Zimbabwe & Zambia

Linked by the spectacular Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia both offer extraordinary experiences. Visitors to Zimbabwe will find themselves privy to magnificent wildlife viewing, rich culture, the Zambezi River and one of the Wonders of the Natural World, Victoria Falls. As the home of the legendary walking safari, neighbouring Zambia features a great number of game roaming the unspoiled wilderness of the South Luangwa National Park. If you are out to experience the ‘real’ Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia are it.

 

When to Visit

The drier and cooler months May to September are generally a good time for game viewing, but during the warmer wetter months of October to March, the landscape becomes lush and green, and the bird watching is at its best.
 

Highlights

VICTORIA FALLS The greatest falls in Africa, half a million cubic metres of water plummet over the edge. The thunder of the cascading water can be heard almost five kilometres away with the spray visible for up to 50 kilometres, a truly aweinspiring sight.

LOWER ZAMBEZI In the Lower Zambezi National Park the wildlife viewing is endless - gaze in awe at elephants sauntering along the bank, swarming hippos in the river and fish eagles soaring overhead.

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK Hwange National Park is considered one of the few great elephant sanctuaries left in Africa. The park sustains a greater variety and density of wildlife than any other conservation region in the world.

SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK Regarded as the home of the walking safari, the South Luangwa National Park has a great number of zebra, giraffe, leopard, buffalo, impala and lion roaming the plains while hippo occupy the riverine stretches.

ZAMBEZI RIVER Acclaimed as the best one-day white water rafting trip in the world, the Zambezi River is a must for any traveller’s bucket list. Canoeing and tranquil river cruises are on offer for the less adventurous.

LAKE MALAWI Dominating the eastern side of Malawi, Lake Malawi is renowned for its diversity of freshwater fish and its abundance of beaches allows for endless activities including swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking or relaxing in the sun.

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Useful Information

Getting around

Various air charter companies will fly to any of the many airstrips around the country and most of the areas worth visiting are accessible by air. Long range buses frequently leave from Lusaka to all the main towns. The intercity bus terminal can be found one road up from Cairo Road at the station. Zambia has 38,763 kilometres of roads, about 10,000 kms of which are tarred and another 8000 kms all weather gravel road. The rest range from reasonable to bad dirt roads.If you’re doing a vehicle trip through Zambia it is a good idea to carry a range of tools and essential spares with you.

Language

English (official) and many Bantu languages.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Frequent or long stay travellers should consider vaccination against hepatitis B. Vaccination against rabies (particularly if working with animals) and typhoid (particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene) should be considered by travellers to Zambia. Cholera is reported in Zambia but vaccination is generally not recommended. Care with food and beverage selection is far more important. Travellers are advised to drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw/undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). There is a high risk of malaria in Zambia and dengue fever also occurs, thus insect avoidance measures and anti malarial medication may be necessary depending on your itinerary. While Zambia is listed by the WHO as low risk for Yellow Fever, some countries still require proof of vaccination from travellers who have recently visited or transited Zambia. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations including a recent annual influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Botswana should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries.

Electricity

Electrical Socket type: British and European (some Indian (or old British) sockets are still found in some areas). Voltage: 220-240v (same as New Zealand, no voltage/frequency converter required). To purchase electrical adapters, or for further information, go to www.korjo.com.au.

Communications

Country Code for Zambia: +260 International Operator: 090 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz  Emergency Services: 999 Emergency response, particularly outside major cities, may be delayed due to a lack of vehicles and other resources.

Shopping

Zambia's best bargains are handicrafts: carvings and baskets made locally. The curio stall near the border to the Falls has a good selection, but prices are lower if you buy away from tourist areas, in Lusaka or at some of the roadside stallsOccasionally you will be offered 'precious' stones to buy – rough diamonds, emeralds and the like. Expert geologists may spot the occasional genuine article amongst hoards of fakes, but most mere mortals will end up being conned. Stick to the carvings if you want a bargain.

Tipping

Tipping in Zambia is entirely at your discretion but as a guideline we recommend US $10 per person per day for your ranger and tracker and US $25 to be divided amongst the rest of the lodge staff. When it comes to restaurants, some establishments will add service charge for your bill; if not, 10% is standard.

Customs

Greetings are very important. One greets another by saying "hello" and "how are you?" Then come inquiries into one's family, the crops or the weather. It is rude to come directly to the point; conversations may go on for several minutes before  the point of the conversation is broached. There is hand etiquette as well. The right hand is for eating—which is traditionally done without utensils—greetings, and exchanges of money. It is impolite to use your left hand when interacting with another person. Washing of one's hands before eating is very common, with a bowl of water passed around as one sits at the table. The guests are given the honor of going first. Proverbs are an important part of Zambian society. They are part of the oral tradition and have become catchphrases in which a lesson is taught. For example a Kaunde proverb is "Bubela bubwel," which translates to "lies return." This is a proverb used to warn against gossip and telling lies because it can make you look foolish later. Another important aspect of Zambian culture is respect for elders. When greeting an elder, one shows respect by dropping to one knee, bowing the head, clapping three times, and saying one of the many terms that signify respect.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Zimbabwe. Frequent or long stay travellers should consider vaccination against hepatitis B. Vaccination against rabies (particularly if working with animals) and typhoid (particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene) should be considered by travellers to Zimbabwe. Cholera is reported in Zimbabwe but vaccination is generally not recommended. Care with food and beverage selection is far more important. There is a high risk of malaria in Zimbabwe and dengue fever also occurs, thus insect avoidance measures and anti malarial medication may be necessary depending on your itinerary. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations including a recent annual influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Botswana should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries.

Electricity

Electrical Socket type: British and Indian (old British). Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as New Zealand, no voltage/frequency converter required). Modem Plug: South African and British. To purchase electrical adapters, or for further information, go to www.korjo.com.au.

Communications

Country Code for Zimbabwe: +263 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Emergency Services: All - 999 Ambulance - 994 Fire - 993 Police - 995 The emergency services should have English speaking staff. If not, you should have a Zimbabwean call on your behalf, or contact the New Zealand Embassy.

Shopping

A 100-trillion-dollar bill, it turns out, is worth about $5. The notes are a hot commodity among currency collectors and novelty buyers, fetching 15 times what they were officially worth in circulation.

Tipping

Bring small denomination notes - small change is rarely available in Zimbabwe - and note that although tipping lodge staff and guides is customary for good service, make sure that a service charge hasn't been added onto your bill beforehand.

Getting around

There are a number of international flights to Harare International Airport, but in recent years many big airline companies have been cutting service to Zimbabwe. It is best to fly to a neighboring country and catch a connecting flight. Several domestic flights run between many of Zimbabwe’s larger cities and to Victoria Falls. The most common form of transportation in Zimbabwe is car. A number of bus companies within Zimbabwe service domestic destinations, as do buses that enter the country from neighboring nations. Local buses tend to depart when full and do not operate on a particular timetable, whereas express buses operate on a schedule. Express buses usually offer the fastest way to reach your destination, but they are more expensive.

Language

English is the official language. The indigenous languages of Shona & Ndebele are also spoken.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

Clapping twice is an accepted "thank you", especially when someone is handing you something (food, a purchase). If one hand is full you can clap the free hand on your chest. Unlike in Asia, taking items passed to you with both hands is considered impolite, as it is seen as being greedy. Men should clap so that fingertips and wrists meet, but women should 'golf clap' with hands crossing. This is a society with deep gender divisions.When shaking hands or handing anything valuable to someone, it is polite to support the right forearm with the left hand (or vice versa), to signify the "weight" of the gift or honour. In practice this often means just touching the forearm, or even gesturing towards it.When taking something from a local, it is strictly done with the right hand as it is seen as an insult if the left hand is used regardless of dexterousness. The same rule applies when passing something.Be careful with your opinion, as speaking against the government is a crime.

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