Zambia Visitors Information provides information for visitors to Zambia relating to visas, travel conditions, entry permits, banking, health requirements, medical facilities, when to go and more.
All bona fide tourists shall be issued with visas at any port of entry to Zambia or at Zambian Missions abroad except for citizens from a number of countries who require visas authorized by the Chief Immigration Officer or the stipulated Zambian Mission abroad.
Day tripper visas shall be issued at ports of entry to tourists coming to visit Zambia for a period of less than twenty-four (24) hours.
For more information contact:
The Chief Immigration Officer
Haile Sellassie Road
P O Box 50300, LUSAKA
Tel: 254393; 252659; 252831; 251725
Visitors from or passing through a yellow fever and cholera zone (most of tropical Africa and South America) must be able to produce a valid International Certificate of Vaccination. Air travellers who only pass through the airports of such a zone are exempt from the requirement.
Medical services are underdeveloped and only in Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone can you find anything resembling western standards. There are a number of small clinics in Lusaka which are better than the general hospitals, but the clinics in the rural areas have little more than quinine, aspirin and band aids.
Medical insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country and should include emergency air evacuation coverage if youre spending any time in remote parts of the country.
Zambia is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, one hour ahead of Central European Time, seven hours ahead of Eastern USA time and ten hours ahead of Western USA time.
There are over 73 dialects spoken in Zambia, but the official language is English. All media and business is in English and most Zambians speak it fairly well. Bemba is the next most commonly understood language, followed by Nyanja Tonga, Luvale, Lozi, Mambwe and Tumbuka.
Zambias three distinctive seasons provide visitors with different perspectives depending on the time of year.
The Luangwa Valley for example is best for game viewing during the dry season from June to October, but the rainy season, with its spectacular profusion of greens and reds changes the landscape dramatically and the bird populations increase with the arrival of migrants from the north.
The Victoria Falls are at their most spectacular between April and May after the rainy season but often the spray is so thick it is difficult to see the full width of the falls. To appreciate the magnificent rock formations and gorges, it is just as interesting to come when the water is low at the end of the dry season from October to December.
Kafue National Park is best from May to October as is the Lower Zambezi National Park. Ideal road travelling months are April to September as the heat is at its most bearable.
Airlines serving Zambia are: Zambian Airways, Air Malawi, Air Zaire, Air Zimbabwe, British Airways, Kenya Airways, , South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Regional Air. There are frequent services to and from Lusaka and a limited number to Mfuwe International Airport in Luangwa Valley. The Airport is 24kms from the centre of Lusaka.
Zambia can be entered by road from Congo D.R, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia. All road borders are open 24 hours a day except for Chembe, Kazungula, Kariba and Chirundu, which are open from 06h00 to 18h00. Victoria Falls Bridge is open untill 20h00.
To bring a vehicle into Zambia one must obtain a temporary import permit (TIP) or, depending on the country of origin of the vehicle, a carnet de passage. If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, they must have a letter of authorisation from the owner for use of the vehicle in Zambia.
Your local AA office should be consulted before leaving for Zambia to check whether any of these conditions have changed.
Zambia is notorious for potholes and road signs are few, but there are major road works on some of the main routes at the moment as the roads are finally being upgraded.. Some of the more remote roads require great care and caution while driving. Avoid driving at night if possible as there are no road markings and potholes and animals occur when least expected.
A 4x4 is recommended if youre going anywhere off the main routes.
In Zambia, one drives on the left hand side of the road. The general speed limit on national highways is 100km/h, secondary roads 100km/h and in urban built up areas 65 km/h unless otherwise indicated.
Currently there are scheduled flights available to Chipata, Kitwe, Livingstone, Mfuwe and Ndola.
Zambian Airways flies to Livingstone, Mfuwe (South Luangwa), Victoria Falls and any charter flights. Proflight flies to Mfuwe (South Luangwa) and Livingstone and charters.
Various air charter companies will fly to any of the many airstrips around the country and most of the areas worth visiting are accessible by air.
There are many car hire companies in Lusaka and a few in Ndola, offering a small range of vehicles. Some offer a flat weekly rate, but most charge a daily rate plus mileage, insurance and petrol. Most cars come with a chauffeur and are thus expensive.
Petty theft is as common as any major city where unemployment is high. Be very awake when walking around carrying anything of value, there are master pickpockets here and there. Never leave your vehicle unlocked and never change money on the streets. For the most part, however, Zambians are very friendly and helpful.
The Kwacha has denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10 000, 20 000 and 50 000 kwacha notes.
There is no limit to the importation of foreign currency, provided it is declared on arrival through a currency declaration form.
Most hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take credit cards. Most of the bigger banks will advance local currency against a credit card. Standard Chartered, Stanbic and Barclays Banks have ATM's which accept Visa cards for cash.
Operational hours are 0815 to 1430 hours Mondays through to Fridays and 0815 to 1030 hours on 1st and last Saturdays of the month.
Zambia has mild winters and the summer days can get quite hot. Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round, with a jacket or jersey for early winter mornings and evenings. On safari keep clothes to a minimum and mostly of neutral colouring - khakis, browns and greens. A sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellant are a must.