Zambia operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year, making it:
• an hour ahead of central European winter time,
• seven hours ahead of Eastern standard winter time and
• seven hours behind Australian central time.
PASSPORTS & VISAS
Entry by foreign nationals to Zambia is fairly straightforward, and hassle-free. All visitors must be in possession of a valid passport, and in some cases, a visa. Please contact your nearest travel agent or embassy for further details.
BANKS & MONEY
The currency unit is the Kwacha, denoted by the symbol K. Foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks, and Bureaux de Changes. Most major international credit cards, such as American Express, Mastercard, Visa (and their affiliates), are widely accepted.
Most restaurants do not add a service charge to bills - thus it is customary to leave a 10-15% gratuity. Parking and petrol station attendants can be given whatever small change you have available. This is always appreciated, even though it may seem a small amount.
Value added tax (VAT) is charged on most items.
The seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are directly opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere. For summer months, lightweight (cottons and linens), short-sleeved clothes are best, although a light jersey / jumper might be needed for the cooler evenings. Umbrella’s and raincoats are essential for summer. Warmer clothes are needed for the winter months.
Zambia’s electricity supply is 220/250 volts. Most plugs have three square pins but some plugs with two smaller pins are also found on appliances. Adaptors can generally be purchased from major stores but supply may be limited. US-made appliances may require a transformer.
HOSPITALS & MEDICAL CARE
There is a large network of public and private hospitals countrywide offering good service. However travellers must have adequate health insurance to cover the fees that the private hospitals charge.
Most parts of the country can be safely visited by tourists, provided they take basic common sense precautions, for example: not walking alone in deserted areas at night, and being circumspect about how much photographic equipment or jewelry is carried or worn. Most major cities run organized crime prevention programs.
Avoid long car journeys that necessitate driving at night, as it always carries more risk. In more remote rural areas the roads are not fenced, so there may be stray animals on the road, which could be very dangerous at night.
All visitors intending to drive are required to obtain an international drivers permit. Visitors found driving without a permit will be fined. Visitors will also not be able to rent a car without a valid drivers permit. The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory, and strictly enforced by law.
Most major shopping centers and malls operate seven days a week, but in smaller towns and rural areas shops are closed on Sundays.
General trading hours are:
• Monday - Saturday: 09h00 - 17h00
• Sundays: 09h00 - 14h00
It is advisable to take adequate precautions when visiting Zambia as certain areas are Malaria prone. With modern insect repellents and using common sense, one can reduce the chances of being bitten to almost zero.
The cheapest, safest and most effective measures against malaria are physical barriers, such as a mosquito net, and the use of a good insect repellent. If you decide to take malaria prophylaxis, it is essential that you take the drugs according to the directions on the package insert. You will need to start a week or two before entering a malaria-endemic area, and should continue taking the drugs for four weeks after leaving the malaria risk area. It is advisable to consult a medical professional before embarking on a course of malaria prophylaxis. Note that expectant mothers should avoid malaria medication.