Travel Tips - Zambia
GMT + Two (2) hours
Zambia's unit of currency is the Zambian kwacha, which is divided into 100 ngwee. Notes are issued in denominations of K10,000; 5,000; 1,000; 500; 200; 100 and 50.
There is no limit to the importation of foreign currency, provided it is declared on arrival through a currency declaration form. We'd recommend including some low denomination US dollar bills, as these are easy to exchange.
Most visitors will find the exchange rate is in their favour. Do note, however, that Zambia is not a cheap safari destination, as lodges and tented camps tend to be small, exclusive and tucked away in remote locations.
There is a choice of banks in major towns as well as bureau de change, which usually offer better exchange rates than banks. Bank hours are generally 08:15 - 14:30 Monday to Friday and 08:15 to 10:30 hours on the first and last Saturdays of the month.
Note that off the tourist routes there are not many banks and you will need a supply of cash. Entrance to the game reserves can only be paid in kwacha.
Most hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and the bigger shops will accept major credit cards. Most of the bigger banks will advance local currency against a credit card. Standard Chartered and Barclays Banks have ATMs which accept Visa cards for cash.
For full details on climate, please see Best Time to Go.
Casual, comfortable wash and wear clothing is most useful. All hotels offer extremely quick laundry turnaround, usually within a couple of hours. It is certainly not necessary to bring a separate change of clothing for each day and evening, and it is recommended that you keep luggage to a minimum for your own comfort and ease of transport, especially if you are using light aircraft transfers.
• Blouses with long sleeves (even in summer, they will protect you from the sun and the mosquitos)
• Cotton t-shirts and tops
• Shorts for the day. Jeans or chinos for evenings and cooler days
• Fleece, sweater or warm jacket for game drives
• Comfortable walking shoes (hiking boots are not necessary)
• Sun block, sunglasses and hat
• Camera, binoculars
• A small alarm clock
Layers are most practical for the fluctuating day/night temperatures of Zambia. It is advisable that your clothing be as neutral as possible in the bush (beige and khaki is ideal). If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, we recommend that you bring an extra pair of glasses or a copy of the prescription. Please note that all luxury hotels and most game lodges offer a same-day laundry service (some at additional cost). This is a good reason not to pack too many clothes!
Anti-Malarial precautions are an absolute necessity when visiting the game parks in the region. It is important that you check with a qualified health professional for the most current information concerning your travel itinerary and personal health history.
We do recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover you in the event of a medical emergency.
The sun in the southern hemisphere is extremely strong - do wear an effective sunscreen and hat during the summer. It is advisable to avoid the noonday sun. Recommended SPF is 30.
For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.
Electrical system is 220/240 volts A/C.
Arrival and Departure Formalities
Please be advised that regulations at most international points of arrival do not permit passengers to be met inside secured passenger areas (such as the customs area). Please note that the purchase of "national treasures" for export from any country is strictly illegal and that the onus rests entirely on the buyer. In addition, U.S. and Canadian Customs prohibit the importation of any products made from endangers species of wildlife.
Tipping is not compulsory. You are travelling on an independent itinerary and the cost of your program does not include gratuities. Tipping is a very personal matter and should only be considered when the staff have gone above and beyond for you. Should you feel you would like to acknowledge their service, please consider the following as a rough guide, per person per day.
Tour Director - 15
Driver / Guide (Half day) - 8
Driver / Guide (Full day) - 12
Hotel Porters - 5
Professional Guide - 15
Ranger - 15
Tracker - 8
Lodge staff - 12
Please note: Currency is in USD
The above tipping guidelines are recommendations only and are not compulsory. Please use your own discretion in tipping, based on quality of service.
It is customary to add 10% to the bill in restaurants, if the service has been satisfactory.
Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped but they appreciate the fare being rounded up.
If you are being transferred by an Abercrombie & Kent representative from the airport to a hotel, then porterage and tipping of porters is already included. You are not expected to tip the A&K representative. Porterage and tipping of porters for transfers from one hotel to another is as above.