Zambia travel guide, including map of Zambia, top Zambia travel experiences, tips for travel in Zambia, plus where to see wildlife in Zambia
Zambia is sometimes considered Africa’s best-kept secret by safari aficionados. This large country (the size of France) has given nearly one third of its land to national parks and reserves – and yet it is barely on the radar of many travellers.
For lovers of wilderness, Zambia has it all: wetlands, rivers, rugged hills, large tracts of wildlife-rich bush and plenty of waterfalls, including the most iconic one of all, Victoria Falls. Here, thrillseekers can raft the Zambezi River, bungee jump off the bridge or swim in a natural rock pool right on the edge.
Wildlife lovers will be in paradise in Zambia. Leopards thrive, as do lions, elephants and other big game species including black rhinos, which were wiped out by poachers but have been reintroduced to little-visited North Luangwa National Park.
Zambia is also home of the walking safari, introduced in South Luangwa National Park by the legendary guide, Norman Carr. There is nothing to beat the experience of getting close to the wildlife on foot. And the country is renowned for the its award-winning safari guides.
Although tourism is on the increase in Zambia, you can still feel that you have discovered your own travel secret.
If going on safari make sure you have suitable clothing – avoid blue (it attracts tsetse flies), black, white and bright colours. Khaki is popular for a reason.
Take warm layers for early morning and night-time game drives as it can be surprisingly chilly when the sun is not out, especially May to July.
May to September is the dry season with pleasantly warm days and cool nights. This is a good time for walking safaris and for birdwatching. Things heat up in October-November, with it becoming increasingly hot, humid and dusty. If you can take the heat, though, it's a good time for safaris as wildlife clusters around the remaining watering holes and you may see congregations of hippos in the rivers.
December to April is the wet season. Temperatures cool down and, true to the name, there is a lot of rain — sometimes just an hour or two, sometimes for days on end. Unsealed roads become impassable, and many safari lodges close.
However, this has become known as the “emerald” or “green” season, and has its own beauty – and some very attractive lodge rates; some offer canoe safaris. It is also when Victoria Falls is at its most magnificent.
Lusaka (LUN) 26km from the city. Mfuwe and Livingstone take some international flights from neighbouring countries.
There is a good network of internal flights all over Zambia, which are not cheap but are useful for time-poor travellers. Proflight is the main carrier to Mfuwe (the Luangwa Valley) and Livingstone (for Victoria Falls and the Lower Zambezi National Park).
Zambia is a large country and roads are poor, so you’ll need time
and patience if going off the beaten track. It is possible to hire a car in the main centres. Intercity buses are fast, clean and good value.
Zambia also has three main internal train lines, from Livingstone to Lusaka, from Lusaka to the Copperbelt, and from Kapiri Mposhi to the northern border with Tanzania. The Zambezi Express leaves Livingstone on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, arriving in Lusaka the next morning.
There is a wide range of accommodation in all areas that attract tourists, including excellent budget accommodation in Livingstone and Lusaka.
There are privately-run campsites on the borders of the national parks, and nothing to stop you wild camping in many places. The safari lodges and camps are some of the best and most imaginative in Africa.
The most common dish is nshima (maize porridge) accompanied with a relish of meat, beans or vegetables. However, if staying in safari accommodation you are unlikely to come across local food.
Western dishes, including fast food, are easily found in larger towns and hotels. The safari lodges and camps serve international food to a very high standard. You may well put on weight, even if on a walking safari, as the lodges don’t miss any opportunity to feed you!
Zambian beers are good, with Mosi usually considered the best. Others include Castle, Rhino and Windhoek. The lodges usually carry a range of South African wines.
Ask your GP or a travel clinic about jabs and malaria prophylaxis.
Overall, Zambia is a safe country. Do take the usual commonsense precautions, especially in urban areas.
We reveal the best destinations to travel to in June, for warm sunny weather, cultural festivals, epic wildlife watching experiences and longer-term trips... More
Dark Waters presenter Jeremy reveals the stand-out mysterious and mystical lakes and rivers he’s travelled to in his career, discovering Lake Garda’s hidden monster to the water spirits of the Zambezi... More
Our Wanderlust experts have selected the cream of the upcoming 2019/2020 solo travel-friendly tours, that avoid you having to stump up the dreaded single supplement… More
Author and journalist Simon Barnes meditates on the blissful benefits of not doing, not searching, not moving, not exploring – just being in a special place, and understanding why it’s special… More
From Kenya and Zambia to Botswana and South Africa, big cat experts Jonathan and Angela Scott reveal the best African safari spots for a view of the majestic leopard... More
Do you want to track big game on foot or in a dugout canoe? Explore vast savannahs or sweeping dunes? Focus on birds or bigger beasts like lion and rhino? Plot the perfect African safari for you... More
The rarest travel experiences. The toughest. The dearest. The ones that won’t be around forever. These are the real do-before-you-die journeys... More
Seeing a creature in its natural habitat is one of the greatest moments in travel. Here's your guide to finding, tracking, and encountering some of the most magnificent species on Earth... More
Leave behind the crowded beaches and busy public swimming baths, as we highlight the best natural pools to plunge into in the wild More
From little-known corners of Zimbabwe and Zambia to the classic wildlife hotspots of South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, there’s an African wildlife adventure just for you More
We've listed the best African safaris to suit every traveller, whether it's your first or third time in Africa, or whether you're travelling on a budget or in luxury. More
Is it safe to take your children on a safari? We offer advice and tips on keeping them safe. More
From using light to being ready to react, Graeme Green reveals the skills that will help your photos stand out as you start your career as a wildlife photographer More
Whether you visit for glittering desert dunes, the majestic wildlife, rugged landscapes or the wild coasts - there's a southern Africa adventure for all More
From travel writing and photography to working with animals, getting paid to travel is many people’s dream job. Here, 12 experts in their fields tell you the highs, lows and what it takes to succeed... More
Wet, wild and utterly wonderful, seek out these beautiful natural spots on your travels, not just for the views but for the abundant wildlife that call them home as well More
With one wave of his tiny hand, the American president wrote them off as ‘shitholes’. But it doesn’t take much digging to discover why these unfairly maligned countries are well worth a visit More
It’s one of nature's most awe-inspiring sights: clouds of bats heading off to feed, silhouetted against colourful sunsets. From Zambia to Texas, here's where to witness this spectacle More
A great guide has the ability to bring a place to life and form a deep connection between traveller and country. Here are 8 spectacular trips with the top guides of the World Guide Awards 2017. More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
From: £6455.00More …
From: £3845.00More …
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!