”) is the national anthem of Zambia, adopted after independence in 1964. The music of the anthem is identical to “God Bless Africa,” written by Enoch Sontonga and used as part of the South African anthem, but the words for the Zambian anthem were composed anew because Sontonga’s song is about Africa as a whole. Read the text of the Zambian anthem…
The national currency of the Republic of Zambia is the Zambian Kwacha (international designation ZMW , symbol – K , ZK ), consisting of 100 Ngwe . The kwacha means “freedom” in one of the local dialects. In January 2013, the Zambian government denominated the national currency, reducing the value of banknotes by a factor of 1,000. Coins in denominations of 5, 10, 50 Ngwe and 1 Kwacha and bills in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Kwacha are now in circulation. All banknotes of the new series show the year 2012, the protection of banknotes against fakes was improved. All banknotes are paper based.
Zambia on the world map
The Republic of Zambia – a state in central Africa, in its southern part, bordered in the north by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north-east – with Tanzania, east – with Malawi, in the south – with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and in the west – with Angola. It is landlocked. Zambia covers an area of 752,614 km², most of which is a plateau at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 m above sea level. The main landforms are rift depressions and river valleys.
About 70% of the area is occupied by the Zambezi River Basin, and the rest belongs to the Congo River Basin. Zambia has a large river system formed by the Zambezi River and its tributaries, the Luangwa and Kafue Rivers, forming deep valleys and waterfalls, the most famous of which is Victoria Falls, located on the southern border with Zimbabwe. In the north of the country there are large lakes of tectonic origin – Tanganyika, Bangweulu and Mweru, which are among the seven largest lakes of Africa. About 30% of the territory is occupied by 19 national parks and 34 nature reserves. The largest of these is Kafue Park, located in central Zambia, an area of 22,400 km².
What to see in Zambia
Zambia’s main attraction is the national parks and reserves, which are home to elephants, giraffes, zebras and buffalo. Antelopes, leopards and lions roam free on the wooded and grassy plains, while hippos and Nile crocodiles splash in the lagoons.
Below is a list of the most popular attractions, which you should pay attention to when planning excursions in Zambia:
- Victoria Falls
- Kalambo Falls
- Railway Museum
- Maramba Cultural Museum
- Chirundu Fossil Forest
- Victoria Falls Bridge
- Moto Moto Museum
- Choma Craft Museum
- Lusaka National Museum
- Mosiah Yao-Tunya National Park
- Lover Zambezi National Park
- Sambu National Park
- Lake Kariba
- Lake Mweru
- Lake Tanganyika
- Copperbelt Province
- Zambezi River
- Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia
The Zambian climate is sub equatorial with three distinct seasons – rainy and warm (November to April), dry and cool (May to July), dry and hot (August to October). The seasons in Zambia are the opposite of those of the northern hemisphere – spring lasts from September to October, summer from late October to mid-March, fall from late March to April, and winter from May to August. During the whole year the air temperature stays almost the same and makes +16°C … +18°C – during “cold” period, and +25°C … +27°C – during “hot” period. Excessive heat is observed only in the Zambezi and Luangwa valleys.
The average annual rainfall ranges from 700 mm in the south to 1500 mm in the north of the country. With the first downpours, Zambia undergoes a natural transformation: forests and savannahs turn green, rivers burst their banks, and valleys become lush pastures. And the dry season is the best time for trucking on unpaved roads; during the rainy season, the roads are virtually impassable.
Zambia has a population of 19,270,545 (data as of January 2022). 98% of the population is African, represented by more than 70 peoples belonging to the Bantu language group: 42% Bembe, 18% Tonga, 13% Luwale, 12% Malawi, 10% Lozi, and others. Europeans are about 1% and 0.3% are of Asian descent. Life expectancy in the Republic of Zambia is quite low, ranging from 41-43 years for women and 39-41 years for men.
Zambia has 7 languages besides English as official languages: Bemba (spoken by 50% of the population), Nyanja (spoken by 35%), Tonga (spoken by 15%), Lozi (spoken by 10%), Tonga, Kaonde, Luwale, Lunda. All these languages, along with English, are used in early primary school education. In all there are more than 70 approved languages in the Republic of Zambia.
The majority of Zambia’s faithful population (about 80%) are Christians, of whom 25% are Catholics and the rest are Protestants, Lutherans, Anglicans, Adventists, Pentecostals from the Assembly of God, Church of God, and others. Many adherents of local cults practice traditional beliefs in parallel with Christianity. Islam is practiced by about 15% of the population, 1.5% are members of the Bahai faith, and Hinduism and Judaism do not exceed 1.5%.
- 1 January – New Year
- March 8 – International Women’s Day
- 12 March – Youth Day
- moving date in March-April – Easter and Easter holidays
- May 1 – Labor Day
- 12 May – Mother’s Day
- 25 May – African Freedom Day
- 16 June – Father’s Day
- 6 July – Heroes’ Day
- July 7 – National Unity Day
- August 3 – Farmers’ Day
- September 3 – Anniversary of the late President Mwanawasa
- October 24 – Independence Day
- December 25 – Christmas
Souvenirs and Gifts
Below is a small list of the most common and popular souvenirs and gifts that tourists usually bring from Zambia:
- wooden statues and figurines of animals and birds
- copper rings and bracelets
- Zambezi River goddess necklaces
- leather ornaments
- Ritual African masks
- carvings of ivory
- Traditional djembe drums
- Cups, key rings and clothing with images of Victoria Falls.
- South African wines
“No nail, no rod,” or customs rules
Zambian customs regulations do not restrict the import/export of foreign currency, but a declaration is required. Import/export of local currency is limited.
Up to 200 pieces of cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 450 grams of tobacco, 1 liter of spirits (over 25% alcohol volume) or 2 liters of light alcoholic beverages (up to 25% alcohol volume), food, household goods and items – within personal needs – are allowed duty-free importation. Medicines may be brought in accompanied by a prescription and in the original packaging.
It is forbidden to export precious and ornamental stones in raw form (emerald, aquamarine, tourmaline, malachite, amethyst), articles of ivory in 1 piece, with a permit from the local authorities, wild animal skins, souvenir coins (only with a bill from specially authorized stores), cultural artifacts and other objects of cultural significance. Importation of firearms, explosives, drugs and pornography is prohibited. Hunting weapons may be brought in only with a permit from the Ministry of the Interior.
All travelers should see a doctor before traveling to the country and make sure that all required vaccinations are up to date. Malaria, rabies and tuberculosis are common in Zambia . Routine vaccinations are recommended for all travelers planning to visit the Republic of Zambia .
A veterinary certificate and certificate of vaccination are required to bring in/remove pets.
Voltage of the electrical grid in Zambia : 230 volts , at a frequency of 50 hertz. The plug types are Type C , Type D , Type G .
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