ZAMBIA - Consular Information Sheet
May 10, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Zambia is a developing southern African
country. Tourist facilities outside of well-known game parks are
not fully developed. The capital is Lusaka.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
A visa should be obtained in advance. American citizens arriving
for tourism or business at Lusaka International Airport or major
land borders, can obtain a one-entry visa for 25 dollars (US)
or a multiple entry visa for 80 dollars (US). Long-term visitors
or persons coming for employment may also obtain a visa at the
border. All Americans who are not residents of Zambia must pay
an airport departure tax of 20 dollars (US).
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: U.S. citizens are advised to avoid
all travel in Zambia's Northern Luapula Province, including the
entire Lake Mweru lakefront, and in directly adjacent areas in
the northern province near the border with the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC) due to instability in the area. In December 2000,
military action near the DRC town of Pweto caused armed combatants
and refugees to flood into northeastern Zambia. Armed gunman occasionally
attack vehicles near the DRC-Zambian border.
U.S. Government personnel are restricted from traveling to the
northeast Zambian border region, and from using the Pedicle Road,
which traverses the southeast portion of DRC between Mufulira
in Copperbelt Province and Mansa in Luapula Province unless they
have received prior permission to travel to those areas.
Large numbers of travelers visit tourist destinations, including
South Luangwa National Park and Victoria Falls, without incident.
However, in 1998, armed gunmen attacked cars traveling on the
Lusaka-Mongu Road in the immediate vicinity of the Kafue National
Park. American citizens are advised defer any unnecessary travel
to the region along the western border with Angola, where conditions
remain unsettled as a result of periodic cross-border military
activity. Armed gunman occasionally attack traffic near the western
border with Angola, and, in the past, bombs have fallen into Zambian
Land mines in the Gwembe Valley near Sinazongwe (along the southwest
end of Lake Kariba on the Livingstone to Siavonga Road) make travel
to that area potentially hazardous. U.S. citizens are advised
not to travel on this road and not to drive off established roads
in this area.
U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations
and maintain security awareness at all times.
CRIME: Crime in Zambia is widespread. Armed carjackings,
muggings and petty theft are commonplace in Lusaka and other major
cities, especially in downtown commercial districts and housing
compounds. Carjackers target four-wheel drive vehicles, but anyone
who does not practice sound security procedures may be targeted.
Thieves steal possessions from automobiles and public transport
vehicles stopped in traffic. Lock car doors and roll up windows
at all times. Travel at night is particularly risky, both in Lusaka
and on roads outside of the city.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. The pamphlets A Safe
Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information
on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on
travel in the region in general. Both are available from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Government hospitals and clinics are
often understaffed and lack supplies. Private medical clinics
in major cities can provide reasonable care in many cases, but
major medical emergencies usually require medical evacuation to
South Africa or the U.S. Basic medical care outside of major cities
is extremely limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate
cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as medical evacuation.
U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred
outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased.
Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment
for medical services outside the United States. However, many
travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that
will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency
services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of 50,000 dollars
(US). Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often
face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased
overseas medical insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs,
found it life-saving. When consulting with your insurer prior
to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for
expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via the
CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Zambia is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Driving on Zambian roads can be hazardous. Since most roads do
not have shoulders or sidewalks, pedestrians and livestock use
the roadways both day and night. While the main roads in Lusaka
are maintained, many secondary roads are in poor repair. Driving
at night can be hazardous and is discouraged. Mini-buses and cars
break down often. When breakdowns occur, local drivers place a
few branches behind the car to indicate trouble, but this is hardly
visible at night. Many drivers use their high beams at night to
detect stopped vehicles and pedestrians.
There are no emergency services for stranded drivers. It is advisable
to have a cell phone when undertaking a trip outside of town,
although many parts of the country do not yet have cell phone
service. During the rainy season (end of October to mid-March),
travelers who do not have a four-wheel drive vehicle will encounter
problems driving on rural roads. The stretch between Lusaka and
Livingstone is more difficult during that time of year, as well
as the Great East Road and roads in the eastern and northern parts
of the country. The road from Lusaka to the Copperbelt cities
of Ndola and Kitwe is generally in good shape year-round. It is
not unusual to see elephants and antelopes on or near the road
while driving to Victoria Falls or in the vicinity of the Kafue
Mini-buses serve as the primary means of inter-city travel in
Zambia. They are often overcrowded and seldom punctual. City traffic
is comprised mostly of cars and mini-buses; motorcycles are rare.
Over 1,000 car accidents, many alcohol-related, were reported
in 2000. No American citizens have been involved in serious car
accidents. Carjackings occur in Lusaka during the daytime. For
security reasons, the Embassy discourages travelers from driving
on rural roads, especially near the borders with DRC and Angola.
American citizens who must drive there are encouraged to drive
in convoy and to carry cellular phones and two-way radios.
Seat belts are mandatory, as are helmets for motorcyclists. A
child's seat is not mandatory. Traffic circulates on the left
side of the road. There is no is no left turn on red, however,
many motorists do turn. The speed limit is 50 km/30 mph in Lusaka
and 100 km/60 mph outside of city limits. However, speed limits
are rarely respected and most cars drive 80 km/50 mph in the city
and 120 km/75 mph outside town. It is not unusual to see four-wheel
drive vehicles, trucks and buses driving at even higher speeds
on the stretch between Lusaka and Livingstone. Drivers under the
influence of alcohol who are involved in accidents are tested
at Lusaka's University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and then taken
to court. The penalty for drivers involved in an accident resulting
in injury is 6,000 Kwacha (approximately 2 US dollars).
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Zambian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax
and mandatory insurance, contact the
Zambia National Tourist Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Road
Safety Commission is responsible for road safety in Zambia, telephone
260-1-25-24-38 or 25-19-77.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority
to operate such service, between the U.S. and Zambia, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Zambia's
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Zambian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Zambia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and heavy fines.
U.S. citizens importing prescription drugs into Zambia without
a physician's prescription may be arrested and incarcerated. Travelers
should carry their prescription drugs and medications in original
labeled containers, as well as the written prescription from their
physician. Persons overstaying their visa or attempting to work
while on a tourist visa risk imprisonment and deportation.
Zambian police do not always provide the U.S. Embassy with timely
notification of the arrest of American citizens. If you are detained,
insist on your right to contact a U.S. Consular Officer.
CURRENCY ISSUES: American Express and Visa cards are accepted
in major supermarkets, restaurants, stores and hotels in Lusaka
and Victoria Falls. American travelers cannot withdraw money from
ATMs unless they have an account with a bank in Zambia. U.S. travelers
checks are easy to cash provided travelers have identification.
There are no currency restrictions in Zambia.
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: Travel to military areas and
photographing military facilities are prohibited. Authorities
may also challenge photography of areas other than tourist attractions.
DANGERS POSED BY WILD ANIMALS: Travelers are advised that,
even in the most serene settings, the animals are wild and can
pose a threat to life and safety. Travelers are cautioned to observe
all local or park regulations and heed all instructions given
by tour guides.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in
or visiting Zambia are encouraged to register with the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka at the corner of Independence
and United Nations Avenues, and to obtain updated information
on travel and security in Zambia. U.S. citizens may contact the
American Embassy during regular work hours, Monday through Thursday
from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30
p.m. The telephone number is (260-1) 250-955. After hours, the
Embassy duty officer can be reached at (260-1) 252-234. The mailing
address is P.O. Box 31617, Lusaka, Zambia. The telephone number
is (260-1) 250-955 or 250-230; the fax number is (260-1) 252-225.