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Travel Insurance Zambia


Zambia Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Republic of Zambia
Capital City: Lusaka
Language Spoken: English (official), major vernaculars - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages

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Geographic data

15 00 S, 30 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Zambezi river 329 m highest point: unnamed location in Mafinga Hills 2,301 m

Land boundaries

total: 5,664 km border countries: Angola 1,110 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,930 km, Malawi 837 km, Mozambique 419 km, Namibia 233 km, Tanzania 338 km, Zimbabwe 797 km

Natural hazards

periodic drought, tropical storms (November to April)

Natural resources

copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 6.99% permanent crops: 0.04% other: 92.97% (2005)

Environmental current issues

air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; chemical runoff into watersheds; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks


Although Zambia lies in the tropics, the height of the plateau ensures that the climate is seldom unpleasantly hot, except in the valleys. There are three seasons: the cool, dry winter season from May to September; the hot, dry season in October and November; and the rainy season, which is even hotter, from December to April. Required clothing Lightweights or tropical with rainwear.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+2


11,502,010 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 46.3% (male 2,673,891/female 2,656,268) 15-64 years: 51.3% (male 2,925,910/female 2,969,324) 65 years and over: 2.4% (male 117,877/female 158,740) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 16.5 years male: 16.3 years female: 16.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.11% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

41 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

19.93 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 40.03 years male: 39.76 years female: 40.31 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

5.39 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Suit and tie are preferred for business meetings. English is widely used in business circles. Business cards are usually exchanged. Office hours are 0800-1300 and 1400-1700 Monday to Friday.


Crime is prevalent in Zambia. Armed carjackings, muggings and petty theft are commonplace in Lusaka and other major cities, especially in downtown commercial districts and housing compounds. Car thieves may be targeting American citizens driving 4x4 vehicles. Thieves have stolen possessions from automobiles and public transport vehicles stopped in traffic. Car doors should be locked and windows rolled up at all times. Travel at night is particularly risky, both in Lusaka and on roads outside of the city. Tourist destinations, including South Luangwa National Park and Victoria Falls, are visited by large numbers of tourists without incident. Visitors to the Kafue National Park should be aware that a series of attacks were perpetrated in early 1998 by armed gunmen on cars traveling the Lusaka-Mongu road in the immediate vicinity of the park. Visitors should also be aware of occasional attacks by armed gunmen on cars near the northern border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire) and near the western border with Angola. Landmines in the Gwembe valley near Sinazongwe (along the southwest end of Lake Kariba on the Livingstone to Siavonga Road) make travel to that area potentially hazardous. Visitors should not travel on this road, or to drive off established roads in this area.


Hotels are concentrated around Lusaka, Livingstone and the Copperbelt region. Others are widely dispersed around the country along principal roads or near towns.


Telephone IDD service is available to Zambia. The country code is 260 and the outgoing international code is 00. There are public telephones and most calls are made through a post office. There are public fax facilities at the Central Post Office in Lusaka and at principal hotels. Telecommunications are generally adequate but can be unreliable, especially during the rainy season. Cellular service is currently offered in Lusaka, Copperbelt towns, and some towns along the line of rail. International telephone calls are expensive, about 8 U.S. dollars per 3 minute to the U.S., including tax. AT&T s USA Direct service is available, as well as similar services to Britain, Sweden and some other European countries. A number of callback service companies are operating, although the parastatal telephone company, ZAMTEL, disputes their legality and operations. Fax machines are widely used in Zambia. The Internet is also becoming a popular communications tool.


is 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Electricity 230 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types


Food And Dining

Owing to the liberalization of the economy, there is now plenty of food in the shops. Local and imported beers, spirits and assorted soft drinks are available.
National specialties:
? Freshwater fish: bream from the Kafue, Luapula and Zambezi rivers, Nile perch and lake salmon. National drinks:
? Mosi and Rhino lager.
A 10 per cent sales tax is added to all bills. Tipping in hotels has been abolished by law but a 10 per cent tip may be expected or included in bills elsewhere.
Lusaka has dancing and floorshows in the main hotels, cinemas and theaters. The Copperbelt and Livingstone areas offer a variety of entertainments including casinos and nightclubs. Very popular among travelers are boat trips on the river with a few drinks (also called 'booze' cruises).

Entry departure requirements

* Please see visa section

Visa immigration information


Passport valid for six months from the date of entry required by all.


Required by all except the following for stays of up to 30 days:
(a) 1. nationals of Ireland (all other EU nationals do require a visa);
(b) nationals of Romania and Serbia & Montenegro;
(c) nationals of Commonwealth countries (except nationals of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, The Gambia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and the UK who do require a visa);
(d) transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft within 24 hours provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.


A Bonafide Tourist, who is traveling on a pre-arranged package tour with a foreign tour operator, or in conjunction with a local tour operator in Zambia, will be issued a fee-waived visa for a stay of no longer than 14 days. The fee-waived visa will be issued at any port of entry to Zambia. The Bonafide Tourist will also be exempt from submitting a letter of invitation, photocopy of flight details and proof of funds.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist, Business, Private and Transit. The cost depends on nationality. For UK citizens: US$57 (single-entry); US$77 (double- and multiple-entry). Payable in cash in person or by postal order payable to the Zambia High Commission.


Six months from date of issue for a stay of maximum 30 days; transit visa valid for seven days. Daytripper visas are valid for tourists entering Zambia for no more than 24 hours.

Application to

Consulate (or consular section at High Commission or Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) One completed application form. (b) Two recent passport-size photos. (c) Valid passport. (d) Fee (payable in cash or by postal order). (e) Self-addressed stamped envelope for postal applications. (f) Letter of invitation confirming purpose of visit from host in Zambia, for all trips. (g) Proof of the Zambian host's immigration status. (h) Proof of return journey to home country. (i) Proof of sufficient funds during length of stay in Zambia.

Working days required


Temporary residence

For stays in excess of 90 days, apply to the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Kent Building, PO Box 50300, Lusaka (tel: (1) 252 622 or 252 629; tel/fax: (1) 252 008).

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

US$20 (payable in cash). Transit passengers and children under two years are exempt.


High Commission for the Republic of Zambia in the UK

2 Palace Gate, Kensington, London W8 5NG, UK
Tel: (020) 7589 6655.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1300 and 1400-1700; Mon-Fri 1000-1300 (visa section).

Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in the USA

2419 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 265 9717.
Opening hours: Mon-Thur 0930-1230 (consular section).
Travelers are advised against all but essential travel to areas of Zambia bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there have been reports of cross-border raids. There are also landmines in this area, and on the borders with Angola and Mozambique.
Most visits to Zambia are trouble free. The threat from terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Armed robbery and car hijacking are on the increase.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office


US Department of State



Kwacha (ZMK) = 100 ngwee. Notes are in denominations of ZMK50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of ZMK1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 ngwee.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to ZMK100. Free import of foreign currency subject to declaration on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on import. All passengers entering or departing from Zambia must declare all currency notes exceeding US$5000 or equivalent. Note: Currency declaration forms and exchange receipts must be shown if purchasing airline tickets in Zambia.

Banking hours

Vary from bank to bank, but most are open Mon-Fri 0815-1430. Some banks are open 0815-1030 on the first and last Saturday of the month.

Currency exchange

Exchange of foreign currency is carried out at authorized banks and bureaux de change. ATMs are available within Lusaka and some of the major towns in Zambia.

Credit cards

Most hotels, restaurants, travel agents and bigger shops accept credit cards. Standard Chartered and Barclays Bank have ATMs which accept Visa.

Travellers cheques

Widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Chipata(0)6+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Choma(0)3+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Kabwe(0)5+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Kasama(0)4+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Kitwe(0)2+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Lusaka(0)1+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Mongu(0)7+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Solwezi(0)8+ 6 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

There is little medication available in Zambia

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Government hospitals and clinics are often understaffed and lack supplies. While private medical clinics in major cities can provide reasonable care, they are not equipped to cope with major medical emergencies, which usually require medical evacuation to South Africa or elsewhere, which costs thousands of dollars or more. Basic medical care outside major cities is extremely limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Poisonous snakes are sometimes found in urban areas and are common in rural areas and game parks. Know where medical facilities are available if needed. Those especially sensitive to antivenom sera (based on horse serum) need to take special care. The climate aggravates chronic sinusitis; and dust in the dry season and molds in the rainy season, and pollens much of the year, could affect allergies.


Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Yellow fever: Although risk is reportedly limited to northwestern forest areas, vaccination is recommended for travelers over 9 months of age going outside of urban areas. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: are major causes of illness. Many diseases, including yellow fever, are endemic, with only scattered cases being reported and, from time to time, more extensive outbreaks. Filariasis - prevalent Leishmaniasis - occurs (both cutaneous and visceral types may be found, particularly in the drier areas) Malaria - common Onchocerciasis (river blindness) - prevalent Relapsing fever - occurs Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) - occurs (human type - mainly in small, isolated areas - is reported) Typhus - occurs (louse-, flea-, and tick-borne types occur) Food-borne and water-borne illness: highly endemic. The dysenteries and diarrheal diseases, giardiasis, the typhoid fevers and viral hepatitis are widespread. Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is widespread in animal-breeding areas. Cholera - occurs Dracunculiasis - occurs Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - prevalent Schistosomiasis - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Rabies - occurs Trachoma - prevalent

Entry requirements


Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

Care for Business Clinic (CFB)Plot 4192 Addis Ababa Drive Lusaka
cfb Medical CentreP.O. Box 32119 Plot 4192 Addis Ababa Drive Lusaka 10101
Copperbelt Medical Centre1 Kitwe Drive PO Box 8042 Parklands Kitwe
Lusaka Trust HospitalNsumbu Road Woodlands Lusaka
North End Emergency CentreCairo Road Lusaka
University Training HospitalLusaka


State-run radio and television services dominate Zambia's broadcasting scene. Private radio stations offer little political reporting.
Press: The Post (private) (website:, Times of Zambia, Sunday Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail (website: are published in English.
TV: Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) is state-run.
Radio: Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) is state-run. Other radio stations include Breeze FM, QFM, Radio Choice, Radio Phoenix, Radio Icengelo and Yatsani Radio. FM relays of BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale are on the air in Lusaka and Kitwe.