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Destinations | Zambia

“Having travelled to some African countries, I find myself, like so many visitors to Africa before me, intoxicated with the continent. And I am not referring to the animals, as much as I have been enthralled by them during safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Rather I am referring to the African people.”


~ Dennis Prager~


Zambia is definitely one of my favorite destinations. It is one of Africa's most vibrant and unspoiled destinations with diverse wildlife and friendly people. Some of the best places to visit in Zambia include the Victoria Falls, as well as several national parks and game reserves with plenty landmarks and attractions.


Zambia is one of the landlocked countries in Africa, it does not have any coastline. Eight countries border Zambia, including Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Angola and Tanzania.


Interesting facts:


1. Zambia, officially the “Republic of Zambia,” is a stunning African country, known for its copper, beautiful nature and wildlife safari. The country has a beautiful history and rich culture. The name origins come from the Zambezi River, which flows along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.


2. The current population of Zambia is approximately 20 million (2023).


3. Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia with a population of 3,5 million. Lusaka ranks as the fastest-developing city in southern Africa.


Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia


4. The other major cities in Zambia are Ndola, Kitwe and Mufulira.


5. Zambia is one of the most stable countries in Africa. Unlike many countries surrounding it, Zambia has never experienced any civil or internal war since gaining independence.


6. Motto: "One Zambia, one Nation".


7. Zambia has over 70 local languages including Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga, Luvale, Lunda, and Kaonde. English is the official language and is widely spoken.


8. Religion: mainly Christian (Protestant 75% and Catholics 20%).


9. Currency: Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) & US Dollars (USD). The currency is one of the strongest currencies on the African continent.


10. Best Time to Visit: April to October is the dry season and the best time to visit for safari. To see Victoria Falls in all her glory, May and June are the best months. The water begins to dry up through the dry season and is barely a trickle by the end of October. My favourite time is July. The rains start again in November and continue through to march, during this time the river begins to fill up again and the cycle continues. October is the hottest month.


11. Main Airport(s): Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka), Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (Livingstone) and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (Ndola).


Historical Facts on Zambia:


12. Long before the European settlers came to Africa, the Khoisan people (bushmen) lived in the area. From 1924 until 1964, the country was a British colony named Northern Rhodesia. After gaining independence in 1964, the country changed its name from Northern Rhodesia to Zambia.


13. Kenneth Kaunda was the first person to lead Zambia as its president after independence. He ruled the country between 1964 to 1991, which was a total of 27 years.


Attractions & Landmarks:


14. There are 20 National Parks and 34 Game Reserves in the country. South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi rank among the finest national parks in the world.


Kafue National Park


Kafue NP


15. Zambia is one of only six countries where you can spot the endangered wild dog species. Get an opportunity to see these beautiful creatures in the South Luangwa National Park and Kafue NP.


Kafue NP


16. South Luangwa National Park is one of Zambia's biggest attractions due to the abundant wildlife. The Luangwa River runs through the national park and is home to many wild animals and over 400 species of birds.


South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park


17. Kafue National Park is the largest national park in Zambia, covering an area of about 22,500 km2 in Western Zambia. It is one of the oldest and largest parks in Africa and is home to 152 different species of mammals.


Kafue NP

Kafue NP


18. Luambe is one of Zambia’s smallest National parks. It covers a space of 254 sq. kilometers and is confined fully to a flat nation bordering the east financial institution of the Luangwa River.


19. Luambe, Lukusuzi Liuwa Plain, West Lunga, Sioma Ngwezi, and Nyika Plateau have substantial wildlife but are still relatively undeveloped in terms of infrastructure and accommodation. Mosi-oa-Tunya, near Victoria Falls, is regarded as a zoological park as it has a well-managed population of antelope, elephants, giraffe and rhino but does not have any predators.


Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park


Victoria Falls NP


20. Isangano, Lavushi Manda, Lusenga Plain and Mweru Wantipa have little management, very few facilities and unstable wildlife populations but are still worth visiting by intrepid explorers and bird lovers.


21. The newest park to be proclaimed is Lusaka National Park with elephants nursery, just outside the capital, which opened to the public in June 2015. The national parks are administered by ZAWA, the Zambia Wildlife Authority.


22. The biggest waterfalls - Victoria Falls, also called by Zambian peple “Mosi-oa-Tunya", which means “The Smoke That Thunders”. Victoria Falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The waterfall is about 108 meters high. Named after Queen Victoria II, it is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.


Victoria Falls - view from the helicopter tour


23. Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world and the second deepest. Its surface area spreads into Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania. Another reason for its popularity is its water temperature, which is about 25°C all year round!


Lake Tanganyika


24. Kariba Lake – This is the largest man-made lake in the world: 280km long and in places up to 40km wide. It is also the world’s largest water reservoir by volume. It provides considerable electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe and supports a thriving commercial fishing industry. The size of Lake Kariba makes you forget that it’s a dam and in certain places it almost feels like an ocean. At Lake Kariba, you may even spot crocodiles and hippos.


Kariba Lake


25. Copperbelt - Situated between the northern border of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the Copperbelt Province. Naturally rich in copper, the region is known as the industrial heartland of Zambia but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not a great holiday destination. Explore historical sites and museums and pay a visit to one of the biggest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world, while enjoying some great restaurants and comfortable accommodation.


26. Chingola is one of the most picturesque of the Copperbelt towns with a profusion of trees and flowers. Chingola is home to one of the biggest open-cast mines in Africa. If you want to go sightseeing, it is possible to visit the mine but you must secure a permit from the mine office. If you’re a golfing enthusiast, Nchanga Golf Course in Chingola is considered one of the most beautiful and well-kept courses in the country.


27. Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage is a sanctuary for chimpanzees, located in Zambia's Copperbelt Province. Chimfunshi started as a family-run wildlife orphanage, and today Chimfunshi is managed by a board of trustees to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sanctuary. Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage is one of the oldest and largest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world. It is home to more than 150 chimpanzees and numerous wildlife species on more than 10,000 hectares of forested land on the banks of the Kafue River in the Copperbelt region. They rehabilitate orphaned, abandoned and rescued chimps, doing invaluable work for these highly threatened species.


28. Lake Kashiba is a beautiful natural Lake surrounded by trees and well shaped white stones. It has a breath taking scenery and a very quiet environment. Lake Kashiba is situated south-west of Luanshya in Zambia, close to Mpongwe and St Anthony's Mission.


29. Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. It’s the perfect place to explore the country’s vibrant culture. Over 80 resident artists from across Zambia’s nine provinces gather at Kabwata Cultural Village each week selling traditional artisanal works such as drums, masks and fabrics.


30. This is one of few African countries where you can spot “The Big Five.” That is why it is a great destination for a safari. You can see Buffalos, Elephants, Leopards, Lions, and Rhinos in Zambia. Over 30% of Zambia’s land area is dedicated to National Parks.





31. Samfya Beach - Although beaches are not something you associate with Zambia considering it has no coastline, there are beautiful beaches in Zambia. One of the most popular beaches in Zambia is the Samfya beach at the Lake Bangweulu (lake is 72 km long and 38 km wide) – natural lake with sandy beaches. Bangweulu means "Where the water meets the sky".


Samfya Beach


32. Bangweulu wetlands

One of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife secrets. Over 100,000 black lechwe antelope live here and this is one of the best places in the world to see shoebill storks. As the Bangweulu swamp dries up, you can birdwatch on foot around the remaining pools. Game drives are spectacular, too, with elephant, buffalo and other antelope here, all adapted to life in a wetland environment.


33. Adventure In Zambia - For travelers who love adventure, you will always have fun things to do in Zambia. Some of the most popular tourist activities in Zambia beyond safari are water rafting in the Zambezi River, flying a chopper over Victoria falls, and swinging off some of the massive gorges in the country.


Rafting on the Zambezi River


Cultural Facts:


34. Lobola is a very important part of the Zambian culture. In other countries, it is known as dowry or bride price. This is a tradition common to most African countries. Lobola is a price the groom is asked to pay as a form of appreciation to the bride’s family. It is a token to show your respect to them for raising your intended bride well. In urban regions, the lobola is often monetary; while in rural areas, it comes in the form of livestock.


35. Rejecting Food Is Rude - You better not visit anyone when you are full or don’t feel like eating. It is considered rude to reject food in Zambia. Interestingly, even if the meal has been eaten before it is offered to you, rejecting it is still considered rude. Not finishing a meal is also frowned upon. Zambians serve most of their traditional meal in a buffet style. So, before you pounce on any meal, make sure you take only what you can finish.


36. Afternoon Tea - Zambians love afternoon tea; it is not so much of a surprise, considering they were colonized by the British. Afternoon tea in Zambia is usually taken around 4:00 pm. The tea is always accompanied by bread, cake, or biscuit.


Economy:


37. The economy in Zambia is mainly driven by the mining industry, agriculture and fisheries as well as tourism.


38. Zambia’s economy is heavily dependent on copper and cobalt mining. Zambia exports over 1.5 million tons of copper per year.


39. Zambia exports mainly tobacco, gold, corn, sugar, cotton and flowers.


People:


40. Zambia has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. Almost 40% of the population live in urban areas. The slum areas grow as people seek work in the cities and towns. In rural areas many people live in traditional round huts.



41. The vast majority of the population in Zambia are very poor and families have many children to support them. On average a woman gives birth to 5 - 6 children. Zambia is among the 10 top countries with the highest fertility rate. Zambians are hardworking and women often are working on the fields and look after their kids.



42. Women are often the main breadwinners in their families. As more and more women go to schools and some go on to study, they grow more independent. Some women also open businesses or shops and change their lives for the better.



Local Art:



Food:


43. Zambia main dishes contain: corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and groundnuts (peanuts) or maize and beef, chicken and pork. Traditional Zambian food and dishes include:

  • Nshima the national dish: Zambia has many exciting dishes, but Nshima is the most typical, traditional dish. maize-meal porridge or thick cornmeal mash, often served with beef stew, tomato sauce and vegetables such as okra or spinach.

  • Oxtail is the culinary speciality for the tail of cattle.

  • Tilapia or Zambezi bream fish.

  • Chutney: try the pineapple and pepper chutney they serve with many dishes.

  • Cassava Pancakes: can be served either as a sweet dish with syrup. The savoury version is often prepared with leafy green vegetables such as pumpkin leaves, collard or spinach.

  • Ifisashi: groundnut stew mixed with vegetables or meat



Animals:


44. Zambia is home to many rare and endangered wildlife. You can see black rhinos and wild dogs there, which are highly protected in Zambia.


45. Near the Zambezi and Luangwa rivers, you will encounter many hippos and crocodiles.


46. The country has many national parks where giraffes, zebras, elephants, antelopes, buffaloes and lions can be seen.

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