Zambia is in south-central Africa. It has a a land area of over 750,000 sq km. It is larger than France but smaller than Turkey. The population is about 14.5 million, with half the population below 15 years. There are 20 National Parks and many conservancies. Other tourist destinations include the Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba.
This website shows you around the country and some of its attractions. Most of the photographs are ours, unless we state otherwise. They are not the best so my advice is to come and take your own …
Every month we will publish a newsletter on what has happened around the regions.
We hope you find it informative. Please contact us if you find anything wrong or missing.
Air borders are at Lusaka and Livingstone.
Airlines flying into Lusaka: Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Rwanda Air, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Namibia, Fastjet, KLM, Air France, British Airways
Road borders near Livingstone are Victoria Falls (from Zimbabwe), Kazungula (from Botswana) and Katima Mulilo (from Namibia). Near Siavonga there is a border over the dam wall and one at Chirundu, both from Zimbabwe. For the north, Nakonde is the border to Tanzania. To the east, the border with Malawi is Mchinji, southeast of Chipata.
Passport holders from Southern Africa do not need to pay for a visa. Other passport holders are required to pay US$50 for a single visa, US$80 for a double. However, if you cross the border at Victoria Falls, Kazungula, Livingstone or Lusaka Airports you can request for a KAZA visa. This is US$50 and allows the visitor to cross the border to Zimbabwe or Botswana several times during their stay.
Make sure when you are driving into Zambia that either the vehicle is your own property or that you have documentation to prove that you are allowed to use the vehicle.
First job is to fill in a Temporary Import Permit. Sometimes you can be asked for Interpol clearance.
Next is Carbon Tax payment payable at Customs. This is between K50 and K200.
Next is Toll Fee, payable at another counter. This is around US$20.
At another counter, usually outside the main building, is the insurance office. You will need third party insurance for the vehicle. This is around K100.
Finally, some borders have a local Council office which requires visitors to pay a Council levy. This is around K25-50.
You may need to pay in kwacha. Hopefully there is a bureau de change or a bank at the border. You are advised not the use street money changers.
The currency of Zambia is the kwacha, coins are ngwee. Foreign currency and credit cards are accepted in most hotels/lodges. There are bureaus de change and banks in most towns with ATMs throughout the country which accept Visa; some Mastercard.
Zambia is a malaria area. It is recommended that visitors take anti-malaria medicine as prescribed by a doctor. Travel insurance is advisable and make sure that it easily found by fellow travellers.
- Getting Around
Proflight, Zambia’s Independent Airline flies between Lusaka, Livingstone, Mfuwe (for South Luangwa), Jeki and Royal (for Lower Zambezi), Kalabo (for Liuwa Plain), Ndola, Kitwe and Solwezi (for the Copperbelt, and Kasama, northern Zambia.
Buses run between all major towns.
For drivers, the speed limit in towns is officially 40, but there are signs of 50/60 kph so just keep to the speed limit as indicated. On main roads it is 100 kph. Most roads between towns are tar and in reasonable condition. It is not advisable to drive in the dark, so plan all trips to arrive in daylight. All roads within parks are dirt tracks, some better than others. Fuel is usually available in all towns of any size but keep your tank filled up in case there is a shortage.
There are over 70 languages or dialects in Zambia but the language of government and business is English.
The tourist industry is cosmopolitan with staff speaking many other languages.
- Zambia has 20 National Parks. Two of them are very small – one in Lusaka and one in Livingstone. Of the other 18 some are known worldwide – South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue. Of the others, some are growing in popularity but some are stranded in limbo. We look at those with facilities on separate pages – Liuwa Plain, North Luangwa, Kasanka, Lavushi Manda, Nsumbu, Luambe, Lochinvar
Most of the parks are getting some outside assistance and we have shown the NGOs on their pages so that you can see their amazing contribution to Zambia’s wildlife estates.
Over the years outside help has come in to assist ZamParks in the conservation of our wildlife and the environment in which they live. Prior to that, parks were largely left unattended and poaching was rife. Unlike some other countries in the region Zambia did not encourage tourism so the importance of its natural heritage was not realised. Now that tourism is seen as one of the major players in any country’s economy, the government is encouraging help from NGOs.
Politically, the government cannot be seen to be spending money to protect wildlife when there are so many pressing needs of the people. Conservation is an expensive undertaking and it is not something that can be achieved in a few years. It is at least a 20-year plan.
Zambia has its famous parks which now teem with wildlife but there are others which are still waking up from the doldrums of the past. There are, though, major attributes of our parks – no visitor is going to queue up with another 20 vehicles to watch a lion; there are no tar roads; a GPS is essential equipment; there are no picnic sites or loos between camps – if you need to pee, have a good look round, and pee by the car, please do not go and hide behind a bush – you never know what might be there.
The parks below are the ones with no facilities.
West Lunga. This park is in a remote area in the west of Zambia. It has received little attention although it is known for the yellow-backed duiker. It is doubtful that much wildlife has survived but it was also known as the place where the Angolan sable still existed.
Sioma Ngwezi. This park is on the border with Angola so, during the Civil War in Angola, the park was not safe. It is now, though, coming back to life through help from Peace Parks Foundation. Peace Parks is responsible for the development of conservation areas which cross international borders. The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) is a vast area covering parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Sioma Ngwezi is part of this development and slowly but surely work is being done and the wildlife is returning. One of the biggest issues facing Botswana and Zimbabwe is the vast numbers of elephant which live in those countries. Elephants can be very destructive to the environment. Through KAZA it is hoped that the elephants can find their old migration routes back into Zambia, Namibia and Angola, thereby taking the pressure off Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Lukusuzi and Nyika. Lukusuzi and Nyika are part of the Malawi-Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area. Peace Parks are behind this plan and government is assisting. In 2015 the government removed 3,000 squatters in Lukusuzi. It will take time but there is a future for these parks. Much of the effort at the moment is on the Malawi side where there has been a massive relocation of wildlife into the parks there.
Mweru Wantipa and Lusenga Plain are in northern Zambia. They are remote and off the beaten track. I know of no plans for them to be rehabilitated.
Similarly, Isangano, has been left with no help on the horizon. In 2016 local MPs have called for squatters to be removed and for a restocking exercise.
Throughout this website you will see my ‘happy snappies’. They are meant to show you some interesting places around Zambia. But I have no claim to be even half-decent as a photographer.
If you want to shoot a giraffe or a lion with your camera, go ahead – they may even pose for you! However, it is not polite to take photographs of people without their permission. Similarly in towns officially it is against the law to take photographs of some buildings. So, please ask before you take your camera out.
If you would really like to see Zambia in a beautiful portfolio, have a look at Stephen Robinson’s photos: