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Zambia Facts

Zambia Facts and Travel Information


Big herd of African Bush Elephant at waterhole, Loxodonta africana, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, Africa
Juergen Ritterbach/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Zambia Basic Facts:

Zambia is economically speaking an up and coming country in Southern Africa. The economy has stabilized and the fall of Zimbabwe has benefited the Zambian tourist industry particularly around the Victoria Falls/Livingstone area. Safaris in Zambia are excellent as long as you avoid the rainy season.

Location: Zambia is located in Southern Africa, east of Angola and north of Botswana and Zimbabwe; see map
Area: Zambia covers 752,614 sq km of land, slightly larger than the state of Texas.
Capital City: Lusaka
Population: Almost 12 million people live in Zambia.
Language: English (official); major vernaculars include Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages.
Religion: Christian 50%-75%, Muslim and Hindu 24%-49%, indigenous beliefs 1%.
Climate: Zambia has a tropical climate which is modified by altitude. There's one rainy season which lasts from October to April. It's hottest from September - November.
When to Go to Zambia: The best time to view the magnificent Victoria Falls is from March to May (when the falls are at their fullest) and July - October is best for viewing wildlife. Twitchers should head to Zambia from November - March.
Currency: Zambian Kwacha, click here for currency converter.

Zambia's Main Attractions:

  • Victoria Falls -- One of Africa's most impressive sights, and not to be missed. One of Zambia's biggest tourist attractions and the mile-long curtain of water will not disappoint. There's lots to do besides admiring the waterfall in the Zambezi river area... read more

  • South Luangwa -- Home of the "walking safari" South Luangwa National Park offers one of the best safari experiences in Africa. There's plenty of wildlife and over 400 species of birds. The Luangwa river is filled to the brim with hippos and if you're lucky you'll spot prides of over 30 lions at a time.

  • Kafue National Park -- Zambia's largest national park, a great place to view wildlife without the crowds. Canoeing safaris are at their best here if you can steer around the huge pods of hippos. Horse riding safaris have recently been introduced.

  • The Bangweulu Floodplain -- The perfect habitat for over 400 species of birds, a twitchers paradise. Marshy and humid but worthwhile just to get a glimpse of the rare shoebill stork.
More information about Zambia's top attractions ...

Travel to Zambia

Zambia's International Airport: Lusaka International Airport (airport code: LUN) is Zambia's main airport. There's a smaller airport in Livingstone (airport code: LVI) which is used for regional flights.
Getting to Zambia: Most international visitors will fly into Lusaka on British Air, Air France, South African Airways, Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airways. Livingstone Airport is served by charter flights and a few scheduled flights (mostly from South Africa and Botswana).
There are bus services available between Zambia and Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Zambia's Embassies/Visas: Visa regulations change often for visitors to Zambia, so check with your local Zambian Embassy for the latest.
Zambian Tourist Board: Tel: (260 211) 229087/ 90; E-mail: zntb@zambiatourism.org.zm; Web Site: http://www.zambiatourism.com/

Zambia's Economy and Politics

Economy: Zambia's economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-08 about 6% per year. Privatization of government-owned copper mines in the 1990s relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. Zambia experienced a bumper harvest in 2007, which helped to boost GDP and agricultural exports and contain inflation. Although poverty continues to be significant problem in Zambia, its economy has strengthened, featuring single-digit inflation, a relatively stable currency, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade. The decline in world commodity prices and demand will hurt GDP growth in 2009, and elections and campaign promises are likely to weaken Zambia's improved fiscal stance.

Brief History and Politics: The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the [British] South Africa Company from 1891 until it was taken over by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964. In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought hurt the economy. Elections in 1991 brought an end to one-party rule, but the subsequent vote in 1996 saw blatant harassment of opposition parties. The election in 2001 was marked by administrative problems with three parties filing a legal petition challenging the election of ruling party candidate Levy Mwanawasa. The new president launched an anti-corruption investigation in 2002 to probe high-level corruption during the previous administration. In 2006-07, this task force successfully prosecuted four cases, including a landmark civil case in the UK in which former President Chiluba and numerous others were found liable for USD 41 million. Mwanawasa was reelected in 2006 in an election that was deemed free and fair. Upon his abrupt death in August 2008, he was succeeded by his Vice-president Rupiah Banda, who subsequently won a special presidential election in October 2008. In September 2011, President Sata was sworn in after a very successful and peaceful election.

More About Zambia and Sources

Zambia Map and Facts
Guide to the Victoria Falls
Southern Africa's Top 10 Destinations
Zambia CIA Factbook
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