Zambia offers a superb gateway for vehicle
travellers wanting to get off the beaten track. Bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola,
Zambia lies at the heart of the subcontinent.
Untainted by commercial tourist
development. Zambia is a working example of Africa left alone. A big country,
uncompromising and challenging....but real...... home to
true adventure and quality experiences enhanced by a warm and friendly people.
Depending on where you're coming from, or
where you're headed, here are suggestions of routes to take to see the best of the East,
West, South and Northern regions of the country. This section will be expanded to include
more detailed routes soon.
See below for
Car Hire for chauffeur driven
or self drive cars,
minibuses and 4x4's to hire
Click here for an informative article on driving
in Africa, and specifically Zambia
EXPLORE ZAMBIA BY VEHICLETHE EASTERN ROUTE
From the Valley to the
THE SOUTHERN ZAMBEZI
The world's greatest
Waterfall, Africa's biggest man-made lake and the legendary Zambezi Canoeing Safari
THE NORTHERN CIRCUIT
Swamps, lakes, waterfalls,
wildlife, a colonial mannor house, hot springs and Dr. Livingstones' final resting place
World class tiger fishing, abundant wildlife
and champions for chimps
Getting Around Zambia
If youre doing a vehicle trip through Zambia
it is a good idea to carry a range of tools and essential spares with you. Two spare
wheels and a couple of spare tubes are a must due to the condition of the roads. Spare
jerry cans of fuel and water, a tow rope, compressor, winch and a spotlight are useful
items to have. Many of the villages along the main routes offer tyre mending services at a
very reasonable fee. Road maps are available in Lusaka from the Map Centre in
Nationalist Road or the Tourist Board in Lusaka Square, Cairo Rd.
Zambia is a fascinating country to travel
around by vehicle. Even though camping facilities are marginal, if youre well
prepared you can find some of the best, unexplored and remote places in the country and
very often have them all to yourselves. Be fully equipped for spending the night with no
facilities at all except perhaps a nearby river. Have a bucket for washing pots and
clothes, all cooking gear and all the food you need for the whole journey apart from fresh
vegetables. Meat is not always available in the remoter areas so bring substitutes. Most
villages will sell onions, tomatoes, potatoes, bread, sugar, salt and oil. You can buy
just about anything you need for your journey in Lusaka, but tinned food is pricey. Always
have at least twenty litres of drinking water in the vehicle at all times as well as spare
jerry cans of petrol. It is best to boil all water before drinking it.
Be very careful in towns and villages not
to leave your vehicle open and unattended. People with little are easily tempted. You
should have no problem sleeping outdoors in designated camping areas or remote places
along the way, but get into the habit of locking things away before you go to sleep. Go to
Zambia has a wide range of standards when
it comes to places to stay - from five star hotels and luxury lodges comparable to any in
Africa, to cheap guesthouses and good campsites. Foreigners must pay in hard currency
except for the smaller guesthouses. Not all of the cheaper / remote ones are equipped to
take travellers cheques or credit cards. Be aware of the extras added
onto your bill - 10% service charge and 17.5% VAT (1999) See Listings for
Zambias three distinctive seasons
provide visitors with different perspectives depending on the time of year.
Valley for example is best for game viewing during the dry season from June to
October, but the rainy season, with its spectacular profusion of greens and reds changes
the landscape dramatically and the bird populations increase with the arrival of migrants
from the north.
Falls are at their most spectacular between April and May after the rainy season but
often the spray is so thick it is difficult to see the full width of the falls. To
appreciate the magnificent rock formations and gorges, it is just as interesting to come
when the water is low at the end of the dry season from October to December.
National Park is best from May to October as is the
Lower Zambezi. Ideal road travelling months are
April to September as the heat is at its most bearable.
Zambia has over 73 different tribes, with a
population of just over nine million people most of whom live in and around the urban
centres. The population growth however, at 3.7 % p/a is among the highest in the world.
In the cities, especially Lusaka, where
there is massive unemployment and poverty, the informal sector has been allowed to
multiply at an alarming rate. There are now fewer people selling wares on
every corner, pavement and traffic light. There are, as in most big cities, hieves,
pickpockets and beggars, but if you dont walk around with anything obviously stealable, its quite safe and most will be more than willing to chat or give
directions. For the most part Zambians are very friendly people.
There is no predominant ethnic culture and
Zambians are fast becoming westernised. There is however, an attempt to maintain
traditional customs with the revival of ancient tribal ceremonies amongst the various
tribes in different parts of the country. If any of these are taking place during your
visit, theyre well worth attending.
The People of Zambia)
As far as personal safety is concerned, one
could easily travel or even hitchhike alone throughout the country without a problem.
Theft however is rife in the bigger towns and cities. Dont walk around with things
you cant do without, like your passport or airline tickets. Carry minimum amounts of
cash and keep it hidden or in a money belt and if possible, dont leave your car
unattended. This is less of a problem in the rural areas.
Zambia has mild winters and the summer days
can get quite hot. Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round, with a jacket or
jersey for early winter mornings and evenings. On safari keep clothes to a minimum and
mostly of neutral colouring - khakis, browns and greens. A sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen
and insect repellent are a must.
For low budget travellers there are no coin
operated laundromats at all so consider drip dry clothing and be prepared for hand
washing. In most places one could hire someone to do your washing.
A yellow fever certificate is mandatory if
you are travelling from an infected area. Vaccinations for cholera, tetanus and yellow
fever are advised. Malaria is virulent in the low lying areas of the country which include
most of the good wildlife destinations. Take prophylactics two weeks before arrival and
continue two weeks after leaving. Your chemist or doctor can advise you of the most
suitable drug available as certain drugs lose their effectiveness.
Tap water in the major towns is purified
and perfectly safe to drink. In the more remote areas always boil it first, except if
youre staying at a lodge or hotel where drinking water is boiled already. Bottled
water is readily available in the bigger towns.
Zambia is an extremely photogenic country.
From panoramic scenery, wildlife and birds to people and vibrant ceremonies. Rich
and good low lighting conditions abound. It is considered rude to take pictures of people
without asking them first. Only print film and processing is available in Lusaka, not slide. Keep your
cameras in a dust resistant, padded case and out of the midday sun. A 200mm (or longer)
telephoto lens will prove very useful.
Always remember that while some animals
have become accustomed to the presence of people they are still wild animals. Keep your
distance. It is illegal to feed any animal, make excessive noise to attract their
attention, or deviate from designated roads for that closer photograph. Never get out of
your vehicle except at designated points. Close all windows and zippers when you leave
your room or tent and spray it with insect repellent.
The best way to get the most out of your
safari is to take an active interest in everything going on around you, not just the
number of species you can see in the shortest possible time. Take reference books on not
only wildlife but birds, insects and trees and read up about everything you see.
All borders are open from 6h00 - 18h00
except Victoria Falls which stays open until 20h00.
Visas into Zambia are payable by
non-commonwealth visitors except the UK, and can be paid at the border.
See visa info page.
PTA insurance must be purchased either
before leaving or at the border. Travel insurance and medical insurance should be taken
out before leaving home. Have all your vehicle papers on hand for roadblocks.
PARK ENTRANCE FEES
An entrance fee of $10 is payable per
person for entry into National Parks, except South Luangwa which is $20 per person. There
is also a $5 vehicle fee. Kafue Park $15
See all park entry fees
Most food supplies and second hand spares
can be obtained in Zambia. Medical supplies however are not readily found outside Lusaka.
Both diesel and petrol are available in all
towns and intermittently in small villages. Always take extra jerry cans of fuel if
driving to the more remote regions.