A Zambia Travel Guide for people travelling in Zambia as well as an online information guide to the country. Landlocked country in central Africa, bounded by the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Tanzania, by Malawi, by Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia, and by Angola.
For wildlife fans, the excellent national parks are teeming with birds and animals, and boast some of the finest safari camps and lodges in the whole of African continent. Zambia shares the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls - two of the region's major tourist highlights with her Southern Neighbour Zimbabwe.
Up until the 1970s, Zambia was considered to have had some of the highest game populations in Africa; unfortunately, over-hunting and poaching have since decimated the game in many areas. Recently however, this safari destination has been steadily recovering, with fresh government controls over hunting and poaching. Today almost 30% of Zambia is under game management.
Zambia has a relatively undeveloped tourism infrastructure and a small but sophisticated safari industry with excellent lodges and seasonal bush camps and some of the best African safari guides. African safaris in Zambia are ideally suited for "old Africa hands" or those seeking a remote and more exclusive African safari.
A vast grassy plateau dominates the country with the prime wildlife regions being concentrated around the Luangwa, Kafue and Zambezi water systems. While not sharing the game diversity of some of its neighbours, Zambia's wildlife concentrations are impressive and it is ideal for specialists seeking specific African game species or birdlife on a brilliant scale.
Zambia is the home of the modern walking safari and without doubt offers some of Africa's best traditional walking safaris, particularly in the Luangwa Valley. Night drives are a speciality in Zambia and provide arguably the best means for seeing some of the more elusive nocturnal species, including leopard.
Visas are required by most nationalities, but they can be bought upon arrival at all borders and international airports.
Most visitors need visas, which are good for three months, plus an International Health Certificate showing proof of a yellow fever vaccination within the past 10 years.
South Luangwa National Park
With a large concentration of mammals and bird life, the South Luangwa National Park is one of Africa's foremost safari destinations. The park covers an area of 9050 km² which is half the size of Wales and over three times the area of Rhode Island. There are more than 50 species of mammal and some 400 varieties of bird to be found here. The top ten mammals you can see there are lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, warthog, zebra, giraffe, baboon, hippo and impala.
Proof of a yellow fever vaccination may be required when entering Tanzania from elsewhere in Africa, but not by those coming directly from Europe or North America. Malaria is present in most parts of the country and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. Bottled water is widely available.
The unit of currency is the Tanzania shilling (TZS). Recent exchange rates were:UK£1=TZS2550, US$l=TZSl570 and €l=TZS2060. Foreign currency can be changed into Tanzania shillings at any bank or bureau de change, though the latter often dealing cash only and refuse to take travllers cheques. Major credit cards, especially Visa but also sometimes American Express and Mastercard, are accepted by many tourist hotels. They can also be used to draw local currency at ATMs in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, but there are few ATMs elsewhere.
The combination of vehicle running costs and high park entrance fees means that there is no such thing as a cheap safari. At the bottom end of the comfort scale, a basic camping safari for 4-5 people often using campsites outside the parks will cost at least US$150 per person per day. Smaller groups will pay more per person, and safaris based in lodges might cost two to three times as much as a camping safari. Safaris that use exclusive tented camps will cost even more. Costs on Zanzibar and other areas of the coast vary widely depending on your choice of accommodation. Safety Tanzania is generally very safe, with malaria forming by far the greatest threat to life and limb. Occasional outbreaks of mugging occur in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, but these are unlikely to affect tourists unless they wander around town after dark.
International flights serve Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha. For those on the classic northern safari circuit, flying into Arusha's Kilimanjaro International Airport is the most sensible option. Some visitors opt to fly into Nairobi, which lies only four hours from Arusha by twice-daily shuttle bus. For those wishing to explore the coast, the airports in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam are the obvious choices. Getting around A good network of domestic flights Iink Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar to most other attractions. National Parks are generally most easily visited on organised safaris, which are usually all-inclusive. Independent travellers can get to most other places via public transport.
Guidebooks to Tanzania are published by Bradt, Footprint, Insight, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe's Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa is the best birding handbook. Locally published booklets to individual parks are widely available in Arusha and lodges