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 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 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 the 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 : 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 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 : MEDIUM
Transport is generally safe in Zambia, You can travel everywhere by buses (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 : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of 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 : 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 : 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 : LOW
There haven't been any terrorist attacks recently in Gambia, 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 Democratic Republic of Congo.
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 : 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 Michael Sata. 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.
- 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 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 tropical climate. There are three seasons in Zambia: 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 the Lusaka city centre, 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.