Fiona Herring has visited Zambia many times, both in a professional capacity as a travel consultant and also on holiday in her childhood. Here she answers some of the questions we are asked regularly by customers interested in going on holiday in Zambia. You can call her directly on 020 7666 1250.
Why would I choose Zambia for a safari holiday?
I think you’ll be wowed by Zambia’s warm welcoming people, its diverse national parks (there’s a huge mix of habitats and animals), top-class game viewing by open safari vehicle, boat or on a walking safari. Add to this the opportunity to see the Victoria Falls, and you’ve got some irrefutable reasons why you should to go on holiday in Zambia! It’s one of my favourite countries and somewhere that works for people who have been on safari before as well as for first timers.
How do we get there?
There are direct flights from London to Lusaka a couple of times a week, or you can go via other countries such as South Africa and Kenya. Livingstone is another gateway, especially convenient if you are only going to Victoria Falls.
How do we travel around the country?
Due to the great distances between the national parks, light aircraft flights are generally the best way to travel within Zambia. There is the possibility of road transfers on some routings, such as from the lower Zambezi back to Lusaka.
If there was one thing I shouldn’t miss, what would you recommend?
A guided walking safari, an elephant back safari in Victoria Falls and a helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls are three major experiences you’ll never forget. Zambia is home of the walking safari and South Luangwa is one of the best places if you want to really experience every aspect of being deep in the bush. For the really intrepid, a sleep-out is brilliant fun, but not for everyone.
Can children go on safari in Zambia?
Zambians are very fond of children and naturally engage them. There are many properties which particularly cater for children and there are private houses in the South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Victoria Falls which have sole use of vehicle with guide which would be perfect for families with children off all ages. Please remember, no matter where you travel, safety is the first priority and management on site will assess the behaviour of children on arrival.
Is Zambia safe?
Yes – there may be occasional petty theft but the country has been politically stable for many years now.
Can I drink the tap water?
Depending on the circumstances of the property you visit, you should be able to drink the tap water but for the most part bottled water is always the safest option.
Is English widely spoken?
Yes – English is very widely spoken it’s the official language of Zambia.
What are service and facilities like in Zambian hotels and lodges?
The quality of service is generally very high in Zambia. Obviously the standard of facilities depends on the grade of accommodation you book – if you are in a small bush camps, the facilities are comfortable but basic. Zambians enjoy interacting with guests and a bit of patience with the language barrier can go long ways to building friendships with this warm nation. In general, visitors comment on the personal attention and service they receive.
What is the local cuisine like?
European style food is mostly served at the safari camps with local flavours and ingredients often thrown in. Tasty wholesome food that keeps you going is generally the style, so you are able to spend more time out in the bush game viewing. The rural cuisine is heavily based on maize and so finding vegetarian options shouldn’t be a problem. If you have specific dietary requirements, let us know at the point of booking so that we can let the lodges know ahead of time. They always do their very best to ensure all requirements are catered for.
Is Zambia very culturally different to Europe?
Zambia was a British colony and they are still Commonwealth members, so the culture feels very familiar in many ways.
How can I contribute to the local economy and conservation programmes?
Most hotels and lodges are directly involved with local projects and are proud to show the difference they have made to people’s lives. We can advise you ahead of time of how you can help locally or if you would like to contribute to a charity or NGO we can point you in the best direction.
Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?
Yes, malaria tablets are strongly advised and your doctor will give advise on any other requirements or recommendations. Yellow fever will be required if returning into South Africa. Make sure you visit your doctor at least six weeks before you travel and leave enough time for vaccinations.
I am pregnant, can I travel to Zambia?
You are unable to take malaria precautions whilst pregnant so we do not recommend travel to Zambia. You should always consult your doctor before undertaking any travel when pregnant.