The cultures of Zambia

lozi people kuomboka ceremony

The Lozi people in a brilliant Kuomboka Ceremony

Zambia contains a rich mix of cultures with nuances and social norms that differ between regions. Practically speaking, however, there are just a handful of social conventions that you need to be aware of and a friendly attitude and a dose of deference will smooth out most faux pas.

The first thing to note is that Zambia is relatively conservative and predominantly Christian, and many views and attitudes reflect this. Homosexuality is illegal and although it’s overlooked within the confines most lodges, open displays of same-sex affection can theoretically land you in prison. Even public affection between heterosexual couples is frowned upon and revealing clothing of any kind (including shorts for men) is considered improper. Keep your clothing choices sensible and practical, and avoid camo and military fatigues. These in particular are not considered appropriate civilian attire.

Interactions between Zambians are unhurried and courteous. If you need assistance, or are asking for directions, be sure to greet the person first. Politeness and genuine interest will get you far in Zambia. Ask how people are doing first, and don’t jump right in with questions.


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Zambia travel advice

What practical information should I know about Zambia? There are so many ways to experience Zambia that an entire book would be required for an exhaustive pre-holiday checklist. If you’re on an all-inclusive fly-in safari, for example, then just about every need will be thoroughly taken care of, from food to flight transfers to emergency evacuation services. Not so at all if you’re planning a self-drive safari. Zambia is perhaps the most challenging country to self-drive in…

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…

Packing list for Zambia

The first thing to do when preparing for Zambia is to book an appointment with a local travel clinic and go and speak to a doctor. The internet is full of African health and safety horror stories, but for safari holidays the risks are generally very low and/or easily manageable. If you’re at all concerned, speak to a professional. They’re likely to advise you to get your immunisations up to date and will be able to prescribe appropriate anti-malarial drugs. They’ll also have the…


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