English is the official language of Zambia, though in rural areas, indigenous tongues are still the norm. There are 73 languages spoken in Zambia, with Nyanja being the one most heard. Others you might come across include Kaonde, Lunda, Tonga, and Luvale.
Zambia uses the kwacha (ZMK), which means “sunrise.” It is technically illegal to use other currencies though many tour operators accept US dollars. Currency can be changed at banks, exchange bureaus and airports, though if bringing US dollars, only new bills will be taken. Large denominations such as US $50 and US $100 get a better exchange rate than small values. ATMs can be found in major cities, but do not always work and only accept Visa. Credit cards can be used at high-end hotels, safari lodges and large tour companies, but a 5-10 percent transaction fee will be added. It is near impossible to cash travelers’ checks here so don’t rely on them.
Zambia is in the Central African time zone (CAT), which is two hours ahead of GMT (GMT +2).
Zambia has electricity at 230 Volts/ 50 Hertz and three different types of outlets; two round pins, three round pins, and two parallel flat pins with ground pin so bring a transformer and an adaptor.
The dialing code for Zambia is +260, but different area codes apply to each city and their surrounding area. Cell phone coverage is available in large regions and a few medium-sized towns, but elsewhere expect no signal. The major network providers are Airtel, Call Z and MTN. Internet service is spermatic, though in Lusaka and Livingstone it’s easy to find. Elsewhere, expect to pay a premium to connect to the web.
Duty-free items can be purchased at either international airport. Travelers entering the country can import up to 1.5 liters of spirits, 2.5 liters of wine and 2.5 liters of beer without paying tax. Export permits are required for items made from shell, hair or bone.
Zambia Tourism Board: 1st Floor Petroda House, Great East Road, Lusaka +260-211-229087 or http://www.zambiatourism.com/welcome.htm.
Embassies and Consulates in Zambia
US Embassy, Lusaka: +260-211-250-955 High Commission of Canada, Lusaka: +260-211-250-833 Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Lusaka: +260-211-254-014 Embassy of Ireland, Lusaka: +260-211-290-482 Embassy of Sweden, Lusaka: +260-211-251-711 British High Commission, Lusaka: +260-211-423-200 Embassy of France, Lusaka: +260-211-251-322 Honorary Consulate of Belgium, Lusaka: +260-211-258-057 Royal Danish Embassy, Lusaka: +260-211-25254-277
Emergency services: 999 Police and ambulance: 991 Fire brigade: 993