Arrival by Road
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 until 20:00 Hours.
Arrival by Water
The only water access to Zambia is on Lake Tanganyika . The MV Liemba, one of the world’s oldest operating steam ships, runs scheduled services from Bujumbura in Burundi, via Kigoma in Tanzania and docks at Mpulungu in Zambia. The ferry takes vehicles, cargo and passenger in first, second and third class (not recommended). Compartments and meals are available. Delays of up to twenty four hours are possible.
Operational hours are 0815 to 1430 hours Mondays through to Fridays and 0815 to 1030 hours on 1st and last Saturdays of the month.
Government offices are open from 08:00 Hours to 17:00 Hours, Monday to Friday. Closed from 13h00 to 14h00. Bank hours vary from bank to bank but most are open from 08h30 – 14h30 Monday to Friday. Only some are open on Saturdays. Shops are generally open from 08h00 to 17h00, Monday to Friday although some stay open until 19h00 and on Saturdays from 08h00 to 13h00 although some stay open till 17h00.
Zambia has three distinct seasons. December to April: warm and wet, May to August: cool and dry. September to November: hot and dry. Average temperatures in Summer range from 25° C to 35° C and in winter from 6° C to 24° C.
The Kwacha has denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10 000, 20 000 and 50 000 kwacha notes. As of May 2010 US$1 = K5000
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 and Barclays Banks have ATM’s which accept Visa cards for cash.
Chemists / pharmacies
Travelers should carry an adequate supply of their prescribed medicines with them although chemists in the major centers now carry a wide range of medicines and first aid accessories.. There are some emergency chemists open after hours or Sundays in Lusaka.
- Postal services are fairly well organized in Zambia and you should have no problem sending or receiving letters. Telegrams are less certain. There are two commercial Internet servers in Lusaka and another on the Copper belt.
- E-mail: There are several Internet Cafes in Livingstone and Lusaka.
- Public telephones are available in most public buildings, ie. post offices, and most use tokens. International calls can also be made from a private home or large hotel. (Note the surcharge at hotels is quite high). Direct dialing to neighboring countries requires 4 sets of numbers: first the international prefix 00, then the country code, the city code, then the number. Incoming calls usually cost less than outgoing calls from Zambia. To book an operator assisted international call, dial 090 or 093. Local directory assistance is 103. There are secretarial services along Cairo Rd in Lusaka that offer telephone, fax and telex and email facilities for a fee.
Travelers may, for their own consumption, import 2.5 liters of duty free beer, wine or spirits and 400 cigarettes or 500gms of tobacco.
Domestic Air Services
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.
Many airlines fly in and out of Lusaka International Airport, including Zambezi Airways, British Airways, Aeroflot, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Air France, Air Botswana, Air Malawi, Air Tanzania, Air Zaire, Air Zimbabwe and Kenya Airways. InterAir flies into Ndola International Airport
Departure tax is at airports is US$25 (international) and $8 (domestic), payable in hard currency. Travelers cheques are not acceptable.
Visiting drivers must hold an International Drivers License. Drivers licenses from other countries are not valid except SADC countries. New residents are required to pass a driving test. A person driving into the country on business can have their car admitted without having to pay duty, provided they will not use it for hire or commercial purposes. They will also have to show that the car is owned by themselves or by their company.
The following items may be imported into Zambia without incurring customs duty: 400 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco; One bottle of spirits and wine and 2.5 liters of beer (opened); 1oz bottle of perfume. Note: Souvenirs may be exported without restriction but game trophies such as tooth, bone, horn, shell, claw, skin, hair, feather or other durable items are subject to export permits.
Local current is 220v, 50 cycle AC
The government of Zambia is elected in a multi-party general election every five years. Up until 1991, when the first mult-party elections were held, the country was ruled by Kenneth Kaunda in a one party state.
The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and their leader Rupiah Banda, are now the ruling government for the second term. Their economic policy is to move Zambia from a centralized, state driven economy to a more liberal open market economy that is private sector driven.
The Government has put in place the necessary incentives to encourage private investment which includes privatization of State owned companies, rehabilitation of strategic infrastructure, a stable monetary policy and the recent enactment of the Competition and Fair Trade Act.
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 travelers who only pass through the airports of such a zone are exempt from the requirement.
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 center of Lusaka.
Third party insurance must be purchased at the border for a nominal fee.
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.
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 you’re spending any time in remote parts of the country.
There is freedom of worship in Zambia with over 15 different churches. Christianity is followed by over 60% of the population.
Zambia has a total road length of 38763kms tarred roads, 8592kms gravel roads and 21999 kms dirt roads. Zambia is notorious for potholes and road signs are few, but there are major roadwork 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 4×4 is recommended if you’re going anywhere off the main routes.
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.
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.
Tipping is discouraged as it is included as service charge on your bill.