Zambia information

Zambia general information

How can I make a call to or from Zambia? What is Zambia's currency? What time is it in Zambia? – just some of the questions travellers have, when going on a Zambia safari holiday for the first time. Below we've tried to answer common questions.

Time in Zambia

Zambia is two hours in the advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). There's no time difference between the summer and winter months, since Zambia doesn't operate daylight saving times.

Currency in Zambia

Zambia's currency is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMW), and at time of writing (Feb 2014) £1 = Kw9.55 – please see www.oando.com for the latest rates. Camps usually charge in UK£ or US$; credit cards are accepted by most, although many have a surcharge. Most visitors heading out on safari don't get any Kwacha in advance of their arrival in Zambia.

Zambia's International Dialling Code

Calling to Zambia, you dial the international country code (00)260, followed by an area code (e.g. (0)21 for Lusaka) and the local number; calling from Zambia, you dial 00 and the relevant country code (e.g. +44 for the UK, or +1 of the US). Calls on a land-line to the UK with Zambia's largest telecommunications operator, Zamtel, cost US$0.84 per minute (US$0.63 per minute off-peak; Aug 09).

Food in Zambia

The standard of food at Zambian safari camps is very high; the majority serve delicious international fare.

The local Zambian cuisine is base on nshima – cooked porridge made from ground maize, served with tasty meat or dried fish. The local beers (Mosi, Castle and Rhino) are good, as are imported South African beers and wines. Soft drinks are available everywhere, although choices are often limited.

Health in Zambia

Zambia is a tropical country and several vaccines are sensible (typhoid, polio, hepatitis, tetanus and possibly meningitis C). Malaria is common; you should take antimalarials. Always check the latest recommendations with your doctor or travel clinic, and perhaps see the Scottish NHS website for more useful travel information on Zambia.

HIV infection rates are high; AIDS is prevalent here. This isn't usually an issue for travellers, but they should be aware of the situation, and take the same sensible precautions to avoid infection which are wise in most countries. We understand that blood supplies used by the private hospitals here have been carefully screened for many years.

Language in Zambia

Zambia's official language is English, which is spoken by most people. Beside this, there are more than 70 different dialects spoken in Zambia, with the most common being Bemba; Bemba is also used for administration and education.

Luggage restrictions for Zambia

Most transfers between parks use light aircraft which results in a luggage restriction of 12-15kg per person, packed in squashable bags. Travellers require only comfortable, casual clothes and camps have efficient laundry services. If you have a lot of excess luggage, then discuss this with us before you book.

Taking children to Zambia

Many camps are unsuitable for children, who will always need full-time supervision when on safari. However, one or two now offer excellent family holidays specifically tailored for children, so please ask us for details or see our suggestions for family holidays in Zambia.

Visas for Zambia

At the time of writing (Feb 2014), most nationalities can buy a visa for Zambia on arrival, using UK pounds or US dollars cash. Ask us for guidance and check with your nearest Zambia Embassy or High Commission for the latest detail; If you're in the UK then contact the Zambia High Commission.

Weather and climate in Zambia

Zambia's climate is tropical, with a wet and a dry season; for details of Zambia's climate, and the best times to visit, see our weather and climate in Zambia guide.