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 Southern Africa and should only be considered if you have prior 4x4 experience.
There is, however, some information that pertains to all visitors. Travel documents (passports and immunisations) must be up-to-date and travel insurance is essential and required for entry into the country (you can also buy it at the border). Besides the usual narcotics, explosives and pornography, palm tree products and henna are also banned. Electronic items should be listed (with serial numbers) and declared upon entry. It’s a rarely enforced regulation, but a spot check could create unnecessary problems and delays.
Tap water, while drunk without trouble by locals, has a tendency to upset travellers’ stomachs so it’s best to buy bottled water to be safe. Very importantly, Zambia’s top lodges and destinations fill up quickly, especially in peak season. Book well in advance to avoid disappointment (up to two years in some cases). As a general rule, it’s always best to get up-to-date information from your hotel or lodge a few weeks before you travel. For more information, the Zambia Tourism Board (+260-211-229-087, zambiatourism.com) and the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (+260-211-278-129, +260-211-278-482) are good resources, although you might need several attempts to get through.