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Zambia Travel Guide

Key Facts

752,614 sq km (290,586 sq miles).


16,717,332 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

20 per sq km.





Head of state

President Hakainde Hichilema since 2021.


230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins, three round pins or three square pins are used.

Vast lakes and wetlands, long and life-giving rivers, breathtaking African sunsets and a rich tradition of guiding all contribute to Zambia’s immense appeal as a safari destination.

Its most famous landmark, Victoria Falls, which it shares with Zimbabwe, attracts nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Visit in March or April, when the falls are in full spate, and you’ll be bowled over by the rainbows, the roar of the cascading water and the dense, drenching clouds of spray.

Livingstone, the closest urban hub to the falls and once Zambia’s colonial capital, has a number of accommodation options, colourful markets and a busy restaurant and nightlife scene. The mighty Zambezi River itself is glassy-smooth above the falls and wild below. It’s perfect for booze cruises, canoe safaris and adrenaline activities such as white-water rafting and river surfing. There are a plethora of beautiful riverside lodges dotted along its banks.

Beyond the falls, Zambia is not as high-profile a safari destination as Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa, but it’s a favourite with those in the know. Packed with untamed wilderness and fascinating wildlife, minus the crowds, Zambia is the African bush at its most raw and romantic.

The country’s excellent safari lodges and camps will put you fully in touch with your wild surroundings. You’ll fall asleep to the hooting of owls, the whooping of hyenas, the distant roar of lions, and the loud munching of hippos grazing nearby.

Almost a third of Zambia’s landmass is given over to national parks and game reserves, but South Luangwa National Park is the cream of the crop for sheer density of big game. It’s also the home of the legendary African walking safari.

Another of Zambia’s drawcards is the people. The country is home to a staggering 72 different ethnic groups, each of whom have their own distinctive cultural traits and traditions, but all of whom are unfailingly warm and welcoming.

Travel Advice

On 21 March 2023 the Zambian Ministry of Health announced the lifting of all COVID-19 travel related restrictions at points of entry with immediate effect. All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

Most visits to Zambia are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself from crime.

You will need a visa to enter Zambia as a visitor. See Visas

Terrorist attacks in Zambia can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Zambia on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

There are no direct flights between Zambia and the UK. Check FCDO travel advice for the latest guidance on transiting through third countries.

On 21 March 2023 the Zambian Ministry of Health announced the lifting of all COVID-19 travel related restrictions at points of entry with immediate effect. All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

On leaving Zambia, all air passengers must pay a departure tax of US$25. This is normally included in the cost of an air ticket, you will be asked to pay separately in Zambian Kwacha if it is not.

There is also a Security Charge payable by all departing air passengers. The cost is US$3 per person for domestic flights and US$5 per person for international flights. As above, this is normally included in the cost of an air ticket but you will be asked to pay separately in Zambian Kwacha if it is not.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Zambia.

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Zambia

Regional airports are open and airlines are operating as normal.


There are no restrictions on hotels and safari lodges. You should contact your accommodation provider for further information before travelling.

Public places and services

There are no restrictions on access to public places and services.

Healthcare in Zambia

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Zambia.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.


For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Political situation

Demonstrations and protests occasionally take place in Zambia, more commonly in Lusaka and other urban areas. They can disrupt local transport, and have the potential to escalate into violence. Don’t attempt to cross protester roadblocks as this commonly provokes a violent reaction from demonstrators.

Protests and large gatherings can happen without warning and occasionally result in disorder. You should avoid them and leave the scene as soon as possible if a crowd develops. You should exercise caution and follow the guidance and instructions of local authorities. Monitor local and international media and keep up to date with this travel advice by subscribing to email alerts.


Travel in major cities, as well as the major game parks is generally safe during daylight hours. However, serious crimes can and do occur. It is important to remain vigilant at all times and take sensible precautions.

Be vigilant, keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed when driving, and remain aware of your surroundings, especially after dark.

Keep valuables and originals of important documents in a safe place and carry a copy of your passport and immigration permit.

Local travel

Take care when travelling in rural parts of North Western, Copperbelt, Central and Luapula provinces close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly after dark. Using legitimate border crossings in these areas is generally safe, although Congolese officials may ask for payment to cross the border. Avoid travelling in the bush along this border for hunting or prospecting.


Wild animals in the bush, including venomous snakes, are unpredictable and do kill. Whether you are travelling on land or water, you are at risk of potentially fatal animal attacks.

Adventure sports, including in the Victoria Falls area, carry risks. Serious accidents and deaths sometimes occur. The quality of medical care varies greatly. Follow safety instructions closely and make sure your insurance policy covers you.

Road travel

You can drive using a UK driving licence for up to 90 days. If you intend to stay longer, you will need to get an International Driving Permit or a Zambian driving licence.

Take care when driving. Vehicles are often poorly lit, inadequately maintained and badly driven. Drink driving and driving while talking on a mobile phone is illegal but commonplace. The Road Traffic and Safety Agency will prosecute traffic offenders through a fast track court system.

Road travel at night in rural areas can be hazardous. Abandoned vehicles, pedestrians and stray animals are a danger. Many roads are severely pot-holed or otherwise unsafe, especially during the rainy season (November-April) when bridges and roads risk being washed away by sudden floods. There are frequent fatal crashes. You should avoid driving at night outside the main towns.

Vehicle hijackings happen across the country from time to time. Take particular care when approaching locked gateways at night. Don’t stop to give lifts to people at the roadside. Watch out for objects that have been placed to block the road. Be vigilant, keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed when driving, and remain aware of your surroundings, especially after dark.

Travel by long-distance public transport can be dangerous due to poor standards of driving, lack of rest periods for drivers, the poor quality of vehicles and poor road conditions. Minibuses used in urban areas are usually severely overcrowded, poorly maintained and badly driven.

Air Travel

The UK Air Safety List (ASL) lists all known airlines that do not meet international safety standards and are banned from operating commercial air services to, from, and within the UK. Check the UK Air Safety List when considering which airlines to fly with. The list is maintained by the Department for Transport, based on advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Terrorist attacks in Zambia can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

This page has information on travelling to Zambia..

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Zambia set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Zambia’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

Travellers to Zambia are encouraged to be fully vaccinated but this is not mandatory. On 21 March 2023 the Zambian Ministry of Health lifted all COVID-19 travel related restrictions at points of entry with immediate effect. All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

You will need a tourist or business visa to enter or travel through Zambia as a visitor as well as valid return air tickets (if arriving by air) and sufficient funds for your stay.

See Visas for more information.

If you’re fully vaccinated

All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year

All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

Children and young people

All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

If you’re transiting through Zambia

All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.


There are no exemptions to Zambia’s entry requirements.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are visiting Zambia, your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date you arrive and have at least 2 blank pages.

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Zambia recognizes dual nationality. However to avoid delays you should leave Zambia on the same passport you used to enter.


A visa is required to enter Zambia. British nationals visiting Zambia for less than 90 days do not need a visa in advance, and can obtain a visa on arrival. Effective from 1 November 2022, the Government of Zambia removed all visa fees for British passport holders visiting Zambia. British nationals travelling for tourism are permitted to stay in Zambia for a for a total of 90 days in any period of twelve months from the day of first entry into Zambia.

British nationals travelling to Zambia for business are entitled to a free thirty-day visa. Business visas may be obtained by presenting a letter of invitation from the sponsoring organization. Business visas can be obtained at ports of entry, or in advance through Zambian Embassies and High Commissions or e-Visa. Business visitors are permitted to stay in Zambia for a total of thirty days visit in any period of twelve months.

Business visitors intending to stay longer than thirty days must apply for a temporary employment permit at Zambia immigration offices. This will allow them to reside, enter and re-enter Zambia for the validity of the permit.

For further information about entry requirements contact the Zambian High Commission in London at or visit Zambia Department of Immigration.


The KAZA UNVISA is valid for travel between Zambia and Zimbabwe and day-trips to Botswana through the Kazungula border. It’s available at the international airports in Lusaka and Livingstone and at the land borders at Livingstone (Zimbabwe border) and Kazungula (Botswana border). You can also apply online. It costs US$50 and it is valid for 30 days.

Travelling with children via a South African airport

If you’re transiting through a South African airport with children (under 18), see Travel Advice for South Africa for information and advice about the documents you’ll need to carry.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Health Risks

Cholera is present in Zambia. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and take measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Food bought from local street vendors may not meet adequate hygiene standards. See Food and water hygiene.

The UNAIDS Zambia Country report of 2020 estimated the overall HIV prevalence in the adult population is 11%, compared to a prevalence of 0.2% in adults in the UK. You should take normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

Local medical facilities

General medical facilities throughout Zambia are unable to provide the same standard of healthcare as in the UK. Facilities in rural areas are basic and emergency services are limited. You should carry basic medical supplies. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, staff at the British High Commission use the SES private ambulance service (00260 962 740300 / 740302). You should check with your insurer before travelling that your cover will be sufficient for this service. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Some over the counter drugs available in the UK are not legal in Zambia. Check ingredients carefully and contact the Zambian Medical Regulatory Authority for further advice. Customs officers may ask to see prescriptions for any medication you bring into the country.

The possession or use of narcotics, including soft drugs like marijuana, is prohibited. Drug taking and smuggling are offences.

It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a license. Those caught purchasing or trafficking such goods will be prosecuted and receive prison sentences or fines.

The possession of pornographic material is illegal in Zambia and offenders may be jailed and/or deported.


Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia and those caught engaging in homosexual acts can be sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Prison conditions in Zambia are very poor.

Avoid taking pictures of sensitive sites such as army barracks, and government buildings. If in doubt, don’t take pictures.

Consular Assistance

The Zambian authorities don’t always inform the British High Commission when British Nationals have been arrested. If you are arrested or detained, ask the police officers or prison officials to contact the British High Commission.

Zambia’s currency is the Kwacha and is available at airports, hotels, ATMs and exchange offices. Larger shops, hotels, restaurants and tour operators increasingly accept major credit cards. Use ATMs or banks and bureaux de change to exchange money. It may not be possible to exchange Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.