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Zambia is a landlocked country located between the southern rim of the Zaire Basin and the Zambezi River. Zambia has land borders with Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to the southeast, Botswana and Namibia to the south, Angola on the west and Zaire to the northwest.

Most of the landmass in Zambia is a high plateau lying between 3,500 and 4,500 feet above sea level. In the northeast, the Muchinga Mountains exceed 7,000 ft in height. Elevations under 2,000 ft are found in the valleys of the major river systems. Plateau land in the northeastern and eastern regions is broken by the low-lying Luangwa River., and in the western half by the Kafue River. Both rivers are tributaries of the upper Zambezi, the major waterway of the area. The frequent occurrence of rapids and falls prevents through navigation of the Zambezi.

There are three large natural lakes, the Banweulu, Mweru and Tanganyika all situated in the northern region. Lake Bangweulu and the swamps at its southern end cover an area of 3,800 sq miles and are drained by the Luapula River. The Copperbelt, which at one time, was responsible for most of Zambia's wealth, lies in the Western Province, bordering with Zaire.

For many years Zambia had the reputation of being something of a bland destination, but since the tourist boom of the 1990s many of the previously hidden treasures of Zambia’s natural landscape have been revealed, and the country is now at the forefront of the Southern African safari and venture travel scene.

Zambia has over 73 different tribes, with a population of just about 10 million people, most of whom live in and around the urban centers. The population growth however, at 3.7 % per annum is among the highest in the world. Generally speaking, Zambians are very friendly people, and it is not uncommon for people to approach foreigners and start a conversation. English is spoken throughout the country.

There is no predominant ethnic culture and Zambians are fast becoming westernized. There is however, an attempt to maintain traditional customs with the revival of ancient tribal ceremonies amongst the various tribes in different parts of the country. If any of these are taking place during your visit, they’re well worth attending.

Zambia stands at the crossroads of the north - south overland axis between East and Southern Africa. With one of the two venture activity centers associated with Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River on Zambian soil - the other is across the river in Zimbabwe - it is a favorite among backpackers, overlanders and budget travelers.

However it has also in recent years been building a reputation for being among the premier luxury wildlife safari providers in the region, with quite a few South African and overseas lifestyle investors setting up superbly appointed lodge and tented camp destinations associated either with private or national wildlife parks.

Culturally Zambia shares something of a sparse landscape with her regional neighbors, with an urban scene that hardly excites the imagination, and a somewhat impoverished local history. However, in general facilities in the country are good, the infrastructure sound and local conditions as safe and easy as anywhere in Africa. For those in search of a quintessential African woodland and plains destination Zambia is a superb option.

Why Travel To Zambia

One of the undisputed jewels in the crown of African wildlife parks is the Luangwa Valley complex of nature conservancies. These are the North and South Luangwa National Parks, both of which are situated in the sublimely beautiful Luangwa River Valley in the east of the country. The region is best known for walking safaris, wherein an almost unparallel diversity of animal and bird-life can be viewed.

Besides these Zambia has some 19 separate national parks and conservancies, some suffering sustained neglect, but others well preserved and well appointed. Among the latter is Kafue National Park, which offers a variety of eco-regions, but most interestingly the flooded grasslands of the Kafue Flats.

Others include the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a phrase meaning The Smoke That Thunders, referring to the pall of mist and spray that perpetually hovers over the Victoria Falls. The park encompasses the falls itself, and has a compact wildlife section that, while it cannot be described as either remote or extensive, nonetheless protects and showcases many vulnerable species, including a pair of White Rhino.

The Victoria Falls, and the Zambezi River itself, are shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has lately tended to be off the regional tourist map, so the adrenalin sport market associated with Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River has recently been focused on Zambia.

The Zambian view of the falls is commonly agreed to be inferior to the Zimbabwean, but from Zambia it is possible to approach the lip of the falls, while the white water rafting, microlite flights, bungi jumping and a variety of other variations on river sports are excellent.

When to Travel to Zambia

Zambia is part of the summer rainfall region so between mid-November and mid-March you can expect the countryside to be green, wet, hot and humid. It is at this time that the mosquitoes proliferate, and when wildlife disperse into the bush.

The dry winter months are therefore an ideal time to visit this part of Africa, for apart from the fact that the weather is pleasantly cool during the days, and sometimes cold at night, wildlife tends to be concentrated around available water, allowing for the most productive potential for game viewing. Access to the remote parts of the country is also much easier at this time.

The down side is that the Zambezi River is lower and the rapids extremely wild. If you like this, then come in winter, if not, then come during the rains when the water is higher and the ride smoother.

Climate

Although Zambia lies within the tropics, much of the country has a pleasant climate because of high altitude. Both temperature and rainfall are closely affected and moderated by the altitude of the terrain. Temperatures are highest in the valleys of the Zambezi, Luangwa and Kafue rivers and by the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Mweru and Bangweulu.

There are wide seasonal variations in temperatures and rainfall. The highest temperatures come before the rains. October is the hottest months, being humidity and cloudy with thunderstorms caused by moist air from the east.

The main raining season starts in mid-November, with heavy tropical storms lasting well into April. The Northern Province has a rainfall of from 30 - 36 inches. May to middle of August is regarded as the cool season, after which temperatures rise rapidly. September usually is very dry.

Livingstone has a hot climate, with extreme temperatures of 40.6°C (105°F) and -3°C (27°F) and an annual rainfall of almost 30 inches. From May to July the weather is perfect. Lusaka at 4,100 ft, has extreme temperatures of 39°C (100°F) and 5°C (41°F) and an average annual rainfall of 45 inches.
 

Feedback From Clients

Wendy Jones Eric Hamilton


My Family and I wanted to let you know how great everything was on our safari. You had recommended that at this time of year (June-August) the best game viewing would be in South Africa. We certainly can’t talk for other locations, but the Botswana-South Africa package you suggested was just what we were hoping for. We stayed in three places for three nights each. They included Mashatu in Botswana, Pafuri in Northern Kruger, and Mala Mala near Southern Kruger. Some of the highlights of Mashatu included watching wild dogs devour a wart hog, seeing four young cheetahs interact, and observing a newborn elephant breast feed. All in addition to sighting lots of giraffe, lions, leopard, elephant, zebra, etc. Our ranger, Jakes, was outstanding an...

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