This Zambia Safari Requirements information is designed to assist Safari Guru clients in understanding their travel destination prior to departure, as well as planning for the local conditions. Please take your time to read and ensure you fully understand any local customs, political agendas and the history of your chosen destination. Please note that Africa is in a constant state of change and development; therefore, the information provided should be treated as guidance only and could change by the time of travel.
Zimbabwe COVID-19 Travel Information and Requirements – 03 August 2021
As of 22nd March 2023, Zambia lifted all Covid-19 related entry requirements for tourists and residents.
Frequently Asked Questions about travel in Zambia and Covid-19
Is a negative PCR test required to depart Zambia?
Zambia has no published exit requirement, and therefore you are not required to produce a negative PCR test for travel if the airline you are flying with, the country you are flying to or the country you are in transit through does not require it.
Is a doctor’s letter or proof of recovery from Covid-19 accepted for entry to Zambia?
As of 22nd March 2023, Zambia lifted all Covid-19 related entry requirements for tourists and residents; therefore a doctor’s letter or proof of recovery is also not required.
Is proof of vaccination required for entry to Zambia?
No, proof of vaccination is no longer required for entry into Zambia as of 22 March 2023.
Do kids need a PCR test to enter Zambia?
No, proof of vaccination is no longer required for children or adults for entry into Zambia as of 22 March 2023.
Does a Covid vaccination card require a QR code to enter Zambia?
No, proof of vaccination is no longer required for entry into Zambia as of 22 March 2023.
Vast lakes and wetlands, long and life-giving rivers, breathtaking African sunsets and rich cultural heritage contribute to Zambia’s immense appeal as a safari destination.
Its most famous landmark, Victoria Falls, which it shares with Zimbabwe, attracts nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Visit from March to May, when the falls are in full spate, and the rainbows, the roar of the cascading water and the dense, drenching clouds of spray will bowl you over.
Livingstone, the closest urban hub to the falls and once Zambia’s colonial capital, has various accommodation options, colourful markets and a busy restaurant and nightlife scene. The mighty Zambezi River is a glass smoother above the falls and wild below. It’s perfect booze cruises, canoe safaris and adrenaline activities such as white water rafting and river surfing. There are a plethora of beautiful riverside lodges dotted along its banks.
Beyond the falls, Zambia is less high-profile a safari destination than Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, but it’s a firm favourite with those in the know. Packed with untamed wilderness and fascinating wildlife minus the crowds, Zambia is the African bush at its most raw and romantic.
The country’s excellent safari lodges and camps will put you fully in touch with your wild surroundings. You’ll fall asleep to the hooting of owls, the whooping of hyenas, the distant roar of lions, and the loud munching of hippos grazing nearby.
Almost a third of Zambia’s landmass is given over to national parks and game reserves, but South Luangwa National Park is the cream of the crop for the sheer density of big game. It’s also the home of the legendary African walking safari.
Another of Zambia’s draw cards is the people. The country is home to a staggering amount of different ethnic groups, each of whom has distinctive cultural traits and traditions, but all of whom are consistently warm and welcoming.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ZAMBIA:
|Area||752,614 sq km (290,586 sq miles)|
|Population||16,717,332 (UN Estimate 2016)|
|Population Density||20 per sq km|
|Head of Government||President Hakainde Hichilema since 24 August 2021|
|Language||English, Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, Lozi, Lunda, Kaonde and Luvale are the official language. Zambia also has over 70 local dialects|
SOCIAL CONVENTIONS IN ZAMBIA
Zambian culture, traditions and folklore remain prominent and long-standing tribal customs and crafts are practised throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. These include rituals and ceremonies to mark rites of passage such as coming-of-age or marriage and colourful annual festivals to commemorate revered ancestors and celebrate the changing season. Most Zambian festivals feature traditional music, drumming and dancing.
Visitors to the more remote rural areas should expect to be met with curiosity. Shaking hands is the standard form of greeting. Gifts are often offered to visitors as a sign of gratitude, friendship or honour. One should never refuse a gift but accept it with both hands.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal for males and females in Zambia, and social attitudes towards LGBT people are mostly negative.
Smoking is uncommon and prohibited on public transport and in most public buildings.
Around 30% of the population is Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic), a smaller number are Muslim and Hindu, and a small minority have traditional animist beliefs.
HISTORY OF ZAMBIA
The original inhabitants of Zambia were nomadic San hunter-gatherers. The first people to introduce agriculture and copper mining were Bantu settlers who started arriving in the 4th century.
In 1855, Dr David Livingston became the first British explorer to visit Zambia and ‘discovered’ Victoria Falls (so-named in honours of Queen Victoria) on his famous exploration of the Zambezi River. The town of Livingstone was later named after him and would serve as the capital for a time.
Cecil Rhodes and the British South African Company colonised Zambia in 1889, then in 1924, the company ceded administrative control to the British Crown, whereupon it became the colony of Northern Rhodesia and serious European exploitation of Zambia’s main natural resource, copper, began.
The colonial authorities ceded independence in 1964, and the country was renamed Zambia. The pre-independence elections were won by Kenneth Kaunda’s United National Independence Party. Zambia soon became involved in the war in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Kaunda closed the southern border and gave safe haven to cadres from Joshua Knomo’s ZAPU party and its associated guerrilla army, ZIPRA.
Relations with the Zimbabweans improved after Zimbabwe became independent in 1980, and Kaunda’s foreign policy focused elsewhere. However, a decline in global copper prices caused the economic decline in Zambia throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Meanwhile, Kaunda became a major regional statesman. He played a significant part in the initiatives leading to independence in Namibia and South Africa and, in the 1990s, chaired both the Organisation of African Unity and the ‘front-line’ group of Southern African states confronting the South African apartheid regime.
During 1990, domestic unrest, sparked by price rises, developed into demands for a more democratic system of government. The principal opposition, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) led by Frederick Chiluba, won a substantial majority in the ensuing 1991 election, which marked an end to single-party rule.
In the years since Zambia’s inherently peaceful democracy has prevailed despite the occasional scare. In January 2015, Edward Lungu became the latest Zimbabwean president after his predecessor Michael Sata died in office.
Zambia Passports & Visa Requirements
Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date of your intended departure date from Africa. It is your responsibility to ensure adequate passport pages, obtain any visas and satisfy any entry requirements.
PASSPORT PAGES – At least three blank “visa” (not “endorsement”) pages are required.
At this time, Australian, American and British tourists require a visa to enter Zambia. You can obtain either a KAZA UNVISA for multiple entry between Zambia and Zimbabwe, (particularly convenient for Victoria Falls visitors), or a single entry visa.
Single and double entry visas are available on arrival at all ports of entry but multi-entry visas are not.
A KAZA UNVISA is valid for travel between Zambia and Zimbabwe and day trips to Botswana through the Kazungula border. You can get a KAZA UNVISA if you enter via:
- Lusaka or Livingstone international airports
- Livingstone land border with Zimbabwe
- Kazungula land border with Botswana
You can also apply for a KAZA UNVISA online. It costs US$50 and is valid for 30 days.
You’re allowed two 30-day extensions on entry visas.
Apply for your visa online now – https://eservices.zambiaimmigration.gov.zm/#/home
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. It is always best to check for updated details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules well before your departure date – Zambia Department of Immigration.
While Visa/ MasterCard/ American Express are usually accepted, we recommend taking USD cash to avoid any complications. However, if you plan to pay with credit card be sure to contact your bank prior to departure.
Note: If you get the online KAZA visa from the Zambian e-visa website, your first port of entry will have to be a Zambian one. If you get the visa on the Zimbabwean e-visa website, then your first port of entry must be one of the Zimbabwe ones.
Medical, Immunisations & Safety
For immunisations, please consult your medical practitioner or a travel medical centre for advice on medical issues related to your destination. The following websites may be helpful to you: British: travelhealthpro.org.uk, Australians: smartraveller.gov.au and wwwnc.cdc.gov for American travellers. Please note that many immunisations require administration some weeks prior to travel in order to be effective. During your trip, should emergency assistance be required, each game-drive vehicle has radio contact with the camp, and each camp has 24-hour radio contact with their base support headquarters. Medical emergency evacuation will be arranged if necessary.
Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you’ll take and that it’s for personal use only.
Malaria is a risk in all areas of Zambia, and other mosquito-borne diseases (including filariasis) also occur.
Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases by using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing. You should consider taking malaria prevention medication and seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
There is a low risk of yellow fever in this country; however, there is a certificate requirement.
Under International Health Regulations, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), from 11 July 2016 (for all countries), the yellow fever certificate will be valid for the duration of the life of the person vaccinated. As a consequence, a valid certificate presented by arriving travellers cannot be rejected on the grounds that more than ten years have passed since the date vaccination became effective, as stated on the certificate; and that boosters or revaccination cannot be required.
It is a pre–requisite of travel that all clients obtain comprehensive travel insurance cover at their own expense. it is always advisable to furnish your booking agent with your travel policy details – if applicable.
Further reading and understanding of travel insurance with frequently asked questions.
Your Health (Food & Water)
In Zambia, local tap water is not potable.
Sealed bottled water is safe to drink, and reputable brands can be purchased in hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. You will be supplied with water at your camp, which has been filtered through a reverse osmosis process.
It is essential that you drink plenty of water each day (a minimum of 2–3 litres). The dryness and heat will dehydrate you very quickly. If you are feeling lethargic or have a headache, there is a good chance it is simply dehydration, so make sure you increase your water intake.
It is a good idea in the warmer months to travel with spare rehydrate sachets.
The water used for washing salads and making ice has also been filtered.
Cash and Credit Cards, Tipping & Other
The country’s currency is the Kwacha (ZMW), and is available at airports, hotels, ATMs and exchange offices. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and bigger shops. Visa is more readily accepted than MasterCard or American Express. Credit cards should be used with caution due to credit card fraud. Exchange services for foreign currency and travellers’ checks are available in the main towns at Bureaux de Change.
Personal expenses in the camps, such as souvenirs from the camp shop, can generally be paid with Visa or MasterCard, in USD, or in the local currency. A surcharge of 5% may be levied on credit card transactions. Be sure to contact your bank prior to departure if you plan to use your credit card in Africa. When carrying USD cash, it is a good idea to carry small denominations as it is often difficult to get change. As a general rule, check that USD notes are 2010 or newer and not damaged or marked.
Please consider carrying small denominations for tipping; most importantly for luggage porterage, road transfers, lodge staff and guides. Do not display excess cash in public areas.
While gratuities are not compulsory, they do make up a significant portion of income for local staff.
|Camp Staff||There will generally be a communal staff tip box at all the camps, or if not, the manager will inform you how best to offer any gratuity. The usual gratuity for camp staff is USD10 per guest per day|
|Specialist Staff||Safari Guides and Butlers, it is USD10–20 per person per day, given directly to the person at the end of your stay at each camp|
|Trackers||USD5 per person given directly at the end your stay|
|Massage Therapists||We recommend about USD2 – USD3 per treatment|
|Hotel Stays||Baggage porterage is usually tipped (about USD2 – USD3 per guest per movement, depending on how much luggage). Tips for housekeeping are generally not expected unless significant services have been provided|
|Non–Safari Transfers||E.G. airport–hotel: We recommend around USD2 – USD3 per guest per movement, minimum USD5 total|
Safari Guru would like to emphasise that tipping is definitely not a requirement and should be undertaken only by choice, dependent on the service received.
Climate, Clothing and Luggage
Although Zambia lies in the tropics, the height of the plateau ensures that the climate is seldom unpleasantly hot, except in the valleys. There are three seasons: the cool, dry winter season from May to September; the hot, dry season in October to November; and the rainy season, which is even hotter, from December to April.
Light-to medium weights with warmer clothes for evenings and rainwear for the wet season.
Soft bags with a rigid structure at the base – including wheels and/or a collapsible handle – will be accepted. Alternatively, standard soft duffel/tog type bags,
The maximum dimensions of ALL bags which can be accommodated are as follows: 30 cm (11.8 inches)
wide x 35 cm (13.8 inches) high and 70 cm (27.5 inches) long.
The maximum permissible luggage allowance when travelling on a seat rate basis, including carry-on, is strictly 20 kg (44 lb) per person.
Cell Phones, Power, Photography and drones
Tri–band cell phones on global roaming generally work in all major urban centres. However, they do not work in the majority of safari camps.
Camps are powered by regular electrical power, solar power or generators. Voltage is 220–240V. There is usually ample electricity to charge batteries for digital and video cameras, iPods etc., but not for use of hair dryers and electric shavers etc. In some camps, the facilities for charging batteries are in the main camp area rather than in a room. Many camps have an array of adaptor plugs.
Where outlets are available, the plug type D & G is used (UK style). The voltage (220–240V) is similar to most of the world (excluding the USA), and a voltage converter will generally not be required unless you’re travelling with 110V (i.e. USA) appliances.
Please note that in Zambia, it is not permitted to take pictures of government buildings and that it is considered rude to take pictures of people without asking them first.
Serious digital photographers may wish to bring a mobile device for the downloading of images. you are advised to bring a spare battery for use while the other one is being charged, a power converter/adaptor, if applicable, cables for computers or cameras and additional flashcards.
Even though drones are permitted with some limitations in Zambia, it is advisable to research current and up-to-date laws in the country.
For more specifics, please see https://uavsystemsinternational.com/drone-laws-by-country/zambia-drone-laws/ and check the information on the website is up to date.
Drone laws are continually changing, and if you are interested in bringing a drone on your trip, we recommend double-checking the rules for each country you will be travelling through immediately before departure.
Safari Guru’s Zambia Safari Requirements and a Packing List
Understand more about Packing for an African Safari, with a checklist of packing items, or download Safari Guru’s Zambia Safari Pre-Departure Information Document.
PDF Download – Zambia Safari Pre-Departure Information Document
DISCLAIMER: Please note that whilst we take every care to ensure the information contained herein is accurate, we cannot in any manner or form guarantee the accuracy and correctness thereof. The information is taken directly from relevant country government sources and the IATA travel centre, and can change at any time and without notice. You are therefore advised that any information contained herein should not be construed as a representation made by Safari Guru or its network of suppliers and ground handlers and it remains a travellers sole and absolute duty to double-check current information at the time of undertaking any travel.