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Zambia

Country info

Zambia is a landlocked country located between the southern rim of the Zaire Basin and the Zambezi River. Zambia has land borders with Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to the southeast, Botswana and Namibia to the south, Angola on the west and Zaire to the northwest.
Most of the landmass in Zambia is a high plateau lying between 3,500 and 4,500 feet above sea level. In the northeast, the Muchinga Mountains exceed 7,000 ft in height. Elevations under 2,000 ft are found in the valleys of the major river systems. Plateau land in the northeastern and eastern regions is broken by the low-lying Luangwa River., and in the western half by the Kafue River. Both rivers are tributaries of the upper Zambezi, the major waterway of the area. The frequent occurrence of rapids and falls prevents through navigation of the Zambezi.
There are three large natural lakes, the Banweulu, Mweru and Tanganyika all situated in the northern region. Lake Bangweulu and the swamps at its southern end cover an area of 3,800 sq miles and are drained by the Luapula River. The Copperbelt, which at one time, was responsible for most of Zambia's wealth, lies in the Western Province, bordering with Zaire.

Travel info

Climate
Although Zambia lies within the tropics, much of the country has a pleasant climate because of high altitude. Both temperature and rainfall are closely affected and moderated by the altitude of the terrain. Temperatures are highest in the valleys of the Zambezi, Luangwa and Kafue rivers and by the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Mweru and Bangweulu.
There are wide seasonal variations in temperatures and rainfall. The highest temperatures come before the rains. October is the hottest months, being humidity and cloudy with thunderstorms caused by moist air from the east. The main raining season starts in mid-November, with heavy tropical storms lasting well into April. The Northern Province has a rainfall of from 30 - 36 inches. May to middle of August is regarded as the cool season, after which temperatures rise rapidly. September usually is very dry.
Livingstone has a hot climate, with extreme temperatures of 40.6°C (105°F) and -3°C (27°F) and an annual rainfall of almost 30 inches. From May to July the weather is perfect. Lusaka at 4,100 ft, has extreme temperatures of 39°C (100°F) and 5°C (41°F) and an average annual rainfall of 45 inches.

Clothing
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.

Visa
Visas are required by all visitors except nationals from Antigua, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Bahamas, Botswana, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Kenya, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, Nevis, New Zealand, St. Christopher, St Vincent , St. Lucia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Western Somoa, and Zimbabwe.
UK tourists who will travel in organized tour groups pre-arranged by foreign operators in conjunction with local Zambian Tour Operators duly registered by the Zambian National Tourist Board do not require visas.
You may be asked to show you have sufficient funds to support your stay. Passports must be valid for at last six months after your intended departure date.
NB: Visa requirements change fairly regularly so it is advisable to check with your Consulate or Embassy.

Car hire
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. See Car Hire Companies for Rates.

Health
It's best to come into the country with either travellers cheques or dollars or pounds which can be exchanged at any of the many Bureaux de Change in the main Towns.  If you are offered an exchange on the black market at the borders,  excercise extreme caution as they are notorious for cheating you without you even realising it.
Travellers cheques attract a commission when changing to other currencies.
The Zambian currency is the Kwacha and it fluctuates quite regularly.
In November 2000 - 1 US$ buys you 3,600 Kwacha
Nobody uses ngwee coins any more as they are worthless.
Most used denominations are K500 and K1000, K5000 and K10 000 notes

Currency
It's best to come into the country with either travellers cheques or dollars or pounds which can be exchanged at any of the many Bureaux de Change in the main Towns. If you are offered an exchange on the black market at the borders, excercise extreme caution as they are notorious for cheating you without you even realising it.
Travellers cheques attract a commission when changing to other currencies.
The Zambian currency is the Kwacha and it fluctuates quite regularly.
In November 2000 - 1 US$ buys you 3,600 Kwacha
Nobody uses ngwee coins any more as they are worthless.
Most used denominations are K500 and K1000, K5000 and K10 000 notes

Commercial Banks
It's best to come into the country with either travellers cheques or dollars or pounds which can be exchanged at any of the many Bureaux de Change in the main Towns. If you are offered an exchange on the black market at the borders, excercise extreme caution as they are notorious for cheating you without you even realising it.
Travellers cheques attract a commission when changing to other currencies.
The Zambian currency is the Kwacha and it fluctuates quite regularly.
In November 2000 - 1 US$ buys you 3,600 Kwacha
Nobody uses ngwee coins any more as they are worthless.
Most used denominations are K500 and K1000, K5000 and K10 000 notes

Language
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.

Accessoires
sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent - essentials!
binoculars and a camera are a must
track suit - good for sleeping in during winter months
light, compact raincoat is a good idea for the summer
swimsuit and snorkelling and diving gear
towel, torch and sleeping bag for camping safaris (sleeping bags can be hired from most safari operators)
                                                       copyright: Paul Janssen