Howdy SJ FAM! 😀 Welcome back to our Zambia Travel Series! I am thrilled to pick this series back up, and fill you in on all our adventures, as we indulge in part 1 of our Zambia Travel Guide!
Now that we are all caught up, shall we? 🙂
Zambia Travel Guide Pt. 1: All You Need To Know Before You Visit!
In Part 1 of this Zambia Travel Guide, we will focus on everything you’ll need to know before you book that trip!
A few months ago, as my friend Neema and I were preparing for our trip to Zambia we did a lot of online research… In the process, we encountered some ‘information gaps’.
Thankfully we got lots of input from our good Zambian friends, Tendai and Twaambo, that gave us an idea of what to expect…
And now, in paying it forward, I hope that this Zambia Travel Guide will come in handy when you are planning your own trip! Happy reading! 😀
No Visa Requirement for Kenyans.
We can all agree that one of the biggest hurdles to traveling abroad is the lengthy & challenging visa processes…
Well, if you’re planning to visit Zambia any time soon, you can relax because you won’t need to apply for a Tourist visa! 😀
Furthermore, when traveling on a Kenyan passport, you can stay in Zambia for a maximum of 90 days, without a visa.
- If you haven’t renewed your passport check out my ‘Kenyan E-Passport Guide Here.’
- And remember the deadline is coming up on 1st March, 2020.
- For my non-Kenyan readers, check out the Zambia Immigration website for more details, specific to your country.
Plan To Purchase a Local Sim Card
As soon as we landed at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, we quickly learned that our Kenyan mobile lines wouldn’t be of much service to us.
The roaming charges are out of this world, especially if you’d like to access the internet!
Within a few days we needed to buy a local Airtel sim card to function. My line served me well, providing great network coverage even on our adventures in Livingstone.
- Purchase a local Airtel line, and buy all-inclusive bundles that will allow you to make calls and surf the internet.
- The Airtel bundles only function in Zambia, so buy enough to last you during your trip.
- Purchasing a local sim card costs less than 5 dollars.
How to Get Around?
English is the official language in Zambia. This is perfect as you are unlikely to get lost or experience great communication challenges.
Fun Fact: They have 70+ native languages in Zambia, with Nyanja and Bemba being the most commonly-spoken, in Lusaka. Apparently these sound very much like the Luhya language in Kenya, being similarly of Bantu origin.
They don’t have Uber in Lusaka yet, however they do have a local Taxi App called Ulendo. I didn’t get to try it, but I am told it works quite well.
You can also board the 12-seater public minibus vans plying the main routes in Lusaka, or private taxis. If you choose to use a taxi, negotiate the price in advance, as they are not usually metered.
Kind and Accommodating People…
One of my favourite things about Zambia is the people! They are kind, warm, receptive and very laid-back…
Whether you are in the city or in the rural areas, you will enjoy meeting Zambians.
And with the population at only 16 million, it hardly ever feels crowded.
Neema and I found ourselves constantly awed by their politeness, particularly with giving way to other motorists, on the roads.
Is It Safe to visit…?
One time, my friend wanted to leave his phone in the car, and I panicked thinking it would attract ‘unwanted attention!’
But as we slowly came to learn, Zambia leans on the safer side, in terms of security. While there are security incidents in some areas, they are minimal.
Many parts of Zambia are safe, and you won’t have to worry about your bag or phone getting snatched.
>>Of course it’s wise to always keep your smarts about you, and get advice from a local. Also, like in any place, it’s not advisable to leave your valuable items unattended to.
Making Transactions… Should You Go Cashless?
As Kenyans, I must say MPESA has ‘spoiled’ us quite a bit, since we transact just about everything on mobile money! Unfortunately MPESA hasn’t made it to Zambia as yet, so you’ll definitely need to carry cash and a Visa Card.
The beauty of traveling in Zambia is that there are Malls in most major towns with access to ATMs and/or banks.
Exchange your money to dollars before your trip, as they mostly accept their local currency (Kwacha) or dollars.
We found life in Zambia a bit expensive, since (1USD = 14.55 Kwacha), meaning you’ll have a lower purchasing power..
- Try to plan your expenses in advance, and carry an extra amount for eventualities.
What To Pack For Your Trip…
During our visit in November, the weather was insanely hot and humid! Even so, it did rain on some days cooling down the weather a little.
The months of June to August are usually the coolest, although Global Warming has also had its effects on the weather patterns in Zambia.
I’d suggest packing light clothing, with a few warm pieces to be safe.. You’ll definitely want to load up on that sunscreen!
I noticed that the culture in their capital Lusaka is more liberal with dressing… All the same, you may want to dress modestly, to avoid being offensive, especially in the rural areas.
Best Times To Visit Zambia
You know Mother Nature is always up to something, so this is another tricky one since you can’t quite predict the weather…
Apparently, the best timings will largely depend on the activities you are looking to engage in:-
- The best time to visit the Victoria Falls is in March when its full, after the rainy months of December to February.
- For Camping and Safaris, plan to visit during the dry season, in the months of June to November,
- Most of the cafes and restaurants close down pretty early, so in case you plan to go out for a late dinner, call in advance.
- At the time of our visit, they were experiencing power rationing due to the prolonged dry weather. Be sure to carry a power bank and charge all your devices in advance.
- Check Out for Part 2 of this Zambia Travel Guide with a list of Fun Things To Do in Lusaka, Zambia!
Thank you for reading! 😀
I hope you found this Zambia Travel Guide useful… Do you have any questions about traveling to Zambia?
Feel free to leave a comment down below with your questions/feedback, or more tips to add to our Zambia Travel Guide!
<<Stay Inspired Always>>