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 basing themselves in more populated regions where there’s good infrastructure, a host of established tour operators and a community of fellow travellers to meet and team up with. Livingstone delivers best on all of these. Its proximity to Victoria Falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Water Buffalo at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, credit: Flickr Kafue National Park and even Lake Kariba mean that a holiday centred in Zambia’s southernmost town is still the best option for those going at it alone. Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, is the other good alternative. Many group tours start in Lusaka and you’ll find a number of trusted operators offering safaris and adventure holidays in the country’s central and northern regions, especially to Lower Zambezi National Park, Lake Kariba and South Luangwa National Park.

Highlights

Visiting Victoria Falls itself is a must. The walkways through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which borders the falls and the stretch of the Zambezi River above them, are safe, fun and easy to navigate alone. Further options for solo travellers include a sunset cruise, kayaking, the famous Victoria Falls bungee jump, white-water rafting, or tiger fishing on the Zambezi River. Although the Zambezi flows through six countries, here – above Victoria Falls – is where travellers can experience Africa’s ‘River of Life’ at its finest and most spectacular.

Victoria Falls makes for a riveting free fall from a bungee jump, credit: Shearwaterbingee.com

North of the falls, Kafue National Park is great for wildlife-lovers and can be visited by joining a two- or three-day group tour from Livingstone. More adventurous solo travellers can head further afield to the Barotse Floodplain and Ngonye Falls on four- or five-day tiger fishing safaris. Almost equidistant from Lusaka and Livingstone, Lake Kariba is another top highlight, with everything from water sports to Big Five game viewing on offer.

Practical advice

Solo self-driving is not recommended in Zambia. While the country is relatively safe and its people among the friendliest on the continent, the lack of infrastructure outside its built-up areas makes it extremely risky to travel alone. As a solo traveller, your safest (and certainly most affordable) option is to join one of the many group safaris offered by private tour operators. These usually start and end in Livingstone or Lusaka and everything from budget camping to more luxurious group adventures are available. Ensure you have up-to-date health and travel insurance and vaccination certificates.

English is widely spoken in Zambia but learning a little about the local customs and attitudes is always appreciated and will also help keep you from becoming a target for thieves and swindlers. These are not a major problem in Zambia, but be especially careful and attentive in tourist hotspots. It’s best not to walk alone at night, especially in the larger towns, and during the day move confidently and purposefully. Take particular care when drawing money and don’t carry more than you need with you on the streets.


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