Public transport in Zambia

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 unreliable and slow, and you’ll certainly miss out on valuable safari time. Road and air transfers are far quicker and more efficient, and most of Zambia’s main camps and lodges offer one or both when conditions allow. Camps in extremely remote areas may only be accessible by air and others that offer a choice during the dry season (May to November) usually get completely cut off by the summer rains. If these stay open at all, it’s for fly-in safaris only, although you’ll often find good deals and even free flights during this less popular period (December to April).

Flights are obviously the most expensive transfer option, but they’re also the quickest and by far the most comfortable. Zambia’s dirt roads are rough even when they’re dry and road transfers to the major parks from Livingston and Lusaka can take many hours.

Self-driving in Zambia can be daunting for first-timers. Even along its major arteries, road conditions range from immaculate to appalling, often with little warning. Off-road driving can be some of the most challenging in Southern Africa and in summer the rains make most roads impassable, regardless of your vehicle or 4x4 skills. From June to November, however, and with a little patience, experience and some local knowledge, driving in Zambia needn’t be as daunting as it first seems. Exploring Zambia in a 4x4 is one of Africa’s great experiences and there’s nothing quite like the sense of achievement of arriving at a lodge or tented camp after a long, challenging day. If you do plan to self-drive keep these points in mind:

<

ul>

  • Don’t drive after dark at all. Zambia’s roads are shared by livestock, people, bicycles and vehicles, the latter with a seemingly wanton disregard for headlights

    • The general speed limit is 100km/h in open areas and 50km/h in towns. Keep a sharp eye out for these signs. Police tend to set up camp just behind them

    • Look out for speed humps. Almost all major towns have a set on their outskirts. They may look small but they are nasty and will damage your vehicle if taken at speed

    • Keep an eye out for branches in the road. They signal that a vehicle has broken down ahead and you should slow down


  • Our Recommended Itinerary

    Best of Zambia Safari

    day 1 to 4

    Welcome to Zambia

    day 5 to 7

    Most relaxed and unique camp

    day 8 to 9

    Explore the mighty Victoria Falls

    day 10

    We're sad to see you leave!

    View Full Itinerary

    You might also like

    Solo holiday in Zambia

    As Zambia’s road and transport infrastructure continues to develop, even its more remote regions will become exciting options for solo travellers. For the time being, however, the country’s more isolated corners are best explored in company, and ideally with an extra vehicle as backup if you’re planning to self-drive. In general, solo travellers will have the best experience by…

    Travel insurance for Zambia

    Comprehensive medical insurance is essential for holidays to Zambia. It should include cover for emergency evacuation and private hospitalisation within Zambia, transfers for specialist treatment in neighbouring countries and, ultimately, repatriation. Make sure you’re covered for safari activities and close wildlife encounters, and any other adventure activities you plan on doing.…

    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 in February

    February in Zambia is much the same as January, with short, fierce afternoon thunderstorms, swollen rivers and washed-out roads. It can be a difficult time to visit in Zambia, unless you’re flying into a specialist lodge that operates throughout the season. These usually offer their best safari deals from January to April and will sometimes have discounts for families and children.…

    Visa requirements for Zambia

    Zambia’s visa regulations are fairly complex and change regularly, but broadly speaking there are three main categories. Firstly, those who are exempt from needing a visa at all (South African citizens for example), then those who can purchase a visa on arrival, and finally those nationals who need to apply for and obtain a visa before they travel. North American and most European…

    Zambia vs Botswana

    So, should you go to Zambia or Botswana? The choice depends entirely on the type of holiday you prefer. Both countries are extremely safe and have excellent wildlife and national parks, but each is suited to a slightly different type of traveller. Botswana is perhaps the best self-drive safari destination in Southern Africa, with good connecting roads, abundant wildlife, plenty of…

    Popular Zambia Safaris

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

     | 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 ...

    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...

     | 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...

     | 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....

     | South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

    South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

    Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...

    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...

     | 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....

     | Southern Africa safari adventure

    Southern Africa safari adventure

    Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

    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...