Zambia is a landlocked country in south-central Africa which offers visitors an authentic African experience complete with adrenalin-pumping adventure sports, a variety of fascinating cultural activities and an abundance of indigenous wildlife. The country is mainly situated on a seemingly endless plateau around 1 200 metres (3 937 feet) above sea level, and is characterised by its miombo woodlands, large lakes and vast floodplains.

The mighty Zambezi is its most important river, with two major tributaries: the Kafue and the Luangwa, which constitute rivers in their own right. Together they define Zambia’s geography and the rhythm of life for many of its people.

The country shares borders with several countries namely Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania. It shares Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, with neighbouring Zimbabwe.

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of Africa undiscovered. We at Ikewana understand how experiencing a return to the wild and open spaces of Africa have the power to impact lives beautifully. Give yourself a digital detox, return to nature and you’ll never look back again.

Zambia's Climate

Despite the fact that Zambia lies in the tropics, the height of the plateau – which essentially covers the entire country – ensures that the climate is seldom unpleasantly hot, except in the valleys. Naturally, this varies according to the altitude and latitude. In general, the plateau’s altitude ranges mostly from 900 to 1 500 metres (3 000 to 4 900 feet), but in some areas descends to almost 500 metres and at others up to 2 200 metres (7 200 feet).

Zambia’s climate is tropical or sub-tropical (depending on altitude) and divided in three seasons: the cool, dry winter season from late May to August; the hot, dry season from September to November; and the rainy season which is even hotter from December to April.

During the cool and dry period it can get cold and even frosty at night, especially in the southern regions, where the temperature can drop to around freezing (0°C or 32°F). Its driest months are June, July and August, when it practically never rains.

During the hot and dry season, weather conditions are generally very good with clear skies. Although the air is clear at this time, ancestral custom encourages the burning of harvest residues in order to prepare the land for crop rotation, and as a result, the air may smell of smoke. Thunderstorms first appear in October and November, which can trigger natural fires when trees are struck by lightning.

During the warm and wet season there are frequent heavy showers with more thunderstorms. These are followed by spells of bright sunshine. It is a time when plants grow profusely and rivers and streams fill up almost overnight. Floods caused by heavy rains are quite normal in Zambia.

  • Victoria Falls Stand before one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, at this the largest waterfall in the world. Or take a helicopter ride for a better view of both the falls and the mighty Zambezi River. Either way, you’ll be left speechless.
  • A death-defying experience at Devil's Pool Venture into a pool of water that swirls dreadfully close to the very powerful waterfall that is Victoria Falls, where 3 000 cubic metres of water per second drop into an abyss.
  • One of the last true wildernesses Many people regard Zambia as the continent’s best-kept secret and as it has had fewer visitors, the wildlife are less habituated which makes the safari experience more authentic.
  • Exciting fishing in "Tiger Country" For thrill-seekers, go fishing for Africa’s most spectacular and sought-after game fish, the fearless tigerfish or "striped water dog" in the upper Zambezi.
  • Adrenalin junkies welcome Partake in numerous adrenalin-filled activities on the mighty Zambezi River, like whitewater rafting, river-boarding, bungee jumping, abseiling and canoeing.
  • Liuwa Plain wildebeest migration Witness the second largest congregation of blue wildebeest arrive at Liuwa Plain National Park – truly one of Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles.
  • A leisurely paddle Enjoy canoeing the picturesque lower Zambezi River with prime viewing of sunbathing crocodiles, thirsty elephants and hippo pods.
  • Lake Kariba Take a houseboat cruise along the exquisite Lake Kariba while watching wild elephants drink at the riverbank.
  • Walking safaris Zambia is home to some of the best walking and river safaris in Africa.
  • Capital: Lusaka
  • Currency: Zambian Kwacha (ZMW)
  • Language: English is the official language. Major vernaculars include Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages.
  • Electricity: Current is 220 / 240 volt at 50 cycles per second. Both square and round wall plugs are used.
  • When to go: The best time to go on a Zambian Safari is during the dry season, i.e. May to October, when animals congregate around the rivers and waterholes. During the wet season (November to April) most parks and camps close down as dirt roads in the parks can become impassable. Bird watchers should head to Zambia between November and March. For Victoria Falls, the best time to view the falls is between May and September when the Zambezi River is almost bursting its banks. May is when the water level of the falls is at its highest, this is best viewed from the air. In November and December, the falls are almost dry. Heavy rainfall fills the Zambezi between January and May, and it’s difficult to see the falls through a wall of mist created by falling water.
  • What to wear: Wear lightweight casual clothing throughout the year, with a jacket or jersey for early winter mornings and evenings. Winters are mild and the summer days can be exceedingly hot. On Safari, keep your clothes to neutral colours, like khakis, browns and greens. This is the best way to get close to wildlife by blending in with your surroundings and not attracting unnecessary attention. We recommend not bringing bright-coloured clothing or busy patterns as this will draw attention to you and scare off the wildlife. Temperatures can be cool on morning game drives, hot in the afternoon and cold at night. So layer up, as layers allow you to remove clothing to make yourself comfortable as temperatures fluctuate. A sunhat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are a must.
  • Area: The total land area of Zambia is 743 390 Km2 (287 024 sq. miles) and for perspective, that is almost double the size of California or more than twice the size of Germany. It is a landlocked country in south-central Africa with rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, with many parks and safari areas. The general height of the land gives Zambia a more pleasant climate than experienced in most tropical countries. It has three seasons – cool and dry from May to August, hot and dry from September to November, and warm and wet from December to April. Only in the Valleys of the Zambezi and Luangwa will you experience excessive heat, particularly in October and, in the wet season, high humidity. In the warm wet season, frequent heavy showers and thunderstorms occur, followed by spells of bright sunshine. The rains in Zambia come mostly between December and March. The further north you are, the earlier the rains arrive and the later they leave. Eastern areas and higher areas generally receive more rain than western and lowland areas. Over the wet months, many of the national parks close which means no access, no tourists and there is a return to true wild Africa. Safari season opens again from May (give or take) through to November and the heat can be oppressive and the storms occasionally spectacular. Three great rivers flow through the country: the Zambezi, the Kafue and the Luangwa. And in the north of the country, there are 3 great natural lakes: Bangweulu, Mweru (shared with the Democratic Republic of Congo) and the southern section of Lake Tanganyika – one of the deepest natural lakes in the world. On the southern border of Zambia is Lake Kariba, which is the largest man-made lake in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Further round is the magnificent Victoria Falls, the source of endless fascination and adventure.
  • Airports: Lusaka International Airport (LUN) is Zambia's main airport. There's a smaller airport in Livingstone (LVI) which is used for regional flights. Most international visitors will fly into Lusaka on British Airways, Air France, South African Airways, Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airways. Livingstone Airport is served by charter flights and a few scheduled flights (mostly from South Africa and Botswana).

    Getting Around: Travel by Road: If you’re planning on doing a vehicle trip through Zambia, it is a good idea to carry a range of tools and essential spares with you. The country has 38 763 kilometres of roads, of which about 10 000 km are tarred and another 8 000 km are gravel road – the rest range from reasonable to bad dirt roads. Driving at night is risky caused of non-existent road markings, animals appearing out of nowhere and vehicles without lights – to name but a few. Be sure to have all your vehicle papers on hand as you’re bound to encounter a few roadblocks. Public Transport: There are many taxis available and prices are negotiable. There is a good bus service to Chipata, Livingstone, the Copperbelt and Harare, but they don’t always follow strict schedules. The main bus terminus is in Dedan Kimathi Road in Lusaka where one can inquire about timetables. Other private bus companies offer more reliable services to Livingstone, Harare and Johannesburg. Long range buses frequently leave from Lusaka to all the main towns.
  • Livingstone & Victoria Falls A myriad of activities is on offer in the area. They vary from super-adventurous to romantic and relaxing, all of them leaving you in awe of the miracle of this natural wonder. River rafting, canoeing, horse-riding trails, bungee jumping, river cruises, hikes, abseiling, kayaking and game viewing from the river are only a few that will get you excited. A highlight would be a view of the river and the falls from the air in a helicopter.
  • Safari Zambia, being famous for the grandeur of the Victoria Falls, is a safari enthusiast’s dream with over 30% of the country’s land allocated to National Parks. The country is threaded with permanent rivers, a paradise for animals and birds alike, and with most of the tourist flocking around popular Falls, the parks don’t attract such high volumes of visitors, resulting in them being some of the most pristine and unspoiled wildlife havens on the continent.

Destinations in Zambia