What do you need to know before visiting Zambia and Zimbabwe?

I wrote about my volunteering experience in Zambia in my previous article here and about my holiday in Zimbabwe here. However, I haven’t told you useful information that you should know before you decide to travel. I did lots of research about the countries and things to do before my holiday there. Let me put some information for you about Zambia and Zimbabwe together.

Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe

 

Basic information about Zambia

Zambia is located in Southern Africa, bordering Zimbabwe. Actually, the borders are so close to each other that you can walk along the bridge to get from one country to another. The main river is the Zambezi River that falls about 100 meters creating the famous Victoria Falls.

Capital city– Lusaka

Religion– Christianity

Currency– Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) The best is to take USD with you and then change it there. However, many companies and hotels are accepting USD too.

Time Zone– UTC+2

Driving side– left

Official language– English

Visa– Some nationalities are exempt from tourist visas, some can buy upon arrival and some have to request before departure. Please check it here, where you can also apply online. There is also a KAZA visa which is for both Zambia and Zimbabwe for 30 days. The fee is $50

Vaccinations– The routine vaccinations took during our childhood are recommended (Tetanus, Hepatitis A, and B). Also, Typhoid especially if you are going to spend time in villages and rural areas. Yellow fever-only if you are coming from countries with a high risk of YF. Rabies-it is advised to take if you are going to work with animals. Malaria- you need to take strong repellents, mosquito nets are in every hotel or lodge. Tablets against malaria are optional. We only had repellents and it was enough.

Climate– Is mostly humid subtropical. There are two seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season is from November till April. The dry season is from May till October/November. May-August are cooler while September-November is hot.

 

Basic information about Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is located in Southeast Africa. The famous Victoria Falls are both on the Zambian and Zimbabwe sides.

Capital city– Harare

Religion– Mostly Christianity

Currency– Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD) Again, you can bring USD, they are accepted almost everywhere or you can exchange them there

Time zone– UTC+2

Driving side– left

Official language– There are 16 official languages, including English

Visa– Again, depends on nationality in case you don’t have the KAZA visa

Vaccination– apply the same as for Zambia

Climate– Subtropical, the same as in Zambia

 

When is the best time to go

As the weather in these countries is mostly warm, you can go anytime. However, to choose the best time to suits you depends on what would you like to do there. For example, rainy season from November till April, the water in the Zambezi river increases, and Victoria falls is very strong. Therefore, if your main goal is to see the falls, you may consider the middle or end of the rainy season. Be prepared with a raincoat and waterproof camera as you may get wet from the falls in some areas.

Sunset Zambezi River, Zambia

When it comes to safari, you can visit almost anytime, however, October and November are not recommended, as it is very hot and animals are hiding in the bush. We were there in October and saw very few animals. During the heavy rainy season, some hotels and lodges may be closed. However, it is the best time for newborn animals to see. The most recommended time is from May till September. There are parks in Zambia and Zimbabwe, but you can also go on a safari to Botswana, which is supposed to be the best one.

In case you would like to visit the Livingstone Island and Devil’s pool, you need to know that this is possible only during the dry season when the water is at the lowest. Otherwise, it would not be safe. Usually, the pool is open from late August till the beginning of January. The pool is located on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.

In case you would like to go to Devil’s pool and also see the Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side, which is better, you don’t have to worry. Even during the dry season, the falls are very strong. We were there in October and it was amazing power and still, we got some splash of water. Of course, part of it is completely dry. Still, this has its own magic too.

 

Conclusion

Whether it is the dry or the rainy season, Zambia and Zimbabwe together with Victoria falls have their magic. There is so much to see and do, which I already wrote about. I have to say I felt very safe in Livingstone town, Mosi oa-Tunya park and villages around where I spent my time. People are very nice and friendly. Don’t forget that all the areas are natural parks and home to wild animals. You can see them around. Therefore, don’t walk at night or on empty long roads and you will be safe. Enjoy your holiday.

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