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Zambia

Best adventure holiday: Zambia

Young people have always been eager to find new ways to go on holiday. The latest is the massive explosion in adventure holidays.

A relatively unknown destination that has all the activities to satisfy any hardcore adventurer would love is Zambia. This southern African country has become one of the market leaders in adventure holidays offering everything from white-water rafting along the Zambezi to one of the world's highest bridge jump.

Geography: The Republic of Zambia is found in the depths of Southern Africa landlocked between Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, and the Republic of Congo. Its spectacular scenery includes the Victoria Falls along the Zambezi River, the Bangweulu Swamps, and the Luangwa river valley.

Zambian tight rope walking

Definitely not for the faint-hearted

The basics

Currency: The Zambian Kwacha K

Climate: The summers are dry and can hit highs of over 30C, cooling to about 15C at night. Between June and September, the temperature is in the more manageable mid-twenties, dropping to around 10C at night.

Map

GMT: Zambia is one hour ahead of GMT.

Visas: If you hold a valid British passport, you will not need a visa for a visit of less than 90 days. However, as with many African countries, policy can change in a short space of time so it's always good to check with the Zambian consulate.

Languages: Luckily for British travellers the main language in Zambia is English. Other African languages are spoken (including Benba and Lozi) but most people will understand and speak English.

Do's & Don'ts

  • Don't take pictures of government buildings, border controls or military installations. You could end up spending your holiday in a totally different adventure; a Zambian jail.
  • Do remember to get your malaria injections.

Getting there/getting around

The easiest, most regular way to fly to Zambia from the UK is to fly to Johannesburg in South Africa and get a connecting flight to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. British Airways has a direct flight to Lusaka. These can be very expensive and don't operate on a daily basis.

When in the country, your best bet is to hire a car as the transport infrastructure is basic. There are regular coaches going from Lusaka to Livingstone, where you'll find the magnificent Victoria Falls and some of the best water-based adventure activities in the world.

The Victoria Falls

The magnificent Victoria Falls

Accommodation

There is a wide variety of hotels ranging from five-star luxury to hostels. As the country is popular with young backpackers and people on gap years, it's easy to find accommodation that won't break the bank.

Sightseeing & activities

This is where Zambia really comes into its own and has some of the most stunning geography and wildlife on Earth. Zambia offers safaris and game reserves to rival Kenya and South Africa - and at a much more affordable price. Companies offer elephant-back safaris and walking safaris where you can get up-close and personal with big game. This isn't for the faint-hearted.

Along the Great Zambezi River, you'll find canoeing, white water rafting, river boarding, bungi jumping and tightrope walks across the Victoria Falls.

Entertainment & nightlife

You'll find lively nightlife in Livingstone and Lusaka. There may not be the variety of nightlife you will find in South Africa's major cities but you will find some jumping bars and clubs. It is best to travel in groups as you may attract a lot of harmless but irritating attention.

Food & drink

Zambia isn't renowned for its cuisine but does offer barbeques at every turn. European food can be found in the major cities, but be warned, this isn't the best destination for vegetarians.

Zambia is a producer of beer and larger - the most famous being Mosi lager. It's very good and will go down well with all those barbequed steaks.

The final word

"Zambia is one of the newest and most exciting adventure destinations for young people," says Brad Verwaayen, director of ecotourism for Zambia Tourism. We offer holidays for everyone - from those who want a sedate camping trip along the Zambezi to a 100-metre high jump of the spectacular Batoka Gorge."

Updated: 16/04/2010


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