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Zambia Guide

Driving

While the devil may not live in Zambia's Devil's Pool, the 355-foot drop right on the edge of this natural swimming area at the top of Victoria Falls may still give you the scare you are looking for. Zambia has the best of what sub-Saharan Africa can offer: from exploring spectacular falls and rivers to wild African safari adventures. Its well-known national parks such as South Luangwa and Kafue are the best places to see by car.

Driving Tips for Zambia

Driving is possible as roads are fair for normal vehicles. However, drivers need to take utmost caution due to potholes, stray animals, pedestrians and abandoned vehicles. Driving at night can be problematic. Those visiting during the rainy season (December to April) are not advised to drive due to sudden floods.

Driving licences: holders of UK driving licences are allowed to drive here for a total of 90 days.

Which side does Zambia drive on: the left.

Speed limits:
Motorways: 62mph (100kph)
Secondary roads: 62mph (100kph)
Built-up areas: 40mph (65kph)

Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, the same as in the UK.

Driving age: 18 years.

Seatbelts: all passengers are required by law to wear a seatbelt. There are no particular regulations concerning seatbelts for children but the wearing of restraints is encouraged.

Mobile phones and GPS: driving while using a mobile phone is not allowed. Using a hands-free kit is possible, however. GPS is unreliable here.

Cost of fuel in Zambia: both unleaded and diesel petrol are considerably cheaper here than in the UK. Costs tend to increase the farther away from the supply line, which is the Zambia railway network.

Car hire and fuel payment: car hire payment can be done via credit card. It is unlikely that a credit card can be used at petrol stations, especially those outside urban areas.

Insurance: third-party insurance is required and included in the rental. Drivers should consider excess insurance to cover eventualities which aren’t safeguarded against with basic insurance.

Traffic and parking: parking can be done on the side of the street and is sometimes paid, but it is best to leave your vehicle at a secure parking lot. Traffic congestion can be a problem in the cities.


Transport

Trains
Trains in Zambia are relatively safe and generally reliable. However, they are slow. The main operators are Zambia Railways and TAZARA. The main station is in the centre of the capital city, Lusaka, specifically along Dedan Kamathi Road. There are three main lines within the country: from Lusaka to Copperbelt, from Lusaka to Livingstone and from Kapiri Mposhi to the north, close to the Tanzanian border. A Lusaka to Livingstone economy class fare costs £4 while Lusaka to Kapiri Mposhi costs £2. A Livingstone to Kapiri Mposhi train ride costs £6. Children under the age of six travel for free. Children under 14 pay half the adult price.

Taxis
Taxis can be hired in urban areas. All cabs are painted in blue. They are, however, not metered. Visitors are advised to negotiate the fare before getting in. Fares are usually cheap. A kilometre of travel should cost around £0.30. One recommended taxi operator is Kabulamwanda.

Buses
Intercity buses are available and leave for the main destinations within the country frequently from the main terminal close to Cairo Road, in downtown Lusaka. Considered luxury class, these large buses are reliable and punctual, with air-conditioning and entertainment. Recommended operators include CR Holdings, Intercape and Mazhandu Family Bus Services. A Lusaka to Livingstone fare costs £7. Minibuses are widely available too, especially within the small towns. However, they are unreliable and have irregular schedules and poor standards.

Ferries
Zambia is a landlocked country. Water transport on rivers and lakes is yet to be developed owing to the country's priority of developing road infrastructure. International ferry services cross Lake Tanganyika from Mpulungu in Zambia to Tanzania. These services only run once to a few times per week. The MV Liemba makes this two-day crossing. Fares cost anywhere from £20 to £40. Ferries are also available across the Zambezi River from Kazungula in Zambia to Botswana.

Airports
The principal international airport in Zambia is Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, situated about nine miles (14kms) or a 20-minute taxi ride from Lusaka. British Airways has flights here from London-Heathrow. Domestic services are provided by Zambian Airways, Proflight and Avocet and link the main destinations within the country. Sky Trails flies to and from destinations in the northern regions. Flights can be chartered and air strips are available in areas worth visiting. Some of the more popular destinations include Victoria Falls, Chipata, Kasaba Bay, Livingstone, Kitwe, Lusaka and Mfuwe. A Lusaka to Mfuwe flight, usually lasting an hour, costs around £90. A departure tax of £2 is imposed on domestic flights.

Explore

Exploring Zambia

The best of Africa's natural landscapes can be explored in Zambia. The nation is particularly known for its numerous scenic and spectacular waterfalls, the foremost of which is the 355-foot Victoria Falls, one of the world's largest waterfalls and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the west, Ngonye Falls is the main attraction. While the falls are not particularly high, the sheer volume of water frothing and crushing through the rocks is overwhelming.

Livingstone, the gateway to Victoria Falls, is a good base for adventure activities including white water rafting through the Zambezi River and micro-flight rides over the gorge.

The world-renowned South Luangwa National Park should be part of any visitor's itinerary here. This park is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world, offering unforgettable safari experiences. Those interested in game fishing and bird watching may head to Kafue National Park, the largest national park in the country and accessible via the Great West Road.

The capital city of Lusaka is also worth a visit as it has a number of interesting attractions. The Kabwata Cultural Village is a site here that is dedicated to the preservation of traditional arts, crafts and dance.

Weather

Although the country lies in the Tropics, Zambia's geography provides a distinct climate which can be divided into three seasons. Wet season is from December to April, dry season from May to August and hot season from September to November. The dry season is the best time to visit. The average daytime temperature during this time of the year is around 26°C, and this drops sharply to 7°C at night. Visitors who come early during the dry season will still be able to catch the high volume of water at Victoria Falls. The dry season is perfect for wildlife safaris as well.

All cities in Zambia

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