What you need to know before you leave…
Zambia is GMT+2.
All foreigners visiting Zambia need visas, but for most nationalities tourist visas are available at major borders, airports and sea ports. But it’s important to note that you should have a Zambian visa before arrival if travelling by train or boat from Tanzania.
Citizens of South Africa and Zimbabwe can obtain visas on arrival for free. For all other nationalities, tourist visas are issued on arrival, but cost about US$25 for a transit visa (valid for seven days), US$25/40 for a single-/double-entry visa (valid for three months) and US$100 for a multiple-entry visa (valid for three years). British national, however, are slugged for transit/single/double/multiple-entry visas US$60/60/80/80.
Children under the age of 16 don’t pay for a visa.
Anyone departing from Zambia by air must pay a departure tax of $ 30
These price indications may be increased by the authorities without notice.
Adr : 469, avenue Molière – 1060 Bruxelles
Tél : 00.32.2.343.56.49/349.51.60
Fax : 00.32.2.347.43.33
Consulate in Paris
Adr. : 63, rue Pierre Charon- 75008 Paris
Tél : 01.56.88.12.70
Fax : 01.56.88.03.50
There is no obligatory vaccination. The vaccine against yellow fever is not required unless you are travelling from an infected area. In this case, when passing through customs, your vaccination certificate will be required. You can be vaccinated only in approved centres.
It is essential to follow an anti-malarial treatment in Zambia. We also recommend that you bring mosquito repellent ointment and/or spray (Malaria is transmitted by mosquito bite).
We advise you to consult your doctor or an approved centre who will indicate the most appropriate prophylaxis to take. This is a zone 3. Your vaccinations against diphtheria, polio and tetanus should be kept updated. We encourage you to get inoculated against yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A and B. This recommendation applies to all destinations worldwide.
The tsetse fly is present however the risk of contracting sleeping sickness is very slight. Be attentive to your diet and do not drink tap water!
Zambia’s unit of currency is the kwacha (k), sometimes listed as ‘ZMK’ (Zambian kwacha) or ‘kw’. It is divided into 100 Tambala but because of the inflation Tambala has almost disappeared. The word “kwacha” means “dawn” and “tambala” means “small cock.”
– 1 Euro = 7.00 ZMK (01/08/2014)
Inflation is high in Zambia, and due to elections in late 2006 and the skyrocketing price of copper, some prices are quoted in kwacha and others in US dollars (US$), as different businesses base their rates on the different currencies.
In the cities and larger towns, you can change cash and travellers cheques at branches of Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Larger branches have ATMs that accept Visa. Foreign exchange offices – almost always called bureau de change – are easy to find in all cities and larger towns.
Zambia has a variety of local banks and some international banks, such as Barclays Bank and Standard Charter. The usual operating hours of the banks is 08:15am to 14:30pm from Mondays to Fridays and 08:15am to 10:30am on the first and last Saturdays of the month.
Most of the hotels, restaurants, eateries, travel agencies and bigger shops accept credit cards. The bigger banks will provide you with local currency against your credit card or you can exchange foreign currency. Standard Chartered, Stanbic and Barclays Banks have ATM’s which accept Visa cards for cash.
Cost of living
Unlike most other African countries, the cost of living is high. In order to protect the unique and fragile ecosystem in Zambia and its people, the tourism policy is financially selective. Game reserves offer exceptional fauna and flora whilst lodges offer outstanding professionalism and remarkable service which are reserved for high end budgets.
After your safari, it’s customary to give a tip to your guide and the staff at the camps and lodges. The amount varies depending on the quality of the guides and staff service. On average U.S. $20 per day per person (U.S. $10 for the guide, U.S. $5 for the tracker or boat guide, U.S. $5 for the staff at the lodge / camp). Tip boxes are available in the camps and the tips are generally shared equally between the staff. Elsewhere in Botswana it’s customary to tip 10% – 15% of the bill for meals, beverages, and taxis.
English is the official language that is spoken throughout the country, except in the most remote rural areas. In addition, 70 Bantu dialects are practiced including Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja and Tonga, which are recognized by the government and used for radio, television and primary schools.
The electrical current in Zambia is 220v. If you come to Zambia with different voltage equipment, then bring a converter set. Some of the places you visit will use two pronged or three pronged plugs. Usually there are no wall plugs at safari camps. So make sure to check if the lodge can help you with charging cameras, etc.
Remote lodges are not connected to the national grid and electricity is produced by generators or solar panels.
Zambia’s country code is 260 and the international dialling code is 00
To call abroad from Zambia: 00 + country code (32 for Belgium, 33 for France, 41 for Switzerland, 1 for Canada) + phone number without 0.
In case of an emergency, the easiest way is to contact a person travelling is to call the Go Tourism emergency number: +27 (0)83 254 5813
Zambia has a good telecommunications network (land and mobile phones), but most camps (safari lodges) are located outside the network coverage area. The camp managers communicate with the outside world by radio in case if an emergency. Internet is more often than not impossible in the lodges.
January 1-New Year’s Day
March 12-Youth Day
April -Good Friday
April -Easter Monday
May 1-Labour Day
May 25-African Freedom Day
July (first Monday)-Heroes’ Day
July (Tuesday following Heroes’ Day)-Unity Day
August (first Monday)-Farmers’ Day
October 24-Independence Day
December 25-Christmas Day
Botswana implements a policy of environmental protection that is vital to the country and its people. The number of accommodation possibilities is very controlled and the lodges generally have a small carrying capacity. The tented camps we prefer to use are luxurious with a reduced capacity of between 12 and 16 people.
The camps are energy self-sufficient and environment friendly. Water is drinkable and automatically recycled. Electricity is provided by solar panels that allow for hot water and light throughout the day and night. Foodstuffs and supplies are transported into the camps by air or road. The camps are not separated from the surrounding bush by barriers. All this contributes to the comfort and well-being of life in the bush.
Climate and temperature
Although the country is located in the tropics, the Zambian climate is largely tempered by its altitude. Only in the valleys are you likely to experience more extreme temperatures. Zambia features three weather phases, December to April is warm and wet, May to August cools down a bit and gets dry, then from September to November it’s hot and dry. October is usually the hottest month. With these three weather phases you can enjoy the best of the Luangwa Valley, Victoria Falls and the Lower Zambezi.
The Victoria Falls are fullest and at their most powerful during the first 6 months of the year.
What to pack
Warning: It is extremely important to respect luggage weight restrictions
On international flights, the maximum weight of checked baggage is on average 20 kilograms per person. On regional routes, it is not uncommon that the weight is limited to 12kgs per person maximum (cameras and hand luggage included) Please check with your consultant before you start packing.
It is essential to respect the following baggage restrictions: SOFT sided FLEXIBLE travel bag with a MAXIMUM height of 25 cm. A suitcase with wheels is not recommended for this kind of trip.
It is strongly recommended to avoid bulky clothing in your suitcase. Pack instead practical, lightweight clothes. If you are going on safari, bright colours are not recommended as it alerts and frightens the animals away. Opt instead for khaki, beige, brown or dark neutral colours and a pair of good walking shoes. White is to be avoided for the same reasons as above but also because the dust gets in everywhere. Simple and casual attire is the norm; however some hotels, restaurants and lodges require slightly more formal attire.
Dress according to the region and the season and bring at least one warm sweater and a wind breaker for cool/cold mornings and evenings. In winter (June to September), the nights can be extremely cold. Even in summer, wear long sleeved T-shirts to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evenings. Do not forget your Swimsuit as most hotels and lodges have swimming pools.The dress code in the luxury lodges remains fairly casual.
- Hat or bob
- Cotton shirts, T-shirts and shorts
- Pull-over for early chilly mornings and evenings
- Trousers or long skirts for the evening
- Raincoat or poncho
- Anorak, fleece, gloves, scarves, hat. (Dry winter season)
- Pair of walking shoes
- Pair of lightweight shoes for day or evening wear.
- Pair of sandals
Luggage and Accessories
- A soft sided sports bag
- A small backpack (day pack)
- A cap or sunhat
- A pair of good quality sunglasses
- A pair of binoculars
- A camera
- A thermos flask / water bottle
- A double adapter
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A penknife (Swiss Army knife or Leatherman)
Toiletries and First Aid Kit
Although there are very good hospitals and highly trained medical personnel in the main towns, we advise you to travel with your own personal first aid kit.
- Anti-mosquito products (spray, cream)
- Cream for insect stings
- Dressings, Aspirin, anti-diarrheal, lip balm, eye drops (for dust).
- If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you take your pair of glasses too.
- High factor sunscreen
It’s essential to use a UV filter on your camera and/or video recorder. A brush and a waterproof cover are necessary to protect your camera from dust which gets in everywhere. Plastic zip-lock bags are a great protection. It’s possible to recharge the batteries of your camera in most of the hotels, lodges and rental cars (Don’t forget the necessary cables).
We recommend you bring a zoom lens of 200 mm / 300 mm minimum on safari. You will need to practice speed, silence and patience in order to get good photographs of animals and birds.
A typical day on safari
The word “safari” comes from the Arabic word “safari” which means “journey.” In English, the word also translates into “game drive” or “game walk”, which signifies going out into the bush (savannah) in a 4×4 vehicle or by foot to track and observe animals.
During a full day’s safari, there are two ideal times to go out for the best animal viewing opportunities: first thing in the morning as the sun comes up (departing before breakfast and returning to camp mid-morning) and second: towards dusk and into the early evening.
It’s during these moments that animals are most mobile, moving about to find water and to hunt for food. The light is a photographer’s dream!
Generally, Zambia is very safe, though in the cities and tourist areas there is always a chance of being targeted by muggers or con-artists. As always, you can reduce the risk considerably by being sensible.