Zambia Travel Info
Zambia Currency and Money
The Zambian currency is known as kwacha and is not generally available for purchase outside Zambia. The most useful currency to bring is US dollars, although South Afri-can Rand, Euro, and GB Pounds will also be acceptable. Most tourist businesses and some other businesses in Livingstone will accept these other currencies. With US dol-lars, make sure you bring new notes – the ones with “big heads”. Zambian banks don’t accept the old notes with small heads or notes that are damaged, torn or written on and so you’ll find that you can’t spend them anywhere.
There are several banks here with ATMs which issue Zambian kwacha only. Some but not all businesses accept credit cards, the most popular being Visa and Mastercard. Amex and travellers cheques are not widely accepted and some debit cards don’t work. Some businesses add an additional charge for using credit cards. US Dollars can sometimes be obtained from the local bureaux de change but it is unwise to rely on this.
Livingstone is in an area which has malaria all year so it is recommended that you use prophylactic medicine and mosquito repellent. All our beds are “4-poster” (even the singles) and have individual draped mosquito nets. There are several pharmacies in town and you will be able to get hold of most over-the-counter and prescription medicines that you might need. Medical care can be accessed at a few private clinics and the local hospital; you should make sure your travel insurance covers medical expenses and evacuation. ZigZag has its own borehole so our water is certified as safe but generally the best advice is to stick to bottled water and question the source of ice cubes if you are eating elsewhere.
Several airlines fly to Livingstone from Johannesburg, Lusaka, Cape Town and Nairobi. There are several buses a day from Livingstone to Lusaka (and back) with connections to other parts of the country and beyond. There is a train service between Lusaka and Livingstone, times and availability need to be checked at the time of travel. If you are driving from Lusaka, the road is generally good but there are bad parts between Kafue and Mazabuka. You don’t need a 4×4 for this journey. Onward journeys to Kasane in Botswana and Katima Mulilo in Namibia (and 2x a week to Windhoek) are easy to arrange by local bus or the tourism transfer companies.
When to See the Victoria Falls
The volume of water varies dramatically throughout the year. In March, April & May the volume of water is greatest. Sometimes you will be unable to see much of the falls due to the dense spray. June and July still have plenty of water but the volume has decreased somewhat so your view might be better. From then the river drops until the rains start again. In September – December the water level is very low. While there is not the full-on waterfall experience of earlier in the year, the advantages are that you will be able to walk (with care) across the top of the Falls, swim in the Devil’s Pool at the edge of the Falls and get a great sense of the geological scale and structure of the Falls and how they have developed over millienia. If you come at full moon time when there is a good volume of water you will be able to see the lunar rainbow or “moonbow” at night.
The main points to note about Livingstone weather are that the rainy season begins around October/November time and can carry on until March or even April. It is unu-sual for rains to last all day every day, but not unheard of. The warmest months are September to January so some months will be hot and dry, and others hot and wet. Very high temperatures can occur in October and November and great care needs to be taken against sunburn and dehydration. From April the average tempera-ture lowers and at night it can be quite cool. In June and July the evenings are quite chilly and a couple of warm layers and closed shoes are required, but the days are temperate and quite pleasant.