Have you ever thought about traveling to Zambia? I never had but during my research about “what to do in Zambia” I came across Victoria Falls and I thought: I have to know this place. Today I’ll tell you everything you need to know to plan your trip to Zambia.
Keep reading to know more about currency, visas, language, religion, weather and what to do in Zambia.
Before I start I would like to share that I really enjoyed Livingstone, the area of Zambia I went to. The impression that I had is that the people there are warm, and so is the weather (temperatures around 27ºC), the landscape and nature are breathtaking. I truly recommend the trip.
Zambia is located in South-central Africa and the capital city is Lusaka. Your neighbours are Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Republic of Zambia, also know as Zambia, was for many years part of the United Kingdom colony and in 1964 became independent.
Most nationalities need a visa to enter Zambia. There are 4 main types of visa for tourists:
Single entry visa (allows only one entry and the fee is 50 USD);
Double entry visa (allows the traveller to enter the country twice and costs 80 USD);
Multiple entry visa (costs 80 USD and is issued online only);
KAZA (is a univisa valid to enter both Zambia and Zimbabwe. It costs 50 USD).
I had the KAZA visa, but it’s not always available. So you have to check when entering the country. A lot of nationalities are elegible for KAZA, such as: Brazil, Germany, United States of America, Spain, Japan, Portugal… To check if you are, access the link here about Zambia Immigration
Note: the KAZA also covers those who visit Botswana for day-trips through Kazungula Borders.
The country has 6 official languages, English is one of them (it is mandatory to learn it in school). Tonga and Nyanja (very common in Lusaka) are the other 2 more spoken languages in Zambia.
How are you?
I’m fine and you?
Ndilibwino. Kaya inu?
Fine, thank you.
The official currency is the zambian kwacha. Nowadays 1 USD worth 13 kwachas. American dollar is largely acceptd to pay hotels, tours, taxis and to buy souvenirs.
If you are going to stay for few days there’s no need to exchange money. Big hotels and restaurants accept credit card.
Note: ATMs are not very common in Livingstone.
In Zambia the climate is tropical. The country has 2 seasons: rainy season (November to April) and dry season (May to October).
I went at the end of April and it was very hot, temperatures around 27ºC.
# David Livingstone
He was an Scottish doctor, missionary and explorer. He wrote about Africa’s geography, plants, animals. He is known as Africa’s greatest missionary.
In 1855 he discovered a waterfall and named it Victoria Falls. There is 1 statue built in his honor at Victoria Falls on the Zambian side and one on the Zimbabwean side.
In one of his expeditions he caught malaria and died in 1873. His heart was burried in Africa and the rest of his remains are in Westminister Abbey in London.
# Main cities/regions – What to do in Zambia
People who visit the city are mostly interested in Victoria Falls, but make no mistake, there are a lot of things to do there.
You could do a safari at Mosi-OA-Tunya National Park, where it is possible to spot zebras, giraffes, elephants, buffalos… When I was going to Tongabezi (the lodge that I stayed at) we took the road that passes within the park and I saw giraffes (including babies) and zebras.
Another cool thing to do is a boat tour by the Zambezi river, which is the fourth largest river in the African continent. I did a sunset boat tour and I saw crocodiles, hippos, elephants and several types of birds (for example, the bee-eater).
The city of Livingstone also has a few museums, the most interesting one is The Livingstone, which has a lot of David Livingstone items
Victoria Falls certainly is an impressive work of art by mother nature. It is 1.5 km wide and 128m high and cuts across Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Is the capital and also the biggest city of Zambia. It has no major tourist spots, so I chose not to visit Lusaka.
North Luangwa National Park
Is situated in the North of the country, close to the Malawi border. The park is known for its huge buffalo population, but it is also possible to spot lions, zebras, baboons…
To know more about what to do in Zambia checkout the oficial tourism website.
Is a Christian nation, however the right to religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus, apart from Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are the major religions.
There is a chance to catch malaria, so it is advised to be careful and prevent the bite, because there is no vaccine yet. The use of repellant is advised, especially from late afternoon to early morning (the period the mosquito is usually most active).
Most of the accommodation is equipped with mosquito nets, air conditioning / fan… which helps to keep the mosquito away.
# Where to stay
I went to Livingstone to visitVictoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) and stayed at TONGABEZI. Without a doubt, it is the best option for those who wants to visit the falls and other nearby places in Zambia.
Tongabezi is an exclusive lodge with impeccable service. It has9 accommodations (4 River Cottages and 5 houses), I stayed 1 night in one of the River Cottages and 1 night at the “Nut House“, I simply loved every minute of my time there!
In addition to lodging, meals and daily activities are included (such as a boat trip on the Zambezi River, safaris, guided tour to Victoria Falls).
If you are going to visit the capital and want to stay in a luxury hotel I advise Latitude 15 Degrees, because there the service, the infrastructure and the decor are great!
If you want a budget, yet comfortable and cost-effective option, I suggest the Hilton Garden Inn Lusaka Society Business Park.
During the day, in the tourist areas, I found it safe to walk around Livingstone. From time to time there was an insistent salesman trying to sell a souvenir, but be firm in your “no.” The unemployment rate in the country is huge, more than 50%. Thus, the population sees tourism as a way to try to earn money.
At night I only stayed in the lodge, so I can not say how the safety issue is. My advice is: avoid going out at night, especially on foot.
# Car rental
As in South Africa and Zimbabwe, they drive on the right side in Zambia too.
Regarding car rental in Livingstone, I crossed the border by the bridge that links the city to Victoria Falls and through there it is not possible to rent a car, there was no car rental company. I also did not see any car rental desk at the city airport. The most suitable if you are visiting only Livingstone is to book a transfer with your hotel.
# Cool things to know about Zambia
– Soccer is the main sport;
– Copper is one of the most exported products currently;
– Motto: “One Zambia, one nation”.
– Meaning of the colors of the flag: the red represents the struggle for freedom, the black the Zambian people, the orange the minerals of the country and the green the wildlife / nature. The flying eagle means freedom and the ability to overcome problems.
– Some national holidays: New Years (01/01); Youth Day (12/03); Good Friday (04/06); Worker’s day (01/05); Independence day (10/24); Christmas (25/12).
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To see more photos of Zambia take a look at our Instagram profile @partiuviajarblog.
See you later!