Flights to Zambia are available from all the major cities and towns in South Africa and are short and inexpensive, making a holiday to Zambia a desirable option for South African travellers. Zambia is a country that’s all about taking it easy and enjoying nature’s bounty. It is one of the most political stable countries in Africa and an essential stop on any southern African overland trip. But don’t be fooled into thinking Zambia isn’t enough on its own. It is a place where adventure unfolds dramatically on the edge of waterfalls and on regal steam trains rambling across wild national parks. It is a place where you can walk beside elephants and feel at home in small towns that move to the rhythmic beat of Africa. South Africans don’t need a visa for Zambia, just a passport that is valid for six months beyond their return date and three empty pages for stamps.
Zambia is a country brimming with cool experiences and gorgeous landscapes begging to be explored. Some of the best experiences in Zambia happen in nature. Zambia is regarded as the home of walking safaris, so strapping on some walking shoes and immersing yourself in the untamed South Luangwa National Park should be at the very top of your itinerary. Another quintessential experience is a trip to the mighty Victoria Falls, the golden child of Zambia. Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for any traveller to Zambia. If you are looking for adventure, bungee jumping, micro flights, and river cruises are the three most popular activities near Victoria Falls. A hot air balloon safari over Busanga Plains will leave you awe-struck, while a Tsika Island canoe safari along the Lower Zambezi will get you up close to African elephants. To experience Victorian era opulence, book a spot on the Royal Livingstone Express, an old steam train that will take you from Livingstone through Mosi-o-Tunya National Park along the Zambezi River. For something a bit more daring, white water rafting down the Zambezi River is legendary. Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Zambia and an excellent spot for wildlife viewing. If you happen to be in Zambia at the end of August, the Likumbi Lya Mize Festival is a cultural extravaganza of masked dances and theatrical performances that is usually held on the last weekend of August on both sides of the Zambezi.
The big cities are well developed, so you will be able to find a number of modern shopping malls in Zambia. Great East Road, Kafue Road, and Leopards Hill in Lusaka have large shopping centres that have supermarkets, clothing stores, and everything in between. Manda Hill, Eastpark Mall, and Arcades Shopping Mall are well known shopping centres in Lusaka. For something a little different, the Sunday Crafts Market, Kabwata Cultural Village, and 37D Gallery are also worth seeing while you are in the city. The biggest markets in Lusaka are on Cairo Road, Independence Avenue, and Freedom Way. Falls Park Shopping Centre is the main shopping mall in Livingstone. Being the capital city, there are no shortage of shops in Livingstone. Stroll through the streets and you will find many shops and stores selling just about everything you may need. Souvenir shops selling traditional clothing, local gemstones, handmade jewellery, wooden masks, and bead work can also be found throughout Zambia. Tribal Textiles is a popular craft workers cooperative in Mfuwe. The workshop is open to the public, so you will be able to watch them making beautiful batik fabrics.
Organised tours and self-drive safaris are the best ways to get around Zambia. The are many car rental agencies in the main cities of Lusaka, Livingstone, Ndola, and Kitwe. They offer a range of vehicles, but if you are planning to travel extensively by road, a 4X4 is recommended as dirt roads are common. You can also hire a chauffeur if you would rather not navigate the roads. There are also regular bus services that depart from Lusaka and travel to all the main towns in Zambia. The bus terminal is one road up from Cairo Road at the station. Minibuses and taxis are also an easy way to get around if you are taking short trips around the city, but with a little negotiating you could possibly get your own private minibus. If you are interested in getting around Zambia by rail, the TAZARA is a unique way to see the country. It traverses across Central and Northern Zamia, crossing more than 1000 kilometres and is extremely affordable. You will get to see some of the best landscapes and stop at some of the little towns along the way.
The accommodation in Zambia varies from region to region. If you are spending time in northern Zambia, you will find a handful of places that are straightforward but charming in their own way. Camp sites and wilderness lodges reign in this part of Zambia. If you are looking for places to stay near Victoria Falls, you are spoiled for choice with river lodges, resorts, eco-lodges, backpackers, guest houses, and tented camps. The national parks abound with extravagant bush camps and safari lodges that will have you staying right in the heart of the Zambian wilderness. When booking places to stay in Zambia, be sure to book a few nights in one of these if you can. Accommodation in Livingstone and Lusaka is extremely varied. You will find everything from swanky hotels, indulgent bed and breakfasts, charming guest houses, trendy backpackers, sprawling resorts, and low key camp sites. For a truly unique experience, stay in a houseboat on Lake Kariba.
Direct flights to Zambia are available from Johannesburg and are only about two hours. If you are travelling to Zambia from Cape Town, Durban, or one of the other cities or towns in South Africa, you will have to catch a connecting flight. But with an estimated travel time of five hours, it will be a short and sweet trip that will give you more time to enjoy the lush beauty and wild experiences that await in this humble African country. South African Airways and British Airways are currently the only airlines that operate non-stop flights to Zambia. Connecting flights to Zambia are operated by Kenya Airways. There are two international airports in Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone. There are a number of smaller airports that serve the other parts of the country.
The Mwabonwa Cultural Experiences in Livingstone will introduce you to the delicious world of Zambian cuisine on an intimate dining experience in the home of a local. You will spend an evening with Sophia, the co-founder of Mwabonwa Cultural Experiences, and her friends and family. After learning and exchanging greetings in several Zambian languages you will learn about eating customs and etiquette, and hear why dinner is an important part of Zambian culture. You will get to try traditional dishes such as nshima, village chicken, kapenta small fish, chikanda African polony, caterpillars, and impwa garden eggs.