Head Office: Lusaka
PO Box 30017
Tel: +260 1 229087 / 90
Fax: +260 1 225174
WATA - ZAM TRAVEL TOURS Ltd, LUSAKA
Zambia is a vast plateau bordered by Angola to the west, Zaire to the north, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia to the south. The Zambezi River, together with Lake Kariba, forms the frontier with Zimbabwe. The Victoria Falls, at the southern end of the man-made Lake Kariba, is one of the most spectacular sights in Africa (if not the world). To the east and northeast, the country rises to a plateau 1,200m (3937 ft) high, covered by deciduous savannah, small trees, grassy plains and marshland. The magnificent Luangwa and Kafue National Parks have one of the most prolific animal populations in Africa.
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; the rainy season from December to April.
Zambia is one of the world's six largest exporters of copper, and is also a major producer of cobalt. Zinc, coal, cement, lime, sulphur and magnetite are also produced. Agriculture employs the majority of the work force, with the major commercial crops being maize, peanuts, tobacco and cotton. Tourism is of increasing importance.
The population of Zambia is 9.37 million (mid-1995), about a fifth of whom live in the Copperbelt region north of Lusaka. There are 73 indigenous ethnic groups, including the Bemba, the Tonga, the Nyanja and the Lozi peoples.
A brief history
There is archaeological evidence to show that Zambia has been inhabited for around 12,000 years. More concrete evidence comes with the arrival of the Luba and Lunda peoples in the 14th and 15th centuries; the Bemba are descended from the Luba and the Lozi of the Lunda.
In the mid 19th century, the British missionary and explorer David Livingstone travelled through Zambia, and the 1880s and 1890s saw a wave of settlement by the British. A Royal Charter to explore, develop and administer the land was granted to the British South Africa Company in 1889, and in 1893 the British put an end to the slave trade that had flourished in the region. By 1924, control of the country, then called Northern Rhodesia, had been passed to the British Crown, and large-scale exploitation of Zambia's copper resources began.
In the 1950s, Kenneth Kaunda founded a breakaway movement from the African National Congress (ANC) called the Zambia African National Congress (ZANC). ZANC was committed to fighting for basic civil and voting rights for the African population and was swiftly banned by the government; Kaunda was arrested. While he was in jail, his followers reformed ZANC as the United National Independence Party (UNIP); Kaunda became chairman of UNIP after his release in 1960. UNIP too was made illegal, but it received widespread support across the population.
After waves of demonstrations spread across the country in the early 1960s, Britain introduced a new constitution on a more democratic basis. When UNIP emerged as the majority party, it became clear that independence was inevitable, and the Republic of Zambia finally became an independent member of the Commonwealth on 24 October 1964.
Many Zambians follow a syncretistic blend of Christianity with traditional beliefs; there are also small Muslim and Hindu minorities.
Languages spoken by nationals
The official language is English, which is widely spoken. There are more than 73 tribal dialects, of which the major ones are Myanja, Tonga, Bemba, Lozi, Kaonde, Luvale and Lunda.
Two hours ahead of GMT.
The Kwacha (K), divided into 100 Ngwee.
Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)
1 January - New Year's Day; 11 March - Youth Day; 28 - 31 March - Easter; 1 May - Labour Day; 25 May - African Freedom Day (anniversary of the OAU's foundation); 3 July - Heroes' Day; 4 July - Unity Day; 7 August - Farmer's Day; 24 October - Independence Day; 25 December - Christmas Day.
It is advisable to check dates in advance.
What one should not fail to see
Located on the southernmost edge of Zambia bordering Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls is the largest body of falling water in the world, with spray that can be seen 30km (20 miles) away. The Zambezi River is 2.5km (1.5 miles) wide at this point, and as it passes over the falls it drops 100m (330ft) into a narrow chasm at the rate of 550 million liters of water every minute.
Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring
See the section on climate above.
How to dress
Lightweight or tropical clothing with rainwear is highly recommended. Sweaters and jackets are necessary during the cool and the rainy seasons.
Main holiday resorts
Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, has several luxury hotels as well as a number of smaller hotels, motels and a good camping park. Lying at the heart of the country, the capital is a hive of commercial fervour and free enterprise, bustling with a character and energy all of its own - life in Lusaka is as much a part of the 'real Africa' as the wilderness areas. Two excellent game reserves nearby provide comfortable country accommodation and the opportunity to see all of Zambia's plains game in pristine bush surrounds.
The old colonial capital, Livingstone, is now known as the 'Tourist Capital of Zambia', with several luxury hotels, a casino and the National Museum, housing Livingstone memorabilia and anthropological exhibits. Close to the Victoria Falls, it is possible to go white-water rafting, bungee jumping, microlighting, horse-riding, canoeing or hiking in the area. Also nearby is the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which is home to most of Zambia's more common wild animals.
Main holiday sports
White-water rafting: The breathtaking Victoria Falls form a backdrop to what is internationally recognised as one of the wildest and most challenging white-water stretches in the world. Adrenalin pumping high-grade rapids churn the Zambezi as she coils through the twisting primeval Batoka Gorge, home to the Zambezi River God Nyaminyami and the rare Taita Falcon. Being both warm and a pool-and-drop river, this section of the Zambezi offers white-water rafting at its best. The awesome energy of the river, one of Africa's biggest, gives a rollercoaster ride of a lifetime.
Bungee jumping: The Victoria Falls Bridge, just 11km from Livingstone on the Zambia / Zimbabwe border, spans the wide Batoka Gorge, traversing the great Zambezi after it thunders over the Falls. Suspended 150m above the river, it provides the anchor for the highest and most spectacular bridge jump in the world.
Canoeing Safari: The Canoeing Safari on the Lower Zambezi River, which in some places is up to 5km wide, is one of the most relaxing and exciting ways to enjoy the teeming wildlife of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The unobtrusive, float-by approach allows you to watch the animals and birds without scaring them off in the laid-back comfort of your two-person canoe, led competently by an expert guide. Buffalo and antelope drink warily at the water's edge, hippos grunt and cavort in the shallows, one of the biggest elephant herds left in Africa languish in channels as the eerie cry of the fish eagle calls from overhead. Warm sunshine, picnic lunches on white, shady beaches - this is the life!
Walking Safari: Leave at first light and walk with a bush-wise armed guide past herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, antelope, action-packed rivers choked with crocs and hippos and diverse vegetation with abundant bird life. Photo opportunities abound as you discover the ways of the wild. Zambia's game lodges are known for their exciting walking safaris in real wilderness country and demand a high standard of qualification for their guides. Mobile walking safaris are taken in South Luangwa, North Luangwa and Kafue National Parks between June and October, and on the Liuwa Plains in November for the wildebeest migrations. Guests are accommodated in traditional old-Africa safari style tents with all the necessary comforts and camps set up ahead to await your arrival in a different location each evening. Duration is tailor made to requirements.
What to buy
Satisfying market demands, Zambia's crafts people have combined artistic license with traditional mores to produce a range of fine crafts, from the master basket weavers of Barotseland to the ebony sculptures of the Southern Province. Fierce masks, objets d'art made from copper, brass or malachite, traditional musical instruments from drums to thumb pianos... even the stretched canvas is becoming a popular medium for Zambian self expression.
Zambia's prolific wildlife inspires much of Zambian craft work: elephant, buffalo and hippo are favoured with artistic licence defining individual styles. International appreciation of Zambian craft extends to implements still used by rural villagers: conical fish-traps with their functional weave; baskets used for storage or food preparation; clay pots to store anything from grains to water; sleep mats; musical instruments; games... all confirming traditional skills and the rich ethnic culture that is the living foundation of modern Zambia.
Passports and visas
Valid passports are required by all.
Visas are required by all except the following:
The types of visa available are as follows:
British nationals: Single / Business / Transit - £33, Multiple Entry - £45;
Others: Tourist, Business, Transit and Multiple Entry visas: costs vary - please enquire.
Transit visas are not required by those exempted from full visas or by those continuing their journey by the same or next connecting flight within 24 hours and not leaving the airport. Transit visas are valid for seven days maximum and are not renewable.
The following items may be imported into Zambia without incurring customs duty: 400 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco; one bottle of spirits and wine and 2.5 litres of beer (opened); one ounce bottle of perfume.
Souvenirs may be exported without restriction but game trophies such as tooth, bone, horn, shell, claw, skin, hair, feather or other durable items are subject to export permits.
Main travel routes
The following international airlines fly to Zambia: British Airways, KLM, SAA, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Aeroflot, Air Zimbabwe, Air India, Air Namibia, Air Malawi, Air Uganda, Royal Swazi National Airways, Inter Air.
There are also four domestic airlines that cover a number of internal routes: Aero Zambia, Eastern Air, Roan Air and Zambia Express. Aero Zambia and Zambian Express also fly to Johannesburg, Nairobi, Harare, Lilongwe, Lubumbashi, and Dar Es Salaam.
Coach services are available between Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. The main routes are from Zimbabwe via Chirundu, Kariba and Livingstone, from Botswana via Kasana and Kazungula, from Mozambique via Villa Gambito and Zumbo, from Tanzania via Nakonde and Mbala, from Malawi via Chipata and Lundazi and from Zaire via Kashiba, Mwenda, Sakania, Mokamba, Kasumbalesa and Kapushi.
Other Zambia National Tourist Board Addresses