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Zambia - Travel Essentials


Zambia Safaris

For an African safari away from the crowds, with pristine wilderness, superb wildlife viewing and no compromise in quality of accommodation, then a safari holiday to Zambia is a great option.

Somewhat in the shadow of neighbouring safari destinations such as Botswana, Zambia offers high levels of comfort, authenticity and is considered by many to still represent the 'real African safari'.

Many safari camps in Zambia are well established or even 'historic'  family safari businesses, with deep-rooted connections with their local communities.

In visiting Zambia and supporting the small camps, you will be playing a vital role in the preservation of Zambia's wildlife and in supporting the welfare and development of local communities.

A Zambia safari holiday offers genuine experiences in pure tracts of wilderness areas that are amongst the very best safari destinations in Africa.

Family Safaris

Zambia has evolved into one of the best safari destination for families looking for some adventure and genuine experiences.

Many of the established Zambia family safari operators who manage and run their set of camps and lodges have created tailored safari experiences to suit children of all ages.

Many safari camps in Zambia have been adapted to provide comfortable accommodation to suit the needs of all ages of children.

There are few things more rewarding than seeing your child’s awe-struck face when they have their first big game encounter and it’s these experiences which can have such a profound effect on younger visitors.

Zambia is unique in that it offers some of the finest private safari houses in Africa, which are suitable for families with children of all ages.

Every family is different but in our experience we find that children over 8 years old will find a Zambia family holiday the most rewarding. For families with children younger than this, Zambia can be more challenging but certainly not out of the question for adventurous families.

Safaris Activities

Zambia of course offers the  traditional type of safari experiences which include 4x4 open sided safari vehicles.

There are usually never more than 6 people in a vehicle, quite often just 4.

Heading out on game drives means being able to cover greater distances more quickly so you can see and follow the game more easily. You will also be able to get closer to the big game than you maybe ever imagined possible!

Night-time game drives offer the opportunity to see nocturnal species and also hopefully, spot a leopard or other nocturnal cat.

Many safari camps in Zambia are located on the banks of a river, which often means being able to see wildlife from rooms and the main lodge public areas.

Year-round in the Lower Zambezi National Park, and in the 'green season' of the South Luangwa National Park, water levels permitting, boating safaris, fishing and canoeing are popular.

Zambia Walking Safaris

Zambia’s North and South Luangwa National Parks are regarded as the 'Walking Safari Capital' of Africa, with world class guides and trackers and stunning authentic bush camps offering the finest and purest experiences anywhere.

In short, if you’re an avid outdoor walker and love being out amongst nature, then Zambia offers the best walking safaris in Africa.

Being on foot in the bush can be exhilarating and a totally different experience to being in the comfort of a vehicle seat. The feeling of being so close to nature and out of normal comfort zones can be one of the best experiences in travel.

The walking is not terribly difficult, but it is usually hot and sandy which can make it hard work under foot and

Walking safaris are not suitable for children under 12 and those with mobility difficulties.

A walking safari typically involves 3-4 hours on foot in the morning, a rest for lunch during the midday heat and then another 2-3 hours in the afternoon.

Shorter walking safari excursions can be included at many camps, with a walking safari replacing the usual morning game drive.

Overnight walking trails such as the 2-3 night Chikoko Trails in the South Luangwa are an amazing experience.

For the real walking safari enthusiast, the ultimate 4-5 night walking safari in the North Luangwa National Park based from the small, authentic Mwaleshi Camp is perhaps the best walking safari in Africa.

Livingstone & Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, known locally as 'Mosi-a-Tunya', or ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ is a natural wonder which borders Zambia and Zimbabwe as the Zambezi plunges down a spectacular canyon.

On the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, Livingstone is about 10 km north of 'The Falls' and is a major entry points to Zambia with possible onward access to Northern Botswana, Namibia’s Caprivi and Zimbabwe.

Livingstone has grown rapidly in recent years but the town itself is of only passing interest.

Almost all visitors stay by the banks of the Zambezi River, where a range of accommodation is on offer.

Plenty of activities are on offer here, from tranquil sunset river cruises, relaxing by the riverside (listening to the hippos snorting) or enjoying the thrills of the self-styled adrenalin capital of Africa (think 'Bungee' and white water rafting).

Scenic flights over Victoria Falls by fixed wing aircraft, helicopter and micro-light aircraft offer fabulous aerial views over the falls and are extremely popular.

Game drives in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park won't match game viewing in the Big 5 Game Parks but are good for the first time safari-goer.

A day safari trip to Botswana’s Chobe National Park is a popular option for more serious safari enthusiasts or for those looking to tick off another country.

Most visitors to Livingstone stay for two or three nights, however, one can easily spend longer here, using this as a base from which to explore the local area and being lulled by the ceaseless flow of the Zambezi.

Lower Zambezi National Park

The Zambezi River, the lifeblood for much Zambian wildlife is an iconic African river in an otherwise fairly dry and barren region.

The Zambezi forms a natural boundry between Zambia and Zimbabwe, with national parks on either side.

On the Zambian side of the river is the Lower Zambezi National Park with Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park on the opposite bank.

Both are superb national parks with excellent game viewing and each offering a range of safari activities.

The landscape is beautiful here, with the great African rift escarpment rising high above the river vallet.

A range of valleys lace the area, dotted with acacia trees, leadwoods, ebonies, figs and the occaisional baobab.

Wildlife in the Lower Zambezi is prolific, and especially visible during the dry season (June-October) when animals are attracted to the river.

Most visitors fly into one of many airstrips and stay two or three nights, and some may even chose to canoe down river to a second camp for an additional couple of nights.

Safaris in the Lower Zambezi can be by 4x4 safari vehicle, on foot, by boating or canoe.

This range of safaris in the Lower Zambezi make it hugely appealing, allowing for a varied trip.

A 3 night stay in the Lower Zambezi is probably the norm, but some guests do choose to stay longer.

The best camps in the Lower Zambezi are independently owned and run. Some lie just beside the actual official national park on the river and some are located inside.

Staying inside or outside the park in our opinion has little effect on the experience, although purists sometimes argue that it’s nicer and quieter to stay inside the park itself.

The level of service found in our suggested camps and the quality of the guiding receive a lot of praise from our customers.

Chongwe Safari House and the Kasaka Hippo Pod are two superb private houses in the Lower Zambezi which cater for small parties and families with children.

With over 378 species of birdlife and plenty of big game including the wildlife in the Lower Zambezi is simply outstanding.

During the driest months of September and October (also the hottest) the elephant viewing is outstanding. Bear in mind that there are no Giraffe, Cheetah or Rhino, primarily due to poaching in the area.

Lion and Leopard sightings are usually excellent.

The Luangwa Valley

In the fertile Luangwa Valley, with the Rift Escapement on one side and the broad meandering Luangwa River with its many ox-bow lagoons and lakes on the eastern side, are two of Zambia’s finest national parks.

The South Luangwa National Park and the North Luangwa National Park are regarded as offering the best wildlife viewing in Zambia.

Safari in this region is mostly done in 4x4 open-sided vehicles and as walking safaris.

Micro-light safaris are also possible from the Tafika Camp - an unforgettable experience.

South Luangwa National Park

Some of the very best safari holidays in Africa are in the South Luangwa National Park, which is widely acknowledged as on the best game viewing areas in Africa.

The South Luangwa National Park lies mostly to the west of the Luangwa River which forms its most easterly natural boundary.

The park can be divided into central, northern and southern areas.

The central South Luangwa's camps and lodges tend to be the busier of the three areas and home to some of the best boutique safari camps and lodges in Zambia.

The wildlife viewing here is at its most concentrated and this immediate area is regarded as being one of the best areas in Africa to see Leopard.

The Northern areas of the South Luangwa, also known as the Nsefu area enjoys far less safari traffic but offers some wonderful big game viewing as well as some superb walking safari terrain.

There is a fantastic range of good to high quality safari camps in this area.

The southern area of South Luangwa also enjoys low visitor traffic but is home to some of the finest bushcamps in Zambia.

Walking safaris between some of these bushcamps are possible, making for possibly the best walking safari in Zambia.

Two of the finest private safari houses in Africa can be found in the South Luangwa National Park, which suit small groups and families looking for unparalleled levels of service, comfort, privacy and flexibility.

Some of the camps in the northern and southern sectors close during the rainy season between December and April.

Some central based camps and the permanent lodges remain open all year round, some offering boating safaris on the Luangwa River during the wetter months when the water levels are high.

North Luangwa National Park

This park is relatively untouched and offers the best walking safaris in Zambia in the pristine wilderness of North Luangwa.

A safari here is a remote and wild experience. Typically, many of our customers combine a few days in one of the more traditional camps in the South Luangwa National Park before heading to the North Luangwa for a 3-5 days walking safari.

There are very few safari camps in North Luangwa and the pick of the bunch for us is Mwaleshi Camp which offers an authentic, rustic reed & thatch style camp in the thick of the bush.

The best time to visit North Luangwa is during the dry winter months of June to October.

Kafue National Park

Zambia's Kafue National Park is about the same size of Wales and is Zambia’s largest National Park.

Kafue offers a wide variety of environments from riverside camps on the Lufupa and Luangwa River to open plains and the Busanga marshes surrounded by thick forests.

Kafue offers some wonderful wildlife viewing, with Lion, Buffalo and Cheetah sightings frequent.

Wildlife in Kafue isn't as prolific however as in the more frequented safari areas in Zambia such as the Luangwa Valley and the Lower Zambezi.

A safari to the Kafue National Park is perhaps more suited to those looking to enjoy the open spaces of the bush and those who have seen all the big game before.

To really make the most of Kafue, the Busanga Plains to the north are the area we most recommend.

The best times to visit the Kafue are between the months of July and October.

Liuwa Plains National Park

Located in the west of the country, this first protected area in Zambia is today one of the least visited National Parks in Zambia and is one of the wildest and remotest parks in Africa.

At the right time of year, a safari to Liuwa Plains National Park can be a superb experience and some describe Liuwa Plains as as one of Africa’s best kept Secrets.

There is only one permanent safari camp in Liuwa Plains, Kokom, managed by one of the oldest safari families in Zambia, Norman Carr Safaris.

Liuwa Plains is a flat grassy plain with its annual floodwaters attracting thousands of Wildebeest, lots of species of rare birds, cheetah and the prowling hyena. This is Africa safari at its purest.

The most popular times to visit are between May and July and October and December. November is probably the optimum time, when the new rains start to fall coinciding with the arrival of the migrant birds and calving season with the plains teeming with game.


Lusaka is the largest city in Zambia, the country’s capital and principal gateway to Zambia.

It's not the worst city in Africa but it does share some of the negative attributes of urban Africa.

Lusaka has wide boulevards, congested road systems, a central business district, shopping malls, markets, some open green parks and the usual share of hustle and bustle.

Most people on a safari to Zambia use Lusaka as an entry and exit point.

Occasionally a night in Lusaka is required, but unless there is areason to stay in Lusaka, we usually recommend travelling straight onto safari.

Getting to Zambia

There are no direct non-stop services from the UK to Zambia. The most common airlines to Zambia are Emirates, South African Airways and British Airways.

The two international gateways to Zambia are Lusaka and Livingstone.

Flying to Lusaka

From the UK, to get to Lusaka, most people fly to Johannesburg on South African Airways or British Airways and then get a connecting flight onto Lusaka with South African Airways.

These flights currently arrive around lunchtime, which time to make onward internal connections to safari destinations in Zambia on the same day.

Return flights to Johannesburg depart in the morning, midday and afternoon which means you don’t have to spend a night in Lusaka unnecessarily. These services are daily.

Emirates has flights to Lusaka via Dubai, arriving in the early afternoon allowing connections to safari destinations on the same day.

The Emirates flights departs late in the evening, allowing time to get back to Lusaka from within Zambia, so you don’t need to overnight in Lusaka.

Kenya Airways has daily services to Lusaka, via Nairobi. The flight actually continues onto Lilongwe in Malawi, which makes it a good combination for those seeking a beach holiday after a safari by beautiful Lake Malawi.

Getting to Livingstone

The easiest way to get to Livingstone is to fly to Johannesburg on South African Airways or British Airways and then get a connecting flight on the same airline to Livingstone.

These flights arrive around lunchtime allowing time to make onward internal connections to your safari the same day.

Return flights to Johannesburg depart midday connecting back to the UK with relative ease.

These flights operate daily.

Family travel to Zambia

A safari holiday to Zambia is generally more suitable for children 8 years and older.

Bear in mind that certain activities such as walking safaris may be restricted for children.

The private houses of Zambia are absolutely fantastic for families seeking a truly memorable safari experience and these cater for younger members of the family very well.

We have considerable experience of travelling with our children on safari in Zambia and elsewhere, so please feel free to ask us what works best based on our experiences and advice.

Getting Around Zambia

Most safaris to Zambia will be tailor made to your requirements.

Distances between the major safari areas are vast and simply take too long to drive and therefore the best way to travel between places is to fly in light aircraft.

Proflight is the main scheduled airline operating flights between the main safari areas.

This adds another more exciting dimension to your safari as these flights often offer great chances of seeing some of the landscape from the air.

Most flights operate to fixed schedules, helping to keep costs down from the chartering of private aircraft.

Visas for Zambia

At the time of writing (June 2015) UK nationals can buy a visa on arrival using GBP or USD cash.

Rules can and do change without notice so please do check with the Zambia Embassy or High Commission for the latest information:

Please also note that any families travelling to Zambia via South Africa, even if transit, need to comply to the new visa rules implemented on 1st June 2015.

Parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s unabridged (full) birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate).

You should travel with these documents in case you’re asked to provide them. There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents.

Health & Safety

Zambia is a tropical country and therefore several vaccines are recommended.

Hepatitis A and Typhoid are  standard ones on top of your normal jabs like Tetanus and Polio.

Zambia is a country affected by Malaria and therefore your doctor is likely to recommend that you take anti-malarial precautions.

It is best to discuss your requirements with GP or nearest travel clinic.

On safari, guides have a deep understanding of animal behaviour and as such their knowledge and expertise helps them ensure your wellbeing.

Travel Insurance is an essential item to purchase for your trip. Do ensure your travel insurance covers you for emergency repatriation and do read the small print to check the coverage is adequate for your holiday costs.


Tipping is not compulsory, it remains at your discretion, but it is always gratefully received.

Here is a recommended guide for tipping in Zambia:

  1. Specialist guides and rangers – US$20.00 per guest per day. Given in one sum at the end of your safari on departure.
  2. Trackers (if you have one when on safari) – US$10.00 per guest per day. Given in one sum at the end of your safari on departure.
  3. Camp/Lodge staff – USD$5.00 per guest per day. Usually there is a tip box in the main public areas, otherwise hand to the lodge management to distribute between staff members. Given at the end of your stay.

Should you believe anyone has gone out their way to help you, or you have found them outstanding, then feel free to tip them independently.

The tipping staff receive supplements incomes enormously and is therefore always gratefully received. If you do decide to tip someone on the side, do this with some discretion.


Luggage allowances on internal schedule flights is 1 item not weighing more than 15 kg for checked luggage and 5 kg for carry-on luggage.

Luggage must be packed in soft-sided bags. Hard shell Samsonite styled suit cases are not suitable for smaller aircraft.

What to wear

At 95% of the lodges and camps we recommend, laundry (excluding underwear) is included in the rate. Therefore you can pack light.

Daytime temperatures are always around 30 degrees, so lightweight breathable clothing is recommended.

In the cooler winter months, the temperatures in the early mornings can be bitterly cold, so you should bring gloves, hat and warm jacket.

As the sun rises, so does the temperature and then it’s a matter of peeling off the layers.

If visiting during the hot and wetter summer months, a lightweight breathable and waterproof shell jacket is very useful.

There is no need to dress up in formal wear for dinner. It’s all very relaxed with long trousers and a polo shirt being perfectly adequate for gents. Ladies may dress equally casually.

Heavy duty walking boots for walking safari aren't required. Trainers, cross trainers or lightweight trekking shoes are fine.

Camouflaged clothing is not encouraged. Browns, tans and beige are the traditional safari colours. White, black and brightly coloured clothing is also not advised for game viewing activities as these will stand out to the animals in the bush and could change their normal behaviour.


In camp you will find communal charging points for re-charging video cameras and cameras.

The camps may have a selection of adaptor plugs, but it is worth bringing your own.

The power supply in towns is mostly 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ.

Most plugs are round pinned 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong plugs.

Time Zone

The time in Zambia is +2hrs GMT. There is no daylight saving time in Zambia


Zambia’s currency is Kwacha (ZMW). Tourists get by with bringing  Sterling and US Dollars in cash.

Credit cards are accepted in some camps, but do be aware surcharges will be applied, by as much as 5-8%.

Most visitors to Zambia will take US Dollars in cash.


The international dialling code for Zambia is + 260 followed by the local area code, dropping the 0.

Wi-Fi is not to be relied upon when on safari, though the more upmarket lodges will have Wi-Fi in the central areas.

Visiting Zambia is all about a pristine bush experience, ideally not to be interrupted by Wi-Fi or mobile phones, so these services are usually not possible in the remote bush areas.

The camps and lodges have 'bushmail' and short wave radio with their head offices in Lusaka and so urgent messages can be got to you if need be.