Zambia General Information

ZambiaThe great hunter-explorer, Frederick Courtenay Selous wrote about his travels up the Zambezi, “As I travel north on the western floodplain of this great vein of water, I feel sure this must be the lifeblood of southern Africa and its most powerful water mass.” Today Zambia is slowly awakening as a tourist attraction centre in the immediate area of the Victoria Falls nearby Livingstone. The country is well known for their huge protected wilderness areas with its diverse range of game in Africa. The Zaire and Zambezi rivers are a source of living for thousands of people. Lake Kariba is worldwide known and fishing paradise. The San originally inhabited this area but were invaded by Bantu tribes from the north. In 1911 the country became a British Colony and in 1972 was declared a one-party state. Zambia’s elevation on a plateau gives it a moderate climate, despite the fact that it lies within tropical latitudes. There are three seasons: warm and wet from December to April, cool and dry from May to August and hot and dry from September to November. Only in the wet season is there noticeable humidity and in the river valleys very hot in the month of October.

Game Drives
Transport is with comfortable air-conditioned 4×4 vehicles or if not available Nissan X-Trail sitting 4 persons comfortably with good ground clearance and wide windows ( making game and scenery viewing easy from the vehicle.Exciting game drives with FLEET FOOT, in various game reserves, leave daily after sunrise followed by a late morning brunch. After a relaxed afternoon at the swimming pool or in the comfort of your tent or unit, we drive out to visit nearby water holes and to see the sun set in beautiful Africa.

Safety
In general Zambia is a safe country for tourists, but in the cities adhere to the following: Don’t walk alone in deserted areas, especially in and around the larger towns. It is preferable to walk with company or in groups. Don’t carry large sums of cash in your purse or pocket or display expensive jewelry. Be aware of the possibility of pick-pockets and bag snatchers in crowded areas. Make photocopies of the first few pages of your passport, air ticket and other important travel documents. Keep this separate from the originals. Don’t leave money or valuables in a hotel room. Most hotels offer safety deposit box service, and ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage before leaving home. Ensure that all the doors in your hotel room are locked.

In the Wildlife
Always remember that while some animals have become accustomed to the presence of people they are still wild animals. Keep your distance. It is illegal to feed any animal, make excessive noise to attract their attention, or deviate from designated roads for that closer photograph. Never get out of your vehicle except at designated points. Close all windows and zippers when you leave your room or tent and spray it with insect repellent. The best way to get the most out of your safari is to take an active interest in everything going on around you, not just the number of species you can see in the shortest possible time. Ask all the questions you can think of and take reference books on not only wildlife but birds, insects and trees and read up about everything you see. You can’t visit Zambia without a camera or video-camera and binoculars.

Transport

Driving:
Driving is done on the left side of the road. Drivers require a valid license that must include a picture of the holder. Please take care not to drive during night time. Most of Zambia has no fence for cattle along the main roads and an accident can ruin your trip totally.If you’re doing a vehicle trip through Zambia it is a good idea to carry a range of tools and essential spares with you. Make sure which roads require 4×4 and off-road driving! However, roads in remote areas are of very poor quality. Four-wheel drives tend to be the vehicles of choice, particularly if you want to venture off the beaten track. Two spare wheels and a couple of spare tubes are a must due to the condition of the roads. Spare jerry cans of fuel and water, a tow rope, compressor, winch and a spotlight are useful items to have. Many of the villages along the main routes offer tire mending services at a very reasonable fee. Be very careful in towns and villages not to leave your vehicle open and unattended. People with little are easily tempted. You should have no problem sleeping outdoors in designated camping areas or remote places along the way, but get into the habit of locking things away before you go to sleep.

Car Rental:
Car rental companies are represented at the major airports and in the cities, as are taxis.

Transportation by Air:
There are two international airports-Lusaka and Livingstone. From these airports, you can take chartered links to most areas throughout Southern Africa. Zambia does have a fairly well developed road system. Travel time from Europe to Johannesburg is from 10 to 11 hours.

Clothing & Laundry
Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round, with a jacket or sweater for early winter mornings and evenings. On safari keep clothes to a minimum and mostly of neutral coloring – khakis, browns and greens. A sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent are a must. Bring a hat, good walking shoes and sun screen. Don’t forget swim wear and binoculars. Most hotels and lodges will offer a laundry service. In most places one could hire someone to do your washing.

Health / Chemists / Pharmacies
It is advisable to take out emergency medical insurance prior to entering Namibia. Bilharzia: The bilharzia parasite is found in many lakes, streams and rivers on the continent. Avoid swimming in them! Vaccinations for cholera, tetanus and yellow fever are advised. Malaria is virulent in Namibia……take prophylactics! Your chemist or doctor can advise you of the most suitable drug available as certain drugs can lose their effectiveness. It is advisable to buy travel insurance covering accidents, illness or hospitalization for the period of your stay. People who may require emergency medical attention on safari are flown to South Africa for the best medical attention available in the country.
Travelers should carry an adequate supply of medicines and first aid accessories with them as supplies are limited in the more remote areas of Namibia. Most chemists in the major towns are open from 08h30 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 17h00. Monday to Friday and 08h00 to 13h00 on Saturdays. Take note of the public holidays.

Water & Electricity
The tap water in Zambia is usually not safe to drink. Except if you’re staying at a lodge or hotel where drinking water is most of the time perfectly safe to drink.
Power supply is 220/240 volt 50 cycles. Plugs are usually 13-amp 3 pin square (British type).

Money Matters

Banks:
Banking hours are standardized across the country. They are from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; from 8:15 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Wednesday and from 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 on Saturday. There are foreign currency transactions on Saturday in the larger towns and most hotels and lodges exchange money.

Currency:
The local currency is the Zambian Quacha but American Dollar is widely accepted. Visitors can take out any foreign currency they bring into the country.

Credit Cards, Cash and Traveler’s Checks:
International credit cards are accepted by most restaurants, stores, hotels, lodges, camps, car rental firms, etc. However, many small shops in rural areas will not accept them. American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa and MasterCard Traveler’s Checks are widely accepted.

Tipping:
A tip of 10% for good service is adequate. Service charges are frequently added and it is usual to tip tour driver or guide at least 30-50 Rand a day.

Communications
Postal services are not very well organized in Zambia. All major hotels have fax machines at the disposal of their guests as well as telex services. Telephone directories will list all the international dialing codes. Both local and long-distance calls are metered on a time basis. Mobile phones do have reception in the major larger towns.

Photography
Zambia offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife and photographic opportunities. Be sure to bring your own photo supplies including plenty of film (video cassettes if you’re bringing a camcorder) and batteries – they will not be readily available everywhere. A telephoto lens of at least 200 mm is useful for wildlife photography, and an ultra violet filter and lens cap are strongly recommended. Note that taking pictures of government and military personnel and installations is not advised without permission. It is customary to ask permission before you take a photograph of people

Customs & Visa Requirements
Visitors to Zambia are subject to clearance through customs. Personal property which will be re-exported at the end of your visit is not subject to customs duties. Please ensure that you have valid Passport and familiarizes yourself with Visa requirements for each country you are visiting.

Time Difference
Throughout the year, Standard Time in Namibia is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time in the U.S.

 

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Zambia Guided Tours

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  • White Water Rafting- 23 wild Zambezi rapids below the Victoria Falls. The Zambezi White Water Rafting is regarded as the most exciting rafting in Africa and possibly the world!
  • Riverboarding- Surf the Zambezi rapids on marvellous standing waves.
  • Bungi Jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge and feel the spray of water on your face while jumping into a gorge.
  • Abseiling & Gorge Swinging Up the gorges of Victoria Falls and Zambezi River, Fantastic fun and completely safe for the whole family.
  • Kayaking- An experienced kayaker will take you through the raging rapids of the Zambezi – great fun!
  • Canoeing- Game viewing Safaris along the Zambezi River.
  • Houseboating excursions on Lake Kariba.
  • Walking Safaris with experienced guides in the surrounding Game Reserves.
  • Fishing- Fly fishing, Tiger fishing, some of the best fresh water fishing is available in Zambia and Zambezi River.
  • Elephant Back Safaris- Tame elephants give the best view for game viewing in the Mosi o Tunya National Park.
  • Horse Back Trails along the Zambezi River or in the Mosi-o Tunya National Park.
  • Flights over Vic Falls- Take a Microlight, Helicopter of fixed wing plane for the most spectacular views over the Falls and the deep Batoka Gorge.
  • Quadbiking-Explore the amazing geographical formations of this area on a quad bike.
  • Clay Pigeon Shooting- 6 disciplines from ‘have a go’ for those wanting a new experience through to ABT, DTL, English Sporting and Olympic Skeet.
  • Golf – Set in a veritable botanical garden with over 118 tree species, there’s an 18 hole course providing a unique African golfing experience.
  • Birding Safaris – Zambia has 740 bird species and offers superb safaris to see them.
  • Photographic Safaris- Excellent photo opportunities with small groups.
  • Open Vehicle Safaris Relax in one of Fleet Foot Safaris open vehicles as your guide takes you right there in the midst of African Wildlife.

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Victoria Falls


Zam2The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) are some of the largest in the world. The Victoria Falls are some of the most famous, considered by some to be among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European recorded to view the Victoria Falls – which he did from what is now known as
‘Livingstone Island’ in Zambia, the only land accessible in the middle of the falls. Livingstone wrote of the falls, “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 meters (360 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The falls’ maximum flow rate compares well with that of other major waterfalls.

Flood and dry season flow rates:
The Zambezi basin above the falls experiences a rainy season from late November to early April, and a dry season the rest of the year. The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April. The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 50 km (30 miles) away. At full moon, a “moonbow” can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain.
Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivaled only by South America’s Iguazu Falls.
A famous feature is a naturally formed pool known as the Devil’s Pool, near the edge of the falls, accessed via Livingstone Island in Zambia. When the river flow is at a safe level, usually during the months of September and December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls within the pool without continuing over the edge and falling into the gorge; this is possible due to a natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the falls that stops their progress despite the current.[/toggle]

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