Zambia food and tipping practices

Zambia’s lodges serve excellent Western-style food, with a few local delicacies thrown in for the adventurous. Meats include local game, beef, chicken and freshwater fish along with rice, potatoes, salad, fruit and vegetables.

Outside the camps and lodges, Zambia’s staple food is nshima – a thick maize-based starch most often served with red meat, chicken or fish, and accompanied with side of relish. You’ll find it in most smaller restaurants and it’s delicious. Definitely worth trying at least once.

Tipping is not compulsory but always appreciated. Although when and how to do so can be tricky. At a local eatery it’s not expected, but at more upmarket restaurants you can tip 10% for good service. At camps and lodges, tipping guides is the norm, but different establishments handle the tipping process differently. Some expect you to tip staff directly, while others implement a tip box which is then split between all. Many camps also exclude guides and spotters from the communal tip box, assuming that guides will be tipped individually after each activity.

As with most things in Zambia, asking what the policy is ahead of time is the best way to avoid misunderstandings. As a general rule, tip guides for their efforts at the end of your stay (not after each activity) and if there’s no communal tip box then tip the camp staff separately (assuming you feel the service has been worth it!). Between $5 and $10 is generous per activity, and around the same rate per day is a good tip for staff.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Zambian Odyssey

day 1

  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey

day 2

day 3

Lower Zambezi National Park

day 4

Lower Zambezi National Park

day 5

  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey

day 6

day 7

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Public transport in Zambia

Zambian self-drive adventures may become tricky during the rainy season Broadly speaking, there are three options for travelling in and around Zambia: by fly-in safari direct to your lodge, by road on a 4x4 self-drive or transfer, or rather less efficiently, by public transport. While it can be fun, and is definitely the most affordable option, public transport in Zambia is…

Zambia food and tipping practices

Zambia’s lodges serve excellent Western-style food, with a few local delicacies thrown in for the adventurous. Meats include local game, beef, chicken and freshwater fish along with rice, potatoes, salad, fruit and vegetables. Outside the camps and lodges, Zambia’s staple food is nshima – a thick maize-based starch most often served with red meat, chicken or fish, and accompanied…

Relaxed holiday in Zambia

Just about every kind of holiday in Zambia is intrinsically relaxing – there’s something especially rejuvenating about spending time in such wild, pristine wilderness. That said, there’s perhaps nothing more quintessentially relaxing than a fishing holiday, and a fishing holiday on a fully-catered houseboat is hard to beat. Whether to fish or not is completely up to you of course.…

Highlights of Zambia

Zambia is perhaps Southern Africa’s best kept secret, although in recent years it’s a secret that’s increasingly being told. For a long time, Botswana and South Africa have been the region’s most popular wildlife and safari destinations, but Zambia is fast emerging as an excellent alternative and indeed, for some experiences, there’s no better place to travel. Zambia has 20…

Zambia in December

December is the start of Zambia’s rainy season – generally cooler than the previous few months, but nevertheless still hot and humid. Expect daytime averages of roughly 30°C and nights down to only around 20°C. Rainstorms can be fierce, with heavy downpours rapidly turning the dirt roads to mud. Camps and lodges without fly-in access close completely and many close anyway due to…

Travelling to Zambia

Zambia’s Kenneth Kuanda International Airport is set to be remodelled in the near future Zambia is best accessed via its two major airports – Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka and Harry Mwaanga International Airport in Livingstone. There are also a number of land border posts with neighbouring countries: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Travellers…

Popular Zambia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Luxury Victoria Falls, Hwange & Mana Pools

Affordable Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

 | Southern Africa safari adventure

Southern Africa safari adventure

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

Camp fire | Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

Victoria Falls | Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

 | Best of Zambia Safari

Best of Zambia Safari

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, and a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of mystery waiting to be uncovered....

Boat at sunset | Zambian Odyssey

Zambian Odyssey - Safari to Three National Parks

One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls...

Romantic view | Cape Town, Kruger & Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Cape Town, Kruger and Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

 | 10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Experience the best of the migration and wildlife in Kenya, then travel to Zambia to witness Victoria Falls, ending your adventure at Hwange National Park....

 | Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...