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Zambia Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Zambia

  • Size: 752,600 sq km
  • Capital: Lusaka
  • Population: 10 million
  • Currency: Zambian Kwacha
  • Time: GMT+ 2hrs
  • Language: English and 70+ local dialects
  • Zambia is divided into 9 provinces, each of which is administered by an appointed deputy minister
  • Each province in Zambia is subdivided into several districts with a grand total of 72 districts
  • The Victoria Falls
  • Lower Zambezi canoeing
  • South Luangwa night drives
  • Walking Safaris
  • Tiger fishing
  • Remote wilderness areas
  • South Luangwa
  • Lower Zambezi
  • Kafue
  • Sioma
  • Liuwa Plains
  • North Luangwa
  • Lochinvar
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Sumbu
  • Mweru Wantipa

Introducing Zambia

Zambia takes its name from the Zambezi River, which rises in the north-west corner of Zambia and forms the country's southern boundary. The landlocked country is situated between latitudes 10o and 18o South and longitudes 22o and 33o East. Zambia's neighbours are the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the north and north west, Tanzania to the north east, Malawi to the East, Mozambique to the south east, Zimbabwe to the south, Botswana and Namibia to the South west and Angola to the West.

Zambia's 752000 square kilometres makes it a large country which is about the size of France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland combined. It consists for the most part of a high plateau, with an average height of between 1060 and 1363 meters above sea level. (3500 and 4500 ft). Isolated mountain ridges rise to more than 6000 ft with an occasional peak above 7000 ft on the eastern border, called Nyika Plateau. Over most of the country, the surface tends to be flat, broken by small hills, the result of countless ages of undisturbed erosion of the underlying crystalline rocks. These rocks contain the bulk of the country's wealth in the form of minerals and the 90 mile long corridor known as the Copperbelt, along the north-western part of the country, is the mainstay of the economy.

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries of Zambia are the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city of Zambia is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of the country.  Zambia is the first and still the only country in Africa which manufactures mobile phones. The population is concentrated mainly around the capital Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt to the northwest.

For many years,  Zambia has been inhabited by hunter-gatherers and migrating tribes. After occassional visits by European explorers starting in the 18th century, Zambia was gradually claimed and occupied by the British as protectorate of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century.  On 24 October 1964, the protectorate gained independence with the new name of Zambia, derived from the Zambezi river which flows through the country.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800's as 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' - 'the Smoke that Thunders' and in more modern terms as 'the greatest known curtain of falling water', the famous Victoria Falls are a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Columns of spray created by the massive waterfalls at the Victoria Falls can be seen from miles away as 546 million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge (at the height of the flood season) over a width of nearly two kilometers into a deep gorge over 100 meters below. The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. Facing the magnificent Victoria Falls is another sheer wall of basalt, rising to the same height and capped by mist-soaked rain forest. A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor who is prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls.

One special vantage point is across the Knife edge bridge, where visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge. Other vantage points include the Falls bridge and the Lookout Tree which commands a panoramic view across the Main Falls.

Zambezi River

The Zambezi is Africa's fourth largest River system, after the Nile, Zaire and Niger Rivers. The Zambezi river through six countries on its journey from central Africa to the Indian Ocean. Its unique value is that it is less developed than others in terms of human settlement and many areas along it's banks enjoy protected status.

Game Reserves in Zambia, Southern Africa

Kafue National Park, Zambia: This large national park is situated in central-western Zambia. It is the third largest park in Africa and covers an area equivalent to Wales in the UK and twice that of Yellowstone National Park in USA. It spills into three of Zambia's provinces and is not that far from Lusaka and the well-populated Copperbelt, yet it remains relatively undiscovered.

Lochinvar National Park - Lechwe Plains, Zambia: This national park in Zambia is of exceptional beauty. Being located on the Kafue River floodplain, this national park is easily accessible midway between Livingstone and Lusaka. It extends from the Kafue River in the north, to low wooded hills in the south and includes the Chunga Lagoon whose levels fluctuate according to river flow.

Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia: The Lower Zambezi National Park lies in the scenic river valley between rolling hills of a hazy escarpment and the mighty Zambezi River. On this remote section, the river has calmed down after its magnificent journey over the Victoria Falls and through the Kariba Dam, and now flows calmly but insistently towards Mozambique and the sea. The river acts as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and on the south bank opposite the Lower Zambezi National Park, is Zimbabwe's equally wild Mana Pools National Park.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia: The enormous South Luangwa National Park is so wild and remote and full of animals that it would be hard to exceed the safari experience found here.

It is one of Africa's most unspoiled places with enormous spaces, a wide diversity of habitats, and a high game density and rarity of wildlife rarely seen in other game reserves. The survival of the valley depends on the winding Luangwa River, crowded with hippos, crocodiles and wading waterfowl, and its numerous tributaries that course through the park.

North Luangwa National Park, Zambia: The Luangwa Valley covers almost the entire eastern region of Zambia and contains some sensational national parks. North Luangwa National Park is one of the most spectacular surviving wilderness areas in Africa and has been called "one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world today." It is so remote that self-drive safaris are not allowed and you may only enter if accompanied by a licensed guide. There is really only one main road leading there, but fly-in safaris make it accessible.

The Victoria Falls National Park, Zambia: The Victoria Falls feature a small wildlife sanctuary (only 25.5 square miles (66 square kilometres) which runs along the north bank of the Zambezi, encompassed in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. It is worth a short visit not only for the sight of what are probably Zambia's only remaining rhino, but also for some common species.

Within this park is the Old Drift cemetery where the first European settlers were buried. They made camp by the river, but kept succumbing to a strange and fatal illness. They blamed the yellow/green-barked 'Fever Trees' for this incurable malady, while all the time it was the malarial mosquito causing their demise. Before long the community moved to higher ground and the town of Livingstone emerged.

Livingstone's main street is dotted with classic colonial buildings, and while some are decaying, many others have been restored. Victorian tin roofed houses with wooden verandas are a typical example of the English settler architecture and there is also a distinct art-deco influence. Livingstone is a quiet lazy little town with much charm and a feeling of optimism in the air.

Climate in Zambia

Zambia's climate can be divided into three distinct seasons: December to April: warm and wet May to August: cool and dry September to November: hot and dry. Average temperatures in Summer range from 25° C to 35° C and in winter from 6° C to 24° C.

Languages spoken in Zambia

There are over 73 dialects spoken in Zambia, but the official language is English. All media and business is in English and most Zambians speak it fairly well. Bemba is the next most commonly understood language, followed by Nyanja Tonga, Luvale, Lozi, Mambwe and Tumbuka.

Road conditions in Zambia

Zambia has a total road length of 38763kms tarred roads, 8592kms gravel roads and 21999 kms dirt roads. Zambia is notorious for potholes and roadsigns are few, but there are major roadworks on some of the main routes at the moment as the roads are finally being upgraded.. SOme of the more remote roads require great care and caution while driving. Avoid driving at night if possible as there are no roadmarkings and potholes and animals occur when least expected. A 4x4 is recommended if you're going anywhere off the main routes.

Subdivisions of Zambia: The provinces of Zambia

Zambia is divided into nine provinces, each of which is administered by an appointed deputy minister. Each province in Zambia is subdivided into several districts with a grand total of 72 districts. The provinces of Zambia are:

  • Central Zambia
  • Copperbelt
  • Eastern Zambia
  • Luapula
  • Lusaka
  • Northern Zambia
  • North-Western Zambia
  • Southern Zambia
  • Western Zambia

Important Information

All passengers departing from Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lusaka or Ndola airports are now required to pay an infrastructure and development charge, effective immediately. International passengers departing from these airports will be required to pay ZMW 52.8 (R99) and domestic passengers, ZMW26.7 (R50). Tickets issued before June 15 will be exempt from the tax.

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