If jumping off bridges, getting up close and personal with wildlife, and extreme river rafting are your preferred vacation activities, then Zambia is right up your alley. Victoria Falls, the …
Friendly people, cheap prices, political stability and diverse array of activities – particularly safaris and adventure sports – make Zambia an obligatory stop on any southern Africa overland experience. Though it can be a pain to get to and get around in, Zambia is the premier place on the continent to experience truly wild and elemental Africa at its finest.
Markets, waterfalls, game drives, white water rafting, and rock climbing — to name just a few — can be enjoyed amid striking scenery and free-roaming wildlife. Imagine bungee jumping with the stunning Victoria Falls as a backdrop, or drifting down the legendary Zambezi River as elephants frolic on the banks.
Victoria Falls, which shares a border with Zimbabwe, is obviously high on most travelers’ lists of “must-see” attractions in Zambia, as it’s arguably the most impressive waterfall in the world (and certainly one of the wonders of Africa). Known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) in the local language, the falls and the adjacent town of Livingstone can be experienced in a day or two.
South Luangwa National Park ranks a close second in terms of Zambian attractions, especially if you want to see wildlife in as uncrowded and vast a wilderness as any on Earth. Situated on the Luangwa River, one of three major waterways that transect the country, South Luangwa positively teems with elephants, giraffes, buffaloes and hippos. Other must-see parks include Lower Zambezi National Park (which offers a low-cost option for self-drive safaris), Kasanka National Park, and Liuwa Plain National Park.
Though Zambia is primarily defined by its unparalleled wilderness areas and natural attractions, many visitors (particularly business travelers) may find themselves in the capital, Lusaka. This dusty city of 1.7 million has a cosmopolitan energy that comes from its status as one of the fastest-developing cities in the region. It is home to a decent range of business-class and luxury hotels, as well as quality restaurants, bustling markets and the odd museum and gallery.
SAFETY: Zambia is generally safe, but travelers should take the usual precautions one would in most African countries. Everyone should avoid walking at night, and women should avoid walking alone or going to bars alone if possible. Travelers should also avoid driving on roads at night, as carjackings and police stops are possible.