Zambia Travel Advice
There are so many ways to experience a safari holiday in 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 4×4 experience.
There is, however, some information that pertains to all visitors. Travel documents (passports and immunizations) 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.
While drunk without trouble by locals, tap water tends to upset travelers’ 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). Generally, it’s always best to get up-to-date information from your hotel or lodge a few weeks before travel.
Visa Requirements For Zambia
Zambia’s visa regulations are relatively 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 nationals fall into the second group and can purchase a $50 single entry or $80 double entry visa on arrival. Both are valid for 90 days, but the double entry can be used twice within that period.
In the past, this was particularly useful for a trip to the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls, but after being introduced, then canceled, and now apparently reinstated, the KAZA Univisa is now best for that purpose.
Available on arrival at the Livingstone and Kazungula border posts and at Livingstone and Lusaka airports, the KAZA allows multiple access between Zambia and Zimbabwe (as well as day trips into Botswana). It costs $50 and is valid for 30 days.
All visitors requiring a visa will need to provide details of their stay in Zambia (lodge or hotel name, booking dates, and telephone numbers) and produce a valid passport with no fewer than six months before expiry. You’ll also need at least three blank pages.