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The Cultures of Zambia

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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The Cultures of Zambia

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By Diane Du Plessis

Safari Travel Planner

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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 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 of 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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