Zambia recently changed their regulations regarding foreign currency use within the country. It is now necessary to conduct all domestic transactions in local currency. Entrance visas into the country can still be paid in US Dollars however any monetary exchange within the country has to be made either with a credit card or in local currency.
The currency in Zambia is the Kwacha, which is not available for purchase outside the country. US dollars and UK pounds are easily changed into Kwacha locally at any Bureau de Change in the main towns. Please ensure that all USD notes are 1996 series or above with large heads, as notes before 1996 with small heads are not accepted in Zambia.
There are cash-point machines in all international airports in Zambia and guests are also able to exchange money at the local Bureau de Change. Visa and Master Card are accepted in Zambia, although often attract high surcharges. The exchange rate used for credit cards will be the bank exchange rate of the day.
The following Airport Taxes are payable (in local currency):
- International: Departure tax: US$ 25; Security Charge $5 (included in ticket price for tickets purchased outside Zambia, but needs to be paid locally for cross-border charter flights or if tickets are purchased and issued within Zambia)
- Domestic: Departure tax US$ 8; Security Charge $3
We arrange a “Meet & Greet” service for our guests upon arrival at Lusaka airport and they will be able to assist you to get any cash at the airport, however if using debit or credit cards please ensure they are cleared in advance for use abroad.
The camps prefer guests not to tip staff during the course of their stay but rather, if you choose, to leave a tip at the end of the stay in each camp. There will normally be a communal tip box and the proceeds will be split between all the staff, including those behind the scenes. The amount you tip is entirely discretionary but as a guideline we advise something in the region of US$5 – US$10 per guest per day.
The safari guides and scouts are not included in this tip sharing system so if you feel you have been well taken care of then you can tip your guide and/or scout separately, either in person or through the camp manager at the end of your stay. Again the amount is at your discretion but US$5 – US$10 per guest per day may serve as a guideline.
Generally speaking Zambia is a safe place to visit. If you are travelling on an all-inclusive trip and staying at lodges and hotels, then problems of personal safety are exceedingly rare. Theft is a problem in Zambia’s urban areas and car-jacking is on the increase, so if you are staying in town or planning a self-drive then we recommend taking sensible precautions not to make yourself an obvious target.
Most of our holidays to Zambia include internal flights within the country. We draw your attention to the FCO travel advice on Zambia, which advises against flying “if an acceptable alternative means of travel is available”.
We have reputable airlines that we have used in Zambia for many years; we use them ourselves when we fly and we have used them for many of our travelers in the past. We believe that they are safely operated and have checked that they are properly insured. Flights with these airlines may be included as part of your holiday.
For up to date advice we recommend you refer to your own governmental travel advisories:
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice Zambia: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/zambia
US Department of State International Travel Information Zambia: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1062.html