How Safe Is Zambia for Travel?

Zambia
Safety Index:
52

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa that shares its borders with Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south, a narrow strip of Namibia, often referred to as the Caprivi Strip to the southwest, Angola to the west, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the northwest.

Now, what makes Zambia such an appealing destination for tourists is the fact that some of the world’s best safari opportunities are concentrated here, and it also offers a glimpse of Victoria Falls, which is one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zambia is slowly developing into a very desired tourist destination, a must-visit if you’re at all into safari.

The people of Zambia call their country “the real Africa” and everyone who has visited other South African reserves before going to Zambia can attest to that.

If you want to enjoy a proper safari, this is the way to go.

No fences between the popular national parks and reserves, no cars crowding around them, no hordes of tourists scaring animals away.

It really is a true African experience.

Some of Africa’s greatest national parks are here: Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa and the world’s second-biggest national park Kafue.

Warnings & Dangers in Zambia

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Zambia is, for the most part, a safe country to visit. However, it does have a rather high crime rate, though it's mainly ridden with a petty street crime because the population is desperately poor. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of getting stolen from.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Transport is generally safe in Zambia, You can travel everywhere by bus (though you should remain vigilant for pickpockets) and taxis. Make sure the taxi drivers don't rip you off. If you opt for driving yourself it is a good idea to carry some spares and tools with you. Two spare wheels and a couple of spare tubes are necessary due to the condition of the roads.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

There is an extreme threat to petty crime. Pickpockets are an everyday occurrence, so you should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Floods are the biggest natural threats in Zambia. Flood disasters in Zambia are often caused by river flooding from heavy or severe rainfall. Sometimes they originate from hailstorms that cause immense damage to the crops and buildings along the way.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Muggings are not a major threat in Zambia, though they do happen. Always get a taxi to and from bars at night, never walk the streets after dark and generally avoid poorly lit areas which are common in Zambia. African cities, in general, are not safe for tourists at night.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

There haven't been any terrorist attacks recently in Zambia, but they shouldn't be ruled out. There is a risk of explosives that are remnants of war in areas near the borders with Angola, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

You should avoid changing money with groups of men on the streets as they are likely to scam you. Always aim for the official banks when it comes to handling money. Other scams involve tourists being frequently requested to pay bogus "fees" to be paid to various Zambian officials and groups. Always insist on a receipt from the Government of Zambia for any fines and duties paid.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Zambia is relatively safe for solo women travelers but not at night. Avoid going anywhere after dark. Use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid wearing purses and do not walk alone or ride in taxis at night.

So... How Safe Is Zambia Really?

Zambia is, actually, generally safe to visit.

It is one of the few African safe countries where crime levels are similar to those in a European country.

However, this doesn’t mean you should relax: this country is filled with genuinely and desperately poor people and because of this, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Zambians are, in general, very friendly people, but you should still avoid walking at night, especially in the unknown or poorly lit areas, which are common in Zambia, since its streets are covered with only a small number of street lights.

It is not recommended to drink at night or move in areas where you might encounter intoxicated people.

Women aren’t recommended to go to bars alone or be on the streets after dark.

Bear in mind that corruption is very widespread throughout Zambia, though this has improved under the new president Edgar Lungu.

However, don’t expect the police to be on your side and help you.

If you need their help, you might have to pay.

Be careful when doing sports on the Zambezi River: during the high-water season which lasts from February to June, you are advised against rafting and other white-water boating activities on the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls.

During this season, the Batoka Gorge section of the river becomes unpredictable and there have been cases of fatal accidents.

How Does Zambia Compare?

CountrySafety Index
Zambia52
Morocco54
Denmark94
Poland84
Lithuania79
Argentina70
Iceland95

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries need a visa in order to enter Zambia. Make sure your passports are valid for at least six months upon arrival and have at least two blank pages upon each entry. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - Zambian kwacha is the official currency in Zambia though US dollars are also widely accepted. The majority of larger towns have ATMs that accept foreign cards and some establishments accept major credit cards.
  • Weather - The elevation of the land gives Zambia a more pleasant climate than in other countries with a tropical climate. There are three seasons in Zambia: the cool and dry season, that lasts from May to August, hot and dry season from September to November, and the truly tropical - warm and wet season, from December to April.
  • Airports - Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (IATA: LUN, ICAO: FLKK) is an international airport in Lusaka. The airport is located off the Great East Road, approximately 26 km northeast of Lusaka city center, the capital of Zambia.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Zambia, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Zambia Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 22° C
Feb 22° C
Mar 22° C
Apr 21° C
May 18° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 16° C
Aug 18° C
Sep 22° C
Oct 24° C
Nov 24° C
Dec 23° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
272727272524232630313128
Low
°C
1717161411881013161717
High
°F
818181817775737986888882
Low
°F
636361575246465055616363

Where to Next?

10 Reviews on Zambia

  1. Zambia is a very safe place with extremely low crime rate Zambians are very friendly people and would rarely harm anyone there is little to no pickpocketing as this post is alluding as Zambians are peace loving people

  2. You Should Go To Zambia It Is Very Safe For Travelers Zambia Has Welcoming People That Are Very Nice

  3. Z
    Zambia is safe says:

    Zambia is safe

    Zambia is safe

  4. B
    Blesingz says:

    The pickpocketing is rather exaggerated

  5. R
    Rozamundi says:

    Safe if you’re sensible

    I have lived in Zambia as a British Expat for 10 years. Pickpocketing, theft from cars left open and other petty crime is pretty common. However if you are sensible and don’t wander around with open bags or leave valuables in a car (similar to any other place!) it is a safe place to visit. Just use your common sense. You are more likely to be at risk from the parasites mosquitoes carry and drunk drivers than from criminals!

    1. A
      Ashley R. says:

      I was going to say something similar to this. I think you have to worry more about the wildlife than the people in Zambia. That being said, you should NOT go if you are not familiar enough with the culture or the people. A friend of mine went with a group in 2017 and was arrested and didn’t understand what was going on. They kept him for 2 weeks before finally letting him go.

  6. Probably the most beautiful country in Africa

    I’m sad that not more people trust Zambia to experience it. They believe it’s unsafe when it isn’t. It’s mostly very safe, especially for tourists, not to mention if you’re on a tour or/and have a guide. You should be more “afraid” of the wild life here and not the people. Zambia has this sort of beauty that you rarely see anywhere in the world and I wish more people would come here and see it for themselves.

    Zambians are friendly, hospitable and it’s great to spend time with them. Of course there are people that will try to steal things, pickpockets, or try to take your belongings if it seems easy to do so. If you have a bit of common sense you will avoid anything bad from happening. Keep your valuables close and don’t leave them unattended or someone may steal them. But, overall, most Zambians are good people.

    Zambia is one of my homes far from home nowadays. I remember that when I first came here on work related things I didn’t know much about it but I soon got a warm welcome from some of the locals and I started feeling at home here. There’s so much to see, you’ll feel nature like anywhere else and there’s much to do in this country.

    Here you will find some amazing, huge African parks like Kafue (which is a real mammoth and will take you days to fully discover) or South Luangwa. Or how about Victoria Falls (which is the world’s biggest), Lake Kariba (the largest artificial lake on earth – when you’ll see what humans have done with this place you’ll be amazed) and Livingstone Island (take a tour and see this beautiful place).

    If you’ve always wanted to visit an African country, please consider starting with Zambia. You may just find it so beautiful that it is very hard to leave.

  7. I would not

    Sounds like the perfect place if you love corruption and general asshattery that political leaders promulgate under the guise of “Christian” principles.

    1. C
      Clare Snyder says:

      Hoping to go back as a tourist - good memories from the '70s

      What a stupid remark. My Zambia experoence is rather dated – mid seventies. Early Kaunda years. Civil wars in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola. Boarder closed between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Shortages of EVERYTHING in Livingstone – which was only miles from the action of Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique. Likely among the most dangerous years post independence – and I felt safe – but careful. Yes, I had my short wave rafio “fished” through the bars of my living room window – and left outside when they found it had no batteries and required a transformer because it was 110 volts. Several friends had bicycles stolen in the city (Lusaka) – and I know several people who had cars stolen. Most potential theives were not good enough mechanics to manage to steal mine – – – . A few shirts disappeared – and were later seen on our “houseboy” – but other than that?? Definitely better than Jamaica. No driving outside of town at night -as there are only 2 parts of a hippo that reflect light, and they can’t be seen from behind!!!

Rated 3.9 / 5 based on 10 user reviews.

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