Arrival by Rail
There are two points of entry into Zambia. One is via the Tazara line from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which only goes as far as Kapiri Mposhi. From there, one can change trains (and stations) for the journey to Lusaka. There are two trains a week running in each direction. The schedules are unreliable and should be confirmed prior to travel. First, second and third class (not recommended) are offered. Dining is not available and very often neither is water. Expect full immigration and customs checks when crossing the border. The other line is from Zimbabwe, via Victoria Falls town to Livingstone. Trains run every second day from Livingstone to Lusaka.
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 untill 20h00.
Arrival by Water
The only water access to Zambia is on Lake Tanganyika . The MV Liemba, one of the worlds 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 1530 hours Mondays through to Fridays and 0815 to 1130 hours on Saturdays.
Government offices are open from 08h00 to 17h00, Monday to Friday. Closed from 13h00 to 14h00.
Bank hours vary from bank to bank but most are open from 08h30 - 15h30 Monday to Friday. 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 til 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.
Click here for the latest currency exchange rate
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. Most banks have ATM's which accept Visa cards for cash.
Chemists / pharmacies
Travellers should carry an adequate supply of their prescribed medicines with them although chemists in the major centres carry a wide range of medicines and first aid accessories. There are some emergency chemists open after hours or Sundays in Lusaka.
There are a limited number of sporting and social clubs in the major towns. Visitors are usually welcomed. Some charge a temporary membership fee.
Postal services are fairly well organised 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 Copperbelt.
E-mail: There are several Internet Cafes in Livingstone and Lusaka and time on line is very reasonable. Arcades shopping centre also has a large Internet Centre and there are several in Cairo Rd.
Internet Service Providers are Zamnet, Coppernet, Zamtel, Microlink, Iconnect, Africonnect and most offer broadband or dial up connections now.
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 dialling to neighbouring 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.
Travellers may, for their own consumption, import 2.5 litres of duty free beer, wine or spirits and 400 cigarettes or 500gms of tobacco.
There are buses from Dar es Salaam and Mbeya in Tanzania, to the Copperbelt and Lusaka, as well as from Lilongwe and Harare to Lusaka. Other privately owned companies run domestic services over a number of routes There is a bus terminus behind Shoprite supermarket in Cairo Rd.
There are many car hire companies in Lusaka and a few in Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone, offering a range of vehicles. Some offer a flat weekly rate, but most charge a daily rate plus mileage, insurance and petrol. You can also hire a chauffeur. See Car Hire Companies for Rates.
Domestic Air Services
Currently there are scheduled flights available to Chipata, Kitwe, Livingstone, Mfuwe and Ndola.
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.
Departure tax is at airports is US$25 (international) and $8 (domestic), payable in hard currency. Travellers cheques are not acceptable.
Most tickets issued are now inclusive of departure tax. You should check this when buying your ticket.
Visiting drivers must hold an International Drivers Licence. Drivers licences 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 litres 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.
- Emergency 999
- Police 991
- Lusaka, Central police station 0211 220006
- Lusaka, Central Fire station - 0211 220180
- Lusaka, Ambulance service 0211 220180
- National telephone operator 100
- National directory 102
- International operator - 090
- Ambulance - 991
- Fire brigade 993
- Hospital UTH - Lusaka
- General Line - 0211 251200
- Casualty Direct Line -0211 254115
- Livingstone Central police 0213 3 323575/
- Livingstone Fire station- 0213 324043
Local current is 220v, 50 cycle AC
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. See Health International/ MARS, and Speciality Emergency Services for Medical Rescue Services.
Airlines serving Zambia are: 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.
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.
INTERNATIONAL: Commonwealth, GATT, ILO, IMF, NAM, UN, WB, WHO
REGIONAL: African Development Bank, Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) OAU, Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Magazines: Lusaka Lowdown Maps of Lusaka, reviews of accommodation and restaurants, consumer affairs, articles on tourism and other Zambian issues, life in Lusaka, regular features, interesting links and an archive of back issues.
Radio Stations: Mulungushi (FM), Phoenix, Christian Voice, Trinity Broadcasting, Radio Icelengo, Voice of America, BBC and radio Canada can be picked up on Short-wave
TV: ZNBC Evening broadcasts only, to major metropolitan centres in English. Mnet and Satelite TV
Other Zambian Sites
Zambia on Line general Zambia e-zine
Zambiz Business Directory
Zambian Watchdog breaking news, analysis and investigative articles.
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.
See Speciality Emergency Services. or Hospitals
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. There are two medical rescue organisations. (See listings)
Petrol and diesel can be readily obtained in all major towns, but shortages can happen in the very remote areas so make sure you have spare fuel for emergencies. Both petrol and diesel get more expensive the further away you are from the line of rail. Unleaded petrol is now available at most stations..
Monday 1st January New Years Day
Monday 12th March Youth Day
Friday 6th April Good Friday
Saturday 7th April Holy Saturday
2nd Monday in April Easter Monday
Tuesday 1st May Labour Day
Friday 25th May Africa Freedom Day
1st Monday of July Heros Day
1st Tuesday of July Unity Day
1st Monday of August Farmers Day
Wednesday 24th October Independence Day
Tuesday 25th December Christmas Day
There are many taxis available. Prices are negotiable. There is a good bus service to Chipata, Livingstone, the Copperbelt and Harare, but they dont always follow strict schedules. The main bus terminus is in Dedan Kimathi road in Lusaka where one can enquire about timetables. Other private bus companies offer more reliable services to Livingstone, Harare and Johannesburg.
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 roadsigns are few, but there are major roadworks 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 roadmarkings 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.
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.
In some establishments service charge is on your bill. But if it is not, please tip 10% for good service.
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. Otherwise, write to the Controller of Customs and Excise Headquarters, Box 60500, Livingstone, Zambia.
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