Is Zambia a safe country to travel in? The short answer is yes, provided you stick to a number of guidelines such as do not exceed the speed limit, give animals their space, do not drive or walk after dark and keep your valuables out of sight.
Like any bigger city in the world, the cities in Zambia suffer from petty crimes such as pickpocketing and sometimes robbery. The most important advice is to arrive at your campsite or hotel before dark, lock your car when you drive, do not walk around with expensive equipment or a lot of money and hide your valuables out of sight in the car. We also recommend that you keep small amounts of cash in a pocket separate from the rest of your money. It prevents having to show how much money you have on you, so nobody gets tempted.
In Zambia you drive on asphalt, gravel or dirt roads. The gravel and dirt roads are of course of lesser to poor quality, but unfortunately that is also the case with some asphalt roads. Potholes can be found throughout the country and are an major cause of accidents. Especially in the rainy season when you hardly see them.
In addition, Zambia is known for their extreme speedbumps that you will find at the entry and exit of each village. The speedbumps are not very well signposted and if you are not careful you will literally be launched. So adapt your speed to the conditions.
In Zambia you drive on the left side of the road. With the exception of the larger cities such as Lusaka, Livingstone and Mongu, the amount of traffic is very low. Especially if you compare that with Europe. In Zambia you do have to cope with a lot of heavily loaded trucks that drive from the copper mines to South Africa or Mozambique. Don’t rush and be vigilant is the motto here.
Don’t drive or walk in the dark! Even the locals hardly do this. There is no street lighting and you don’t see animals like elephants in the dark with all the consequences. So make sure you’re back at your campsite around sunset and if you really have to drive in the dark, don’t drive faster than 30 km/h.
Speed is regularly checked throughout Zambia. Zambia also has a large number of police, army or other checkpoints at the province- or city limits. It is often enough that you smile kindly and you are immediately waived without further ado. Stick to the rules and speed, it saves a lot of money and misery.
The reason you travel to Zambia is most likely to visit the wildlife. To ensure that the visit to the animals is as safe as possible for you and, just as important, for the animals, it is crucial that you keep sufficient distance and give the animals plenty of room to walk away. If accidents do happen, it is often because the animals feel enclosed or have become frightened by the presence of people and cars. Be aware that you are the visitor in their habitat, take your time and by all means, do not get out of the car in the vicinity of animals.
Like every country in the world, Zambia is also affected by the Corona outbreak. The latest measures in this regard can be found in our blog Corona measures in Botswana and Zambia.