Zambia- Officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, in the south-central part of Zambia. The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copper belt Province to the northwest, the core economic hubs of the country.
Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region was affected by the Bantu expansion of the thirteenth century. After visits by European explorers in the eighteenth century, Zambia became the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. For most of the colonial period, Zambia was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.
Zambia’s unit of currency is the Kwacha (ZMW), formally ZMK which was re based in 2013. The denominations are K100, K50, K20, K10, K5 and K2. It is subdivided into 100 ngwee. Coins available are K1, 50 ngwee, 10 ngwee and 5 ngwee.
However, some prices are quoted in US$. It is therefore possible to use dollars and pounds as well.
In the cities and larger towns, you can change cash and travelers cheques at branches of Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Larger branches have ATMs that accept Visa. Foreign exchange offices are easy to find in cities and larger towns.
Banks are generally open on weekdays from 08h150 to 15h30 and 08h15 to 12h00 on Saturdays. Banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Zambia’s native cuisine is based on nshima, a cooked porridge made from ground maize normally accompanied by some tasty relish, perhaps made of meat and tomatoes, or dried fish. Safari camps will often prepare nshima if requested, and it is almost always available in small, local restaurants.
Camps, hotels and lodges that cater to overseas visitors tend to serve a range of international fare, and the quality of food prepared in the most remote bush camps is typically excellent.
Water in the main towns is usually purified, provided there are no shortages of chlorine, breakdowns, or other mishaps. The locals drink it, and are used to the relatively innocuous bugs that it may harbor. If you are in the country for a long time, then it may be worth acclimatizing yourself to it. However, if you are in Zambia for just a few weeks, then try to drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water in town.
Out in the bush, most of the camps and lodges use water from bore-holes. These underground sources vary in quality, but are normally perfectly safe to drink.
Climate and Weather
The rains in Zambia come mostly in December, January, February and March though the further north you are, the earlier the rains arrive and the later they leave. Eastern areas and higher areas generally receive more rain than western and lowland areas.
By April and May most of the rain has faded away, leaving a landscape that’s still green, but starting to dry out. Nighttime temperatures start to drop, especially in higher and more southerly locations.
In June, July and August the nights become much cooler, but the days are clear and warm. Make sure you bring warm clothes to wrap up if you’re out at night, as some nights get very cold! Most of Zambia’s small ‘walking bush camps’ open at the start of June, when the roads have dried out sufficiently to allow access. This is the start of the ‘peak season’ for these countries – with often cloudless days and continually increasing game sightings.
Into September and October the temperatures climb: the lower-lying rift valleys – Lower Zambezi, and Luangwa Valley – can get very hot in October. However, you’ll see some superb game as the animals concentrate around the limited water sources.
November is variable; it can be hot and dry like October, or it can see the season’s first downpours. Often it’s a very interesting month as you can see both patterns on successive days.