In Zambia, the climate is tropical or sub-tropical, depending on altitude, with a hot humid and rainy season from mid-November to March, and a dry season from April to mid-November. In the dry season, there’s a cool period from mid-May to mid-August, and a progressively hotter period from September to mid-November, when the heat becomes intense but with low humidity, October is typically the hottest month of the year.
Light clothing such as cotton is recommended for the hot season, a light raincoat an umbrella for the rainy season, warm jumpers and fleeces will be required for the cooler months. Warmer clothes may be needed for the mornings and evenings even in the hotter months. A good pair of walking shoes is also recommended, as is sunblock, sunglasses, and hats for outdoor activities. When on safari, it’s best to wear light neutral colours like khaki, green and brown. Avoid white as with the dust it will get dirty very quickly. Avoid blue or black clothing as tsetse flies are drawn to these colours and their bite can cause some discomfort.
Lastly, if you will be flying on small aircraft during your time in Zambia, the luggage allowance is usually limited to a maximum of 20 kg (44 lbs), which includes hand luggage. Most lodges and camps provide a same-day laundry service, so you don’t need to pack items for every day.
Zambia is generally quite safe, and Zambians are welcoming and helpful to tourists and visitors, but precaution should always be taken. Personal belongings and valuables should be taken care of as there may be risks of petty thieves and pickpockets, crowded areas are particularly high risk. If you are robbed contact the police as soon as possible and always be polite in your official dealings. In case you lose your passport be sure to inform the police as well as your embassy immediately.
Malaria is prevalent in Zambia and visitors are strongly advised to take several precautionary measures including a course of an anti-malaria drug that covers the period immediately before and after your trip. Visitors are also advised to keep mosquitoes away at night by spraying an insecticide, using mosquito repellent and sleeping under properly treated mosquito netting. Some symptoms of malaria are fever, shivering and headaches and visitors are advised to seek immediate attention if they are exhibiting any such symptoms.
Visitors are also encouraged to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS by not having unprotected sex. Visitors with special medical conditions are encouraged to carry a letter from the doctors explaining their health problems and drugs that may help.
The unit currency of Zambia is the kwacha (K) and banknotes come in variations of K100, K50, K10, K5, and K2. Coins come in variations of K1, 50 ngwee, 10 ngwee, and 5ngwee. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency notes visitors may bring into the country. US dollar and British pound are the most convenient and fetch the best rates. Travelers Cheques will also be accepted in most major banks including Stanbic, Standard Chartered and Barclays although the rate will be lower, and you will be charged commission. Visa, Mastercard debit and credit cards are accepted in some hotels and lodges but you may want to carry some foreign currency as travel. Always change money at a bank or a bureau de change.
The electrical supply is 220/240 volts systems and the three-pin plugs used are of the British square bayonet pin type.