Zambia Travel Information
Most trips to Zambia are made without special
problems as Zambia is generally a safe and peaceful
destination. The greatest risk is related to transport
safety. When traveling in border areas, it is encouraged
to contact local authorities and others well known in
the area to get updated information on necessary
precautions. For information on coronavirus, see the
section on Health.
Demonstrations, uprisings and civil unrest have
recently taken place in several parts of Zambia,
including the populous provinces of Lusaka and the
Copperbelt. The presence of security forces around the
country has intensified, and in some cases there have
been violent clashes between security forces and
protesters. The unrest is related to a series of attacks
on private homes, schools and other public buildings,
where gas has apparently been used in some cases.
Many rumors of such attacks are pending, and the
reaction of crowds to such rumors can in many cases
itself constitute a security threat. It is recommended
to avoid public gatherings, follow orders from local
authorities and seek advice from local contacts about
the current security situation in areas you plan to
Most journeys to Zambia are nevertheless made without
special problems as Zambia is generally a safe and
peaceful destination. The greatest risk is related to
transport safety. When traveling in border areas, it is
encouraged to contact local authorities and others well
known in the area to get updated information on
necessary precautions. In a few border areas landmines
and other explosives are a possible risk factor.
Diplomatic presence: Norway is no longer represented
with an embassy in Zambia. For questions k ontact
Embassy in Malawi.
Terror: The terror threat is considered low, but
Zambia, like other countries, can be hit by terrorist
attacks without warning.
Crime: There are major social differences in Zambia
and, as in most other countries, the danger of being
exposed to crime is present. Common precautions should
be observed. Please inquire in advance if you are unsure
where to go. Traveling on foot after dark is not
recommended. Pocket thieves are active in marketplaces
with a lot of people and large crowds. Cars should not
be left with visible valuables. More serious crime
affects foreign tourists to a lesser extent, but one may
have the misfortune of time and place. There are
occasional reports of armed robbery and hijacking.
Should one be so unlucky to be subjected to a robbery,
the General Council applies not to resist and follow
instructions that the robbers may have to give.
The authorities in Zambia do not always provide
information to imprisoned foreigners about their right
to consular assistance. The prisons in Zambia are
overcrowded with very poor sanitary conditions and lack
of access to food and possibly medical assistance.
- Countryaah: Lusaka is the capital
of Zambia. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
Kidnappings and abductions: Robberies and kidnappings
can occur, and a special phenomenon is so-called
"express kidnappings" involving short-term kidnapping
situations where the victim is forced to empty his
credit card at ATMs or otherwise quickly obtain ransom.
Rape of women in such situations has also been reported.
Road safety and transport: There is left-hand traffic
in Zambia. Car traffic poses a high risk of accidents
and injuries. Poor car park maintenance, high speed,
drunk driving, lack of driving skills and low road
standards in parts of the country pose risk factors that
must be taken into account when driving. Driving in the
dark poses a particular risk and you should avoid
driving after dark, especially outside the city centers.
The dangers include pedestrians in the roadway,
missing/bad lights on oncoming traffic and meeting with
trucks and other vehicles in an unresponsive condition
that use the night to drive illegally.
The use of seat belts is mandatory. Mobile phone use
is prohibited while driving.
Taxis: Avoid pirate taxis. The usual taxis have an
orange stripe and a red print sign. Remember to pre-book
prices since most taxis do not have a taximeter.
Buses: The local small buses are often in poor
condition and not recommended. Buses for longer
journeys, for example to Livingstone, are of a better
standard and are a reasonable alternative to aircraft.
Political unrest - Demonstrations: There is little
risk of being affected by political unrest as visitors
to Zambia. In general, however, it is advised to stay
away from large public gatherings, demonstrations and
Women's safety: Women should avoid walking alone
after dark. During the day it is relatively safe for
everyone, even single people. Mini skirts and short
shorts showing the thigh should only be worn indoors and
for exercise purposes.
Sexual contacts and sexual orientation: The sexual
age is 16 years. Dealing with minors is punishable by
high penalties. Prostitution is in principle prohibited,
but widespread in practice. Gay activities are
absolutely prohibited. Violation can result in several
years in prison.
Natural disasters: During the rainy season, rivers
and streams can flood, and roads can become impassable.
Beyond the main roads and close-by areas, it can be very
difficult to reach the rainy season without a 4x4 car.
In practice, some areas become inaccessible during the
rainy season. Both roads and bridges can be washed away
as a result of floods.
Travel registration: For visitors staying in Zambia
over time, it is recommended that you register at the
embassy and leave a copy of your passport and visa. This
will make it easier for the Foreign Service to get in
touch in case something serious should happen. We advise
all travelers, as well as resident Norwegians abroad, to
register, regardless of destination, length or purpose
of the trip.
Voluntary registration at reiseregistrering.no is an
online offer for Norwegian travelers who wish to
register their contact information with the Ministry of
Insurance: Remember travel insurance, and investigate
in advance whether the insurance includes participation
in risky activities (such as bungee jumping and meetings
Zambia's many and beautiful national parks are a main
attraction for visitors. Wild animals are erratic and
can pose a danger. It is therefore important to
familiarize yourself with local conditions and follow
the advice and guidelines given by tour or safari
guides. There is a wide range of extreme / risky sports
activities, especially in the Victoria Falls area of
the Zambezi River. It is in the nature of the
activities that accidents can happen.
Traveling abroad without travel insurance can have
major consequences for you or your family. Should you
need hospital treatment and home transport by ambulance
from abroad, the costs can be very high. Good travel
insurance will cover, among other things, expenses
related to injuries, accidents, illness, home transport
Always read the insurance terms carefully in advance
(including those in small print), and note the
- Does the insurance cover the country you are
- Is the insurance valid for the entire duration
of the trip?
- Most travel insurance policies have exemption
clauses that include existing illness/chronic
illnesses. If you have an illness/chronic illness,
you should check with your insurance company before
your trip to find out what your insurance covers -
and not cover.
Emergency: If you are affected by illness or accident
during a temporary stay abroad, you should contact your
insurance company (emergency center) or tour operator.
Local emergency numbers:
- National emergency number police 999/991
- National emergency number fire 993
- Central Police Lusaka 220 000/6/8
- Fire Brigade Lusaka 228 265
Please note that entry regulations may change. The
Foreign Service is not responsible if the following
information on entry regulations or visa requirements is
changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the
traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for
entry and to familiarize themselves with the current
entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens need a visa to stay in Zambia.
Visas can be arranged in advance or upon entry at
airports and border crossings and are normally valid for
Visa: Zambia does not have an embassy in Norway, but
is covered by the embassy in Stockholm. Prior to a visit
to Zambia, an application
for a visa can be sent to the Zambian Embassy in
Stockholm (see Embassy's website for further
you can apply electronically on the Zambian Immigration
Authority's website. A third option is to pay for visas
on arrival at airports and at border crossings (payable
in cash in US dollars).
Travel documents: A valid passport is required for
travel to Zambia. The passport must be valid for three
months after the scheduled departure date.
General: It is recommended that everyone has a
passport with a valid visa at all times. Alternatively,
you can have a photocopy of your passport, but in this
case also remember a copy of the visa stamp page. Police
and immigration authorities frequently check whether
foreigners have a valid stay in the country. If one
cannot document a valid stay in Zambia, there is in
itself sufficient grounds for being arrested.
It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure
that travel documents and visas are valid. If the visa
is no longer valid, it can cause problems when leaving.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Zambian authorities check air
passengers on arrival in Lusaka, Livingstone and Ndola,
and arrivals must complete a health declaration.
Passengers with relevant symptoms must expect extra
examinations. The Zambia National Public Health
Institute is responsible for coronavirus readiness in
Norwegian travelers and Norwegians staying in Zambia
should keep abreast of the development of the corona
virus. Feel free to follow local authorities' advice,
guidance and instructions on how to deal with the
situation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not
create travel advice because of the risk of infection.
It is the Public Health Institute that provides health
professional travel advice. You can find more
information and guidance from Norwegian health
authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of
The quality of health care is very varied. Evacuation
may be necessary in the case of serious illness and
travel insurance is therefore very important. Remember
that everyone can get sick or be exposed to accidents -
also abroad. Therefore, be well prepared!
Cholera: The capital has had cholera outbreaks since
December 2017, and cholera has also been identified in
other parts of the country. Travelers in Zambia are
advised to pay extra attention to hygiene and follow
Health care services: The quality of health care
services is very variable, but is generally not
consistent with Northern European, Western standards.
Valid travel insurance is therefore very important as
evacuation will often be necessary in case of serious
illness. There are some private hospitals/clinics with
usable standards and more and more are emerging, but
often they also lack essential equipment and there are
varying experiences with the quality of medical staff.
Health challenges: Water should not be drunk directly
from the tap, but boiled and filtered, or bottled.
Fruits and vegetables should be peeled or washed in
boiled/filtered water, possibly using sterilizing
liquid. Food at restaurants and "better" street kitchens
can normally be safely eaten.
HIV/AIDS has affected a significant portion of the
population. Tuberculosis is also becoming more
prevalent. Malaria is widespread, and malaria
prophylaxis (and mosquito protection) is especially
recommended during the rainy season and in low lying
areas. In Lusaka and other higher-lying areas, there is
little risk. In several national parks, tsetse flies can
be troublesome, but bites do not cause sleep sickness.
Bathing in stagnant rivers and lakes is not recommended
due to the presence of Bilharzia. Rabies occurs and one
should be wary of unknown animals.
Vaccines: Vaccination against hepatitis is
recommended. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended during
the rainy season, especially when visiting rural areas
and low-lying areas. Yellow fever vaccination is no
longer considered necessary. Contact the Norwegian
health authorities (www.fhi.no) or vaccination clinic
for updated advice well in advance of departure!
Access to medicines: There are many pharmacies in
Zambia but there is great variation in the quality and
storage of the medicines. You may want to use larger
chains where these exist and look for well-known
manufacturer names and brands.
Import of medicines: The Customs Service may request
to see a prescription for medicines taken into Zambia.
Some active substances in prescription drugs are
prohibited by drug law. If in doubt, one should
investigate in advance. The possession and use of
narcotics is strictly prohibited, and possession of more
than 0.5 grams of a narcotic is considered contraband.
Foreigners who are convicted of drug offenses can expect
prolonged imprisonment and/or deportation.
At summer time in Norway, Zambia and Norway have the
same time, but at winter time Zambia is one hour ahead
of Norway. The mains is 220/240 volts, English plug
(three flat pins). Power outages occur at irregular
intervals. Due to insufficient electricity supply, since
May/June 2015 there have been frequent load shedding
with more than eight hours of power failure per day.
There is a danger that this may increase to 10-12 hours
per day. Most major hotels and other institutions have
generators that still provide power.
National phone code is + 260
Telephone: Mobilnett covers most of the country and
is constantly expanding. There are several companies on
the market that have somewhat different coverage areas.
Please note that there may be no coverage on the road
between major centers.
Internet: There are several Internet cafes in Lusaka
and most hotels and lodges are affiliated. Web speeds
are undergoing improvement, one can be very poor, for
example, it can be very difficult to skype, and
computers for lending often have virus problems.
Currency and Credit Cards: The official currency is
Zambian Kwacha, ZMW, which is divided into 100 ngwee.
Avoid exchanging money on the street, use regular
Credit cards can be used in larger shops, hotels,
restaurants and travel agencies, but are far from as
common as in Norway. Be aware that a number of service
companies charge an additional fee when paying by credit
card. Visa is the best choice, but most hotels will also
take MasterCard and American Express.
ATMs are found in the largest cities and are usually
guarded and safe to use. There are limits to how much
cash can be withdrawn in one operation, the maximum is
usually 4000 ZMW, but it is possible to repeat
Normal business hours: Public offices and banks are
open Monday - Friday. Shops and malls also have weekend
- January 1 - New Year's Day
- March 8 - Women's Day
- March 12 - Youth day
- Good Friday
- Easter Sunday
- May 1 - Workers' International Match Day
- May 25 - African freedom day
- July (first Monday) - Heroes day
- July (Tuesday same week) - Unity day
- August (first Monday) - Farmers day
- September 24 - Heritage day
- October 18 - National day of prayers
- October 24 - Release Day
- December 25 - Christmas Day
Climate: Although Zambia is located in the tropics
(between 8 and 18 degrees south latitude), the climate
is pleasant due to its high sea level. The average
temperature varies between 15 and 30 o C. The
year can be roughly divided into four seasons:
- a warm, dry period from September to November
with temperatures between 27 and 35 oC,
sometimes up to 40 o C, especially just
before the rainy season starts.
- a rainy warm period from December to March, with
temperatures between 20 and 30 o The
rainy season varies a bit from year to year. It can
start everything in October and end as early as
- a dry and warm period in April and May.
Temperatures between 25 and 36 o
- a dry and cool period from June to August. The
night temperature can creep down to 5 oC,
but usually "good Norwegian summer" during the
daytime although it can be surprisingly cool if it
Language and communication: You do well with English
in Zambia, but not everyone speaks English equally well.
Zambia has 74 languages where nyanja, bemba, lozi and
tonga are considered the largest.
Zambians are generally very friendly, inclusive and
helpful. Hand greeting is common when meeting. Zambians
are polite and it is considered a good practice to say
goodbye to a "How are you" staff in stores or before you
ask for the road, for example.
Clothing: Zambia is a Christian country and
conservative in the clothing industry, and it is
considered ridiculous to show thighs. For men it is most
correct with long pants and for women skirt/dress/pants.
Women often have a chitenge (patterned piece of
clothing) on hand to take on long pants on many
occasions. Otherwise, it is in Zambia like most other
places in the world - times are changing and youth are
Photography: Be careful when shooting outside the
national parks. It is forbidden to photograph public and
military buildings and facilities, including the State
House. The same goes for infrastructure, mining, roads
and airports, but here practice is somewhat more
liberal. If in doubt, ask first or do not take pictures.
In general, one should always ask about the law before
taking pictures of people.
Other: Please note that products of certain
endangered species, such as ivory, are illegal to export
and that infringement can result in severe prison
sentences. Some souvenirs found on local markets may be
made from plant or animal material that is listed on the
Cites list of prohibitions or restrictions on trade. The
buyer is responsible for investigating, and ignorance of
the rules does not relieve responsibility for illegal
Possession of pornographic material is illegal in
Zambia. Violation can result in imprisonment, fines
and/or deportation. This also applies to such material
when stored on computer etc.