Zambia travel information
What to Wear
When travelling to foreign destinations it is always respectful to dress modestly and we suggest the emphasis is on comfortable clothing. It is often very warm on the plains during the day, but it can get very cold, especially in the early mornings and evenings for game drives.
For game drives we suggest wearing layered clothing that can be removed as the day heats up. Blankets and hot water bottles are often provided by the lodges for those chilly early morning game drives. Neutral coloured clothing is recommended for game drives, along with good walking shoes for bush walks. Most hotels and lodges have laundry services, so an excessive amount of clothing should be unnecessary. Please note that most hotels and lodges hand wash clothing.
Most of the transfers between the lodges in Zambia are done in light aircraft with a strict baggage limit of 15Kg per person, in SOFT bags so that they can easily fit into the undercarriage compartment. More information about luggage can be found in your journey essentials document post-booking.
Getting There & Away
If Natural World Safaris has arranged your international flights you will be sent your flight itinerary separately. Please note that once your flights have been booked these will be subject to their respective terms and conditions. If you haven’t booked your flights with Natural World Safaris clients will need to make their own arrangements to arrive and leave in accordance with their itinerary. We can arrange these flights for you if needed, please ask for further details.
Upon arrival at your destination, you will be met by our local representative. They will hold a ‘welcome card’ with your name on it. We have provided local contact details in the accompanying information but if you have any problems please call our 24-hour UK telephone number on +44 (0)7887 637 628. If you are arriving into Livingstone Airport, please be aware that, due to airport congestion, all tour operators now have to wait for their guests outside the Waiting Lounge below the stairs, this is essentially outside. This means that drivers and guides may not be visible in the arrivals hall when you first come through.
Hotels & Lodges
Lodges and camps vary from personally run, privately owned setups, to "company owned" lodges which generally form a circuit throughout Zambia, often to some remote and beautiful locations. The lodges/camps in Zambia are generally of a very high standard. They are usually small and intimate offering a very personal and high level service. Electricity is usually provided from a generator or by solar power. We do however always attempt to use environmentally friendly lodges who are committed to helping the local communities.
Most lodges are able to offer laundry facilities but please note that the cost is not always included. Check with reception for current prices. Due to natural drying and variable climatic conditions your clothing might not always come back ‘bone dry’. As most laundry is hand washed please avoid handing in delicate clothing. Most lodges won’t wash underwear but will happily provide washing powder to use in your room.
Food & Water
Food varies from destination to destination. Please bear in mind that we try to use lodges/camps that use local produce which supports the local communities. Do not be afraid to try local produce it is part of the experience!
We recommend that you only drink bottled/filtered water which is often provided by the lodges.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in Lusaka and Livingstone as well as in Mfuwe but is very limited in some of the more remote places. Most of the communication to and from the lodges is done via radio or in emergencies, satellite phones.
We are not able to provide contact details for individual hotels, lodges or camps, as many do not have the facilities to handle guest calls/communications. We will provide contact details for our ground agents, please see accompanying information.
Zambia is two hours (+2) ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Sunrise in Zambia depends on the season and locations, but this ranges from 05.30 to 06.50 and sunset ranges from 17.55 to 18.45.
Outside of the major towns electricity supplies in rural areas are provided by solar cells or generators. As such most lodges are only able to provide lighting/power to guest rooms at set times in the morning and afternoon. Most lodges do not have in room electrical sockets but charging facilities will be available, so please ask at reception. Please bear in mind that solar power is weather dependant and at times insufficient sunshine may mean lighting is limited. In these instances alternative lighting is generally available e.g. storm lanterns or torches.
The electricity supply in Zambia is 220 volts. Plug sockets do vary and we advise visitors to take multi-adaptors to cope with 3 square pin sockets (UK).
The local currency in Zambia is the Kwacha (Kw) which is divided into 100 ngwee, although the value of ngwee is worthless and so is hardly ever used. There are money changing facilities in Lusaka and Livingstone, which we recommend you use.
Safaris to Zambia are usually done on an all inclusive basis including local drinks, which means the only spending money you will need is for buying souvenirs and tipping your guides etc. This will then depend on each individual client and itinerary, so it is difficult to give you an estimated figure to take with you. The exchange rate into Kwacha is fluctuating a lot at the moment, so take with you a little more than you originally anticipated.
You may wish to take extra funds to make contributions or donations to organisations that we encourage clients to visit. Donations and contributions are entirely voluntary.
It is preferable to travel with cash rather than travellers cheques or credit cards (cards are useful as an emergency back–up); often it is only possible to use these in main cities or some of the larger lodges. US Dollars are not accepted in Zambia.
It is not possible to purchase Kwacha outside of Zambia, so you will need to be prepared to change cash at a Bureau at the airport OR carry a bank card and withdraw cash at the airport ATM - don’t forget your PIN!
Never keep all of your cash in the same place, keep it in different pockets and split it up between different bags.
If you are carrying USD$, please take bills dated 2006 or later as earlier dated bills can be very difficult to change and may not be accepted (as well as torn and dirty bills – the crisper the better!). You will get a better exchange rate for $50 or $100 USD$ bills.
Most of the larger lodges and hotels will accept credit cards, but this should be as a backup or emergency.
At time of writing the departure tax is 58,000 Kwacha per person, equating to about $13 (US). As previously mentioned, exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis so this can change at any time.
A valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity on arrival and two blank pages is mandatory. Nationals of the following countries require a visa to travel to Zambia:
Most EU Countries
Citizens of the above countries will be granted a visa on arrival, but please check the following website for up to date information: https://www.visahq.com/zambia/. Please note obtaining the correct entry visas are your responsibility.
Please note obtaining the correct entry visas are your responsibility. We recommend requesting a double entry visa if you wish to travel to neighbouring Zimbabwe as part of your trip, as the UNIVISA system (which allowed travellers to enter both Zimbabwe and Zambia using a dual visa) is currently suspended.
Embassy Contact Details
In the UK the Zambia Embassy is located at 2 Palace Gate, London, W8 5NG.
Tel: 020 7589 6655
In the USA the Zambia Embassy is located at 2419 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington DC 20008
Tel: (202) 265 9717
All of our local operators conform to local safety regulations. If you at any time feel that this is not the case please do not hesitate to contact us.
Know Before You Go is an ongoing campaign from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help Brits stay safe abroad, however in our opinion it has useful information for all nationalities. The campaign was launched in 2001 to promote these key messages:
- Get adequate travel insurance
- Check the FCO’s country travel advise
- Visit your GP as soon as possible before travelling
- Check your passport is in good condition and valid and you have all necessary visas
- Make copies of important documents and/or store them online using a secure data storage site.
- Tell someone where you are going and leave emergency contact details with them
- Take enough money and have access to emergency funds.
We suggest that you go to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to get up to date information on your specific destination and important travel tips before you travel.
Go to: https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/ for relevant and important travel tips to plan your trip abroad.
Zambia is a safe country, but common sense is required when travelling, especially in Lusaka and Livingstone. Do not flaunt money and always use safes when provided at hotels/lodges. If in doubt please ask your guide. Most of the lodges that are used in Zambia are far from any built up areas and so incidents are very rare. The main concern with regards to security is the threat from the wildlife which often roams free within the confines of the lodges and so special care needs to be taken when walking around alone. Do not approach wildlife on your own as they can be dangerous.
For latest travel advice please contact us, at our UK office, or alternatively use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Health & Medical
Always seek medical advice before travelling; please consult your GP or Doctor who will be able to advise you on required vaccinations and anti-malarial prophylaxis. In the UK we recommended visiting the ‘Fit for Travel’ website.
In the USA, we suggest consulting CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) - www.cdc.gov/
Please bring any personal medication required. Anti-malaria tablets and mosquito repellents are essential. Drink bottled or boiled water only. Travel to Zambia requires a Yellow Fever inoculation and certificate.
Medical services, especially in rural areas, are basic so it is essential you have appropriate travel insurance with adequate medical cover, air repatriation with a 24-hour contact telephone number for emergencies.
It is a condition of booking that all clients must have, and must demonstrate to the company prior to their departure, adequate insurance for the duration of the tour.
Proof of the following items of insurance is required on booking; cancellation or curtailment of your trip, medical expenses, repatriation, loss of luggage, personal injury, adventure activities such as white-water rafting, tracking wild animals, theft of personal belongings.
Please report any theft, trip disruption immediately to your guide during your trip and also in writing to Natural World Safaris immediately on return to your home country.
There is a smoking ban in Zambia that prohibits smoking in all public places, offices and public service vehicles. We strongly discourage smoking in the National Parks. Zambia is a very dry country and so PLEASE never through a lit cigarette into the bush as this could cause a devastating bush fire.
Travel times can vary considerably in Zambia. Main roads are generally good but travel is much slower than on European or American roads. Most roads in rural areas are often dusty or muddy and bumpy due to poor local maintenance and weather conditions. Wherever necessary we use properly equipped 4x4’s. Transfers between lodges are often done by light aircraft (please see the baggage section regarding restrictions) as this is the easiest way to get around. Departure times and travel times will vary depending on the route and how many stops there are before your drop off point. This is great way to get around as it gives you an aerial perspective of the country.
The weather in Zambia depends on the season, but generally it is warm during the day and can be cold at night and early morning. Zambia is in the southern hemisphere and so experiences its winter between June and August when night time temperatures can drop as low as 6 degrees centigrade. As the sun rises the day time temperature increases to a comfortable mid twenties.
September to April times can be very hot especially during the day and from November to April you can experience afternoon thunder showers that usually last a couple of hours. The main rainy season is between mid November and March. Some lodges close up during the rainy season.
Please refrain from photography of military personnel, military installations and airports. Always ask for permission when taking photos of local people or alternatively ask your guide for advice. Please bring extra batteries as it may not always be possible to re-charge them at the lodges. In addition it might be useful to bring a car charger (cigarette lighter variety). For photographing wildlife a zoom lens of 300mm or more is highly recommended.
Most lodges in Zambia offer an all inclusive package that includes local drinks, all meals and game activities and so our prices usually include the following: airport transfers, accommodation, meals and drinks as per your itinerary, shared game drives and transfers, most game activities, most park fees
Prices exclude all items of a personal nature, entry visas, international flights (Unless we have arranged these for you), tips, telephone calls, drinks (unless otherwise stated), laundry and airport taxes.
These are just rough guidelines and some may differ depending on the itinerary chosen.
Tips & Gratuities
During your time in Zambia, tipping is entirely at your discretion. There is no obligation to pay a tip to your drivers, hotel staff or your government guides. However, should you wish to tip, the following may be used as a guideline:
Whilst on safari, if your guide has given you exceptional service then a US$5 per person per day is a generous reflection of his/her service. If you are going to tip guides and lodge staff please do so at the end of your stay, rather than at the end of each game drive, otherwise guides will only try harder to impress, knowing there is a tip at the end of it. Please ask your lodge manager about the tipping procedure at their lodge as sometimes the tips are shared out amongst all the staff.
Charitable Giving & Community Projects
We recommend as part of our responsible travel policy that you do not give money or gifts directly to local people. We have links with local projects/schools that would appreciate your support. Please ask your guide for further details. If you would like to contribute to these donations of clothing, pens and pencils are greatly appreciated.
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists the flight, accommodation, car hire and/or other services that are financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. Company Name: Natural World Safaris Ltd. ATOL Number 9826. For more information please visit their website: www.caa.co.uk/atol-protection/
As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), Natural World Safaris Ltd has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
In the event of insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with Natural World Safaris Ltd.
In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.
The ABTOT number is 5127.