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Country Info

Useful facts, information and hints and tips about life in Zambia.

Permits

Read about all the different permit options for immigration to Zambia.

Services

Read about our services, how we assist with all Zambia permits and visas as well as relocation issues.

Foreign Exchange

Exchanging money can be a daunting experience. Our well-informed experts can save you avoidable charges.

Travel Visas

Learn here about obtaining your travel visa for Zambia, special passes and the entry requirements.

Zambia – information for expat workers

Below are some interesting facts about Zambia and life in Zambia. We offer a full relocation support service for those expatriate workers who require settling-in assistance as well as a work visa or permit.

Geography

Zambia, named after the Zambezi river, is a landlocked country bordering Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Map of ZambiaMalawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

The size of Zambia is 752,000 square kilometres which means it is as large as France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland combined.

One of the features of Zambia’s geography are the ‘3 Great Lakes’ – Bangweulu, Mweru and Lake Tanganyika, which is the second deepest natural lake in the world.

Lake Kariba, on the Southern border, is the largest man-made lake in Africa and the second largest in the world at 280kms long and 40kms across.

Regions

Zambia is divided up into 10 provinces:

  • Central
  • Copperbelt
  • Eastern
  • Luapula
  • Lusaka
  • Muchinga
  • Northern
  • North-Western
  • Southern
  • Western

The largest province is that of the Northern but the most populated is Lusaka with a population of approx 2.2. million and also the highest density of people at over 100 per sq km.

Capital

Lusaka is a fast growing city that prior to becoming the capital of Zambia commenced life as a village named after the headman Lusaaka.

It replaced Livingstone as the capital in 1935 mainly due to its location and is now both the centre of commerce and government for Zambia.

Lusaka benefits from a modern looking business area, lively markets, some ‘not too bad’ night-life with upmarket hotels and restaurants. Cairo Road is the main focal point of Lusaka with shops,  banks and businesses all featured.

Population

The population is one of the fastest growing in the world and currently stands at approx 13,817,479. The density is however still low when you consider it to be 3 times the size of the UK.

Language

At independence in 1964, English was declared the national language. Although only 2% of Zambians call English their first language it is the most commonly used second language and the one used by most educated Zambians.

Zambia is infamous for the sheer number of languages spoken that it can lay claim to at over 70 – although some prefer to refer to many of these as dialects rather than languages.

Climate

The weather in Zambia can be divided into 2 seasons – the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season typically runs from November to April (although maybe longer the more North you are) and is also the summer season. The dry season, May to October, corresponds with winter time.  It can best be described as a sub subtropical climate.

Economy

  • GDP has risen at an average rate of almost 6% a year in the past decade, while inflation has dropped from more than 20% to below 7%.
  • Zambia is rich in arable land, water, gemstones, as well as copper, its main export.
  • After a successive slump in output, copper mining is expected to rebound in 2013, and is projected to reach 1.5 million tonnes by 2015.
  • The main contributors to GDP in 2012 were;
  • Agriculture (12.2%)
  • Mining (8%)
  • Manufacturing (11.2%)
  • Construction (13.0%).

The growth sectors that the Government is presently promoting include Mining, Agriculture, Energy, Manufacturing and Tourism.

Money matters

Currency – The Zambian currency is the The Zambian Kwacha and the foreign currency code for  Kwacha is ZMW. It comes in the form of notes and coins. In 2013 the government decided to revamp the currency by effectively getting rid of the zeros. This means Zambia has new notes starting from the 2 Kwacha note and is now one of the few African countries to use coins.

Changing your money – USD, Pounds and South African rand are easily changeable but others will prove difficult. If you have USD make sure you have with you the ones with the ‘big heads’. Others may not be accepted.

ATM’s – There are ATM’s in the major cities but do not rely on them to be functional.

Travellers cheques – Not that common, with few banks accepting them, and may give you a bad exchange rate.

Credit Card – Some places will accept credit cards but be careful of extra charges.

Getting to Zambia

Zambia is accessible by train, plane and international and regional airports (21 all told).

The main international airport is based in Lusaka but offering international fights are Livingstone, Mfuwe International Airport and Ndola Airport.

Getting around

By plane

There are number of domestic flights that connect Zambia’s major cities and tourist destinations. Of course this method of transport is the fastest and most comfortable way of getting around but it is quite expensive.

By minibus

Could well accurately be described as dangerous, and uncomfortable. Often overcrowded and not for the faint hearted.

By bus

More reliable and safer are the ‘luxury’ buses of the larger variety that connect most major towns.

By car

Vehicles drive on the left side of the road in Zambia but a rented vehicle is not cheap and despite improvements some roads leave a lot to be desired. 4 wheel drive vehicles are recommended.

Schooling

Education is difficult for the government of Zambia to provide because of the very small tax base of the economy. Without money to buy equipment schools must operate with meagre resources and most expats will choose the private school option from those below:

American International School of Lusaka

Banani International School

Baobab College

Lechwe Educational Trust

Lusaka International Community School

The International School of Lusaka

Housing

Standard accommodation is a 3-bedroomed, mostly unfurnished, detached house standing in its own plot, often with a swimming pool and full security provisions.

Lusaka rental rates range from around $600 per month for a small house or apartment up to $3,000 for a luxurious, full size house and about half that price in the Copper Belt region in the north.

Shopping

Zambia’s capital Lusaka has modern shops, supermarkets and open-air markets. Special purchases include African carvings, pottery and copper ware, bead-work and local gemstones. Some of the branded shops will be well known to South Africans such as Shoprite, Spar and Game.

Night-life

Lusaka’s night-life is provided by the main hotels, cinemas, theatres and casinos and nightclubs host dancing, live music and floorshows, particularly at weekends. Livingstone and the Copperbelt also offer a variety of entertainment.

Livingstone has a lively tourist-oriented entertainment scene. At or after dinner, all the larger tourist hotels lay on evening shows for their guests with traditional-style music, drumming, dancing or all three.

Relocation services to Zambia

Whether it is a simple airport pick-up through to schooling, housing or settling-in services, Intergate and its representatives offer a full relocation service which can be tailored to your individual needs or that of your employees. Simply e-mail us here or telephone us + 27 (0) 21 424 2460.