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Zambia – The Connoisseur’s Safari Choice

Zambia – The Connoisseur’s Safari Choice

Zambia is a safari enthusiast’s dream with about one third of the country’s land allocated to wildlife parks. Not only is there an array of some of the world’s biggest and best game parks to choose from, there are many safari activities available too.

Zambian National Parks and Game Management Areas offer some of the richest wildlife experiences imaginable, with a high percentage of owner managed camps that constantly win international accolades and awards for their hospitality and experienced guiding.  

Exclusivity is key – stay inside the National Parks and escape to camps where you do not come across anyone else.

Zambia offers something for everyone (single travellers, small groups, honeymoons and families) and all at different budget levels.

There is a huge variety of activities aside from walking safaris and game drives.  Catch a tiger fish or witness the spectacular bat migration, canoe the Zambezi or seek out a shoebill in Kasanka.

Zambia also boasts the magnificent Victoria Falls one of the largest waterfalls in the world.  Base yourself in Livingstone town or a nearby luxury lodge on the Zambezi River which would be a perfect honeymoon location or place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary with family and friends.  The mix of both relaxing and adrenalin fuelled activities is endless:  helicopter over the majestic Falls, white water rafting or bungee jumping, visit Livingstone Museum or a Zambian market, sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River or an island picnic, bird watching or head into Mosi oa Tunya National Park for the opportunity of seeing the endangered rhino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Zambia is a vast, friendly and peaceful country that offers superb cultural encounters and wildlife spectacles. The rich ecosystem attracts a range of fauna and flora, most notably leopard, giraffe and antelope; many of which have rare endemic subspecies inhabiting the country. Bird life in Zambia is also prolific as a result of the country’s rich vegetation and water availability, with over 757 resident bird species. Geographically, the country is at the edge of the range for many Southern African and East African species. Zambia is relatively unique as all safari guides have to undergo strict exams so their knowledge and skills are at the highest standards. In addition, all reserves allow night drives, which is often a restricted activity in other areas of Southern Africa. This enables a broader range of species to be seen, ranging from the elusive leopard to the porcupine.

One third of the country is national park and game reserves, where conservation and sustainable utilisation of native wildlife is priority. Zambian safaris remain reasonably un-commercialised with merely small safari companies operating intimate camps across remote and stunning reserves. Being a country heavily reliant of the mining industry, Zambia has a history of a bumpy economy, and today is one of the world’s poorest countries. However, Zambia has succeeded in its sustainable tourism industry and now is regarded as one of the regions least travelled to locations and the most rewarding wilderness destination. Ranging from almost unparalleled first rate safari opportunities to the spectacular Victoria Falls, the country is not lacking in its scenic splendour as it is home to 17 waterfalls, breath-taking sunsets, rich wetlands and impressive lakes.

 

Population:  Estimate at July 2014 –  14,638,505  Source:  CIA The World Factbook.  The population is mainly concentrated around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the north-west.

Capital: Lusaka

Religion: 30% of residents are Christian; however there are small numbers of Muslim and Hindu along with a minority following traditional animist beliefs.

Languages: Official language is English but there are 73 local dialects. The main languages are Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda and Tonga.

Time Zone: GMT +2

Country Dialing Code: +260

Currency: The local currency is the Kwacha (ZMK). In small villages, facilities may be limited so it is strongly advisable to change money at the airport.

Electricity: The local voltage is 220 volts; delivered at 50Hz AC. Plugs used in the country have three square pins, like the current UK design. Many lodges are situated in rural or remote areas so facilities are limited. It is strongly advisable to bring spare batteries.

Topography

Zambia lies landlocked between the Equator and the tropic of Capricorn. Shaped like a giant butterfly, the country covers over 700,000km² and borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Most of the country consists of a high plateau, with some hills and mountains that form the backbone of the continent which reaches altitudes of 1,600m, deeply incised by river valleys of the Zambezi, Luangwa and the Kafue which lie below 500m. In addition there are several large lakes and flat broad floodplains in Zambia which make up the majority of the country’s scenic landscape.

Within the last few million years, Southern Africa entered a dry phase, resulting in Kalahari sands being blown across the south of the continent, covering much of western Zambia. Several rivers meander through the country, with perhaps the most famous being the Zambezi which falls 100 meters over the 1.6km wide Victoria Falls in the south-west corner of Zambia.

Climate

Climate
The country in general experiences a moderate, pleasant climate, with the hottest temperatures and more humid conditions concentrated in low-lying areas. Zambia climate is roughly split into three periods during the year; from December to April the country is warm and wet categorised with late afternoon torrential downpours; May to August brings dry and increasingly cool conditions; and September to November remains dry whilst becoming progressively hotter. October is the hottest month, where temperatures can often reach over 45°C in the shade and noticeable humidity is only during the wet season.
Seasons
The wet summer season begins in November and ends in April. The dry winter season from May to October is divided into the cool-dry season (May-August) and the hot-dry season (September-November).

Month

Conditions

January-February Average max temperature = 26°C with lows of 17°C. Relative humidity is around 84%. These are the wettest months as average rainfall is 200mm – the peak of the rainy season.
March Average max temperature = 26°C with lows of 16°C. Relative humidity is around 79%. Average rainfall is 106mm.
April-May Average max temperature = 20°C with lows of 13°C. Relative humidity is around 65%. Average rainfall is 15mm.
June-August Average max temperature = 18°C but temperatures can reach 25°C with lows of 10°C at night in June and July. Relative humidity is low in these months at around 52%. Average rainfall is 0mm – the beginning of the dry season.
September-October The hottest month of the year, with average max temperatures at 30°C with lows of 15°C. Relative humidity is around 40%. Average rainfall for September is 0mm, however from October, the rainy season commences.
November Average max temperature = 29°C with lows of 18°C. Relative humidity is around 59%. Average rainfall is 91mm.
December Average max temperature = 27°C with lows of 17°C. Relative humidity is around 78%. Average rainfall is 186mm.

Temperature & Rainfall

Climate Chart – Lusaka

Passport & Visa

Passport
It is essential that your passport is valid at least 6 months beyond intended stay. At least three blank passport pages are required, otherwise passport entry will be denied.

Visa Information
Most visitors, including nationals of Great Britain and the USA require a visa to enter the country. Currently, the fee is US$50 for single entry, regardless of nationality. Those staying for less than 24 hours, for example is en-route to another country, pay US$20. Most visas can be obtained at border posts on arrival, but applications must be made in advance. It is necessary to have at least 6 months left on your passport, and at least three blank pages.

Departure Tax
Airport departure tax is levied for all international and local flights in Zambia. International departure tax is usually US$25 payable in cash and traveller’s cheques are not accepted.

Health

Camps, lodges and hotels that cater for overseas visitors serve a range of international dishes and the quality of food in the most remote camps in usually very high. Local beer is available and there are no real restrictions on alcohol.

It is vital to be up-to-date with the necessary immunisations, which often take 6 weeks to organise. As of 2011, Zambia was still not considered a yellow fever endemic area. However, South African authorities change their views periodically, sometimes insisting that visitors passing through South Africa en-route from/or to Zambia must have a yellow fever certificate. No immunisations are required by law for entry to Zambia however there are several precautions that should be undertaken before departure. It is wise to be up-to-date with tetanus, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B and typhoid. Vaccinations against meningococcal may also be recommended. It is now strongly recommended that vaccination against rabies is taken. Immunisation against cholera is not usually required. Malaria occurs throughout Botswana so it is essential to take all precautions against the disease. Please consult your doctor.

Insurance
Visitors to Zambia are advised to take out a comprehensive medical insurance policy to cover them for emergencies.

Drinking Water and Other Precautions
Within main cities and towns, water is usually purified so is safe to drink. In rural areas, most camps and lodges use water from boreholes or they boil their water making it safe to drink. Bottled water is strongly advisable to guarantee safety.

Shopping, Tips & Extras

Shopping
Intricate animal carvings in wood or beautiful green malachite are common purchases. Masks, drums, jewellery and much more can be purchased as souvenirs.

Tipping
Tipping is widely expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Often a service charge is automatically added, but where not, a 10-15% tip is appreciated. Tour guides and game rangers often rely on tips for their income. It is recommended that guides are tipped US$5-US$8 per guest per day, and general staff tipped US$3 per day.

Luggage & Clothing

Luggage
Smaller, privately chartered planes may have a maximum weight limit of 10-12kg for hold luggage which must be packed in a small, soft bag. Travelling with a hard suitcase may result in extra charges or separate transportation. International flights usually have a maximum limit of 20kg.

Clothing
Zambia’s dress code is usually conservative in urban areas, so long skirts for women and long shorts for men are advisable. However, these rules are redundant at safari camps, where dress is casual, however green, khaki and dust-brown cotton are best. Appropriate footwear such as walking boots are useful for safari outings.

Zambia Highlights

Zambezi Sunset Cruise

Zambezi Sunset Cruise

Zambezi Sunset Cruise

A boat cruise on the Zambezi River takes you along the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park with the ...

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Zambezi Sunset Cruise

Zambezi Sunset Cruise

A boat cruise on the Zambezi River takes you along the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park with the intention of seeing some of our wildlife. Perfect for seeing elephants wade across the river or hear the sound of hippo while sipping delicious cocktails.

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Hot Air Ballooning in Kafue

Hot Air Ballooning in Kafue

Hot Air Ballooning in Kafue

There is nothing like sailing over the Plains in a hot air balloon – In Busanga Plains, Kafue ...

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Hot Air Ballooning in Kafue

Hot Air Ballooning in Kafue

There is nothing like sailing over the Plains in a hot air balloon – In Busanga Plains, Kafue offers this most exclusive experience to view red lechwe, puku or even the “local” rare roan herd.

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Canoeing the Zambezi

Canoeing the Zambezi

Canoeing the Zambezi

Canoe safaris can be arranged to be of 4 or 5 days duration or be a shorter experience enjoyed ...

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Canoeing the Zambezi

Canoeing the Zambezi

Canoe safaris can be arranged to be of 4 or 5 days duration or be a shorter experience enjoyed whilst staying in a camp on the edge of the Zambezi River. All trips are led by a pro guide with experience of that stretch of the river.

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Bush Walking

Bush Walking

Bush Walking

Walking safaris between authentic bushcamps in remote locations of The South Luangwa are second to ...

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Bush Walking

Bush Walking

Walking safaris between authentic bushcamps in remote locations of The South Luangwa are second to none. You will be accompanied by your professional safari guide and an armed wildlife ranger or “Scout” as they are called in Zambia.

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Luangwa Hippo Pods

Luangwa Hippo Pods

Luangwa Hippo Pods

The Luangwa River is one of the major tributaries of the Zambezi River, flooding in the rainy ...

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Luangwa Hippo Pods

Luangwa Hippo Pods

The Luangwa River is one of the major tributaries of the Zambezi River, flooding in the rainy season, but by the end of September the hippos congregate in huge pods of hundreds, jostling for a patch of precious water.

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Tiger Fishing in the Lower Zambezi

Tiger Fishing in the Lower Zambezi

Tiger Fishing in the Lower Zambezi

Big 5 Safaris Founder and Managing Director, Kevin Collins catching a Tiger Fish. Doing so on fly ...

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Tiger Fishing in the Lower Zambezi

Tiger Fishing in the Lower Zambezi

Big 5 Safaris Founder and Managing Director, Kevin Collins catching a Tiger Fish. Doing so on fly is widely considered to be the pinnacle of freshwater fly fishing and the opportunity to do so on the Zambezi should not be missed – strictly catch and release of course!

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Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

Liuwa Plains is unique in that it is home to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa ...

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Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration

Liuwa Plains is unique in that it is home to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa offering spectacular sights of thousands of animals. It’s the location of recent BBC footage of a wild dog hunt.

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Microlight over South Luangwa

Microlight over South Luangwa

Microlight over South Luangwa

A microlight flight offers a thrilling aerial perspective on the wildlife of Zambia's South Luangwa ...

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Microlight over South Luangwa

Microlight over South Luangwa

A microlight flight offers a thrilling aerial perspective on the wildlife of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. The owner of Remote Africa Safaris will take you up during your stay at the remote Tafika Camp.

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Leopard Night Drives

Leopard Night Drives

Leopard Night Drives

The South Luangwa is known as the “valley of the leopard” earning this name for its large ...

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Leopard Night Drives

Leopard Night Drives

The South Luangwa is known as the “valley of the leopard” earning this name for its large concentrations of this reclusive creature and on a 2 or 3 night stay practically guarantees great leopard sightings.

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Sleep Outs

Sleep Outs

Sleep Outs

Sleep outs in the south Luangwa are outstanding whether it be in a riverside tree-house or in a dry ...

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Sleep Outs

Sleep Outs

Sleep outs in the south Luangwa are outstanding whether it be in a riverside tree-house or in a dry river bed with simply a bedroll and mosquito net between you, the stars and the wildlife!

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Bush Breakfasts

Bush Breakfasts

Bush Breakfasts

Zambian hospitality in the camp is superb at the best of times, but going one step beyond you might ...

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Bush Breakfasts

Bush Breakfasts

Zambian hospitality in the camp is superb at the best of times, but going one step beyond you might find yourselves lucky enough to enjoy a freshly cooked breakfast in the middle of the bush.

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Scenic Flight over Victoria Falls

Scenic Flight over Victoria Falls

Scenic Flight over Victoria Falls

Experience the Flight of Angels with breathtaking views of the Victoria Falls, Batoka Gorge, the ...

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Scenic Flight over Victoria Falls

Scenic Flight over Victoria Falls

Experience the Flight of Angels with breathtaking views of the Victoria Falls, Batoka Gorge, the Zambezi River and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. A thrilling way to see Victoria Falls.

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Kafue

Kafue National Park remains largely unexplored and we aim to put that right!  It’s a hidden gem of a wilderness, tantalisingly waiting to be discovered by ...Read More

Kasanka and Bangweulu Wetlands

Ever wanted to witness a wildlife phenomenon? The bat migration is one of nature’s top events occurring in late November and early December each year in ...Read More

Liuwa Plain

Liuwa Plain National Park is situated in a remote section of Western Zambia. Few people have ventured into the Liuwa Plain due to its relative inaccessibility. ...Read More

Livingstone

Named after the legendary explorer, Livingstone is now the adventure capital at the Victoria Falls.   Livingstone is the perfect addition to a safari in ...Read More

Lower Zambezi

Easily reached – it’s only a short light aircraft hop from Lusaka!  The Lower Zambezi National Park may be one of Zambia’s smallest parks, but it is ...Read More

North Luangwa National Park

The words untouched and unforgettable sum up the North Luangwa National Park. Experience Africa as it was in this wild and remote part of Zambia! Each year only ...Read More

South Luangwa National Park

The South Luangwa has it all.  The meandering Luangwa River, stunning scenery, big game, knowledgeable guides and a choice of intimate elegant ...Read More