Area: 752,612 sq. km. (290,585 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Texas.
Cities: Capital–Lusaka (pop. approx. 1.7 million).
Other cities: Kitwe, Ndola, Livingstone, Kabwe.
Terrain: Varies; mostly plateau savanna.
Climate: Generally dry and temperate.
The indigenous hunter-gatherer occupants of Zambia began to be displaced or absorbed by more advanced migrating tribes about 2,000 years ago. The major waves of Bantu-speaking immigrants began in the 15th century, with the greatest influx between the late 17th and early 19th centuries. They came primarily from the Luba and Lunda tribes of southern Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Angola but were joined in the 19th century by Ngoni peoples from the south. By the latter part of that century, the various peoples of Zambia were largely established in the areas they currently occupy.
Except for an occasional Portuguese explorer, the area lay untouched by Europeans for centuries. After the mid-19th century, it was penetrated by Western explorers, missionaries, and traders. David Livingstone, in 1855, was the first European to see the magnificent waterfalls on the Zambezi River. He named the falls after Queen Victoria, and the Zambian town near the falls is named after him.
In 1888, Cecil Rhodes, spearheading British commercial and political interests in Central Africa, obtained a mineral rights concession from local chiefs. In the same year, Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively) were proclaimed a British sphere of influence. Southern Rhodesia was annexed formally and granted self-government in 1923, and the administration of Northern Rhodesia was transferred to the British colonial office in 1924 as a protectorate.
In 1953, both Rhodesias were joined with Nyasaland (now Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Northern Rhodesia was the center of much of the turmoil and crisis that characterized the federation in its last years. At the core of the controversy were insistent African demands for greater participation in government and European fears of losing political control.
A two-stage election held in October and December 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council and an uneasy coalition between the two African nationalist parties. The council passed resolutions calling for Northern Rhodesia’s secession from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution and a new national assembly based on a broader, more democratic franchise. On December 31, 1963, the federation was dissolved, and Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on October 24, 1964.
At independence, despite its considerable mineral wealth, Zambia faced major challenges. Domestically, there were few trained and educated Zambians capable of running the government, and the economy was largely dependent on foreign expertise. Abroad, three of its neighbors–Southern Rhodesia and the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola–remained under white-dominated rule. Rhodesia’s white-ruled government unilaterally declared independence in 1965. In addition, Zambia shared a border with South African-controlled South-West Africa (now Namibia). Zambia’s sympathies lay with forces opposing colonial or white-dominated rule, particularly in Southern Rhodesia. During the next decade, it actively supported movements such as the Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA), the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), and the South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO).
Conflicts with Rhodesia resulted in the closing of Zambia’s borders with that country and severe problems with international transport and power supply. However, the Kariba hydroelectric station on the Zambezi River provided sufficient capacity to satisfy the country’s requirements for electricity. A railroad to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, built with Chinese assistance, reduced Zambian dependence on railroad lines south to South Africa and west through an increasingly troubled Angola.
By the late 1970s, Mozambique and Angola had attained independence from Portugal. Zimbabwe achieved independence in accordance with the 1979 Lancaster House agreement, but Zambia’s problems were not solved. Civil war in the former Portuguese colonies generated refugees and caused continuing transportation problems. The Benguela Railroad, which extended west through Angola, was essentially closed to traffic from Zambia by the late 1970s. Zambia’s strong support for the ANC, which had its external headquarters in Lusaka, created security problems as South Africa raided ANC targets in Zambia.
In the mid-1970s, the price of copper, Zambia’s principal export, suffered a severe decline worldwide. Zambia turned to foreign and international lenders for relief, but as copper prices remained depressed, it became increasingly difficult to service its growing debt.
In response to growing popular demand, and after lengthy, difficult negotiations between the Kaunda government and opposition groups, Zambia enacted a new constitution in 1991 and shortly thereafter became a multi-party democracy. Kaunda’s successor, Frederick Chiluba, made efforts to liberalize the economy and privatize industry, but allegations of massive corruption characterized the latter part of his administration. By the mid-1990s, despite limited debt relief, Zambia’s per capita foreign debt remained among the highest in the world.
Although poverty continues to be a significant problem in Zambia, its economy has stabilized, attaining single-digit inflation in 2006-2007, real GDP growth, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade. Much of its growth is due to foreign investment in Zambia’s mining sector and higher copper prices on the world market. In 2005, Zambia qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, consisting of approximately U.S. $6 billion in debt relief.
Nationality: Noun and adjective–Zambian(s).
Population (mid-2009 est.): Approx. 12.9 million.
Annual population growth rate (2009): 2.9%.
Ethnic groups: More than 70 ethnic groups.
Religions: Christian, indigenous beliefs, Muslim, Hindu.
Languages: English (official), about 70 local languages and dialects, including Bemba, Lozi, Kaonde, Lunda, Luvale, Tonga, and Nyanja.
Education: No compulsory education; 7 years free education. Literacy–women: 60.6%; men: 81.6%.
Health: Infant mortality rate–70/1,000. Life expectancy–38.63 years. HIV prevalence (15-49 years of age)–14.3%.
Work force: Agriculture–75%; mining and manufacturing–6%; services–19%
Zambia’s population comprises more than 70 Bantu-speaking ethnic groups. Some ethnic groups are small, and only two have enough people to constitute at least 10% of the population. Most Zambians are subsistence farmers. The predominant religion is a blend of traditional beliefs and Christianity; Christianity is the official national religion. Expatriates, a majority of whom are British (about 15,000) and South African, live mainly in Lusaka and in the Copperbelt in northern Zambia, where they are employed in mines and related activities. Zambia also has a small but economically important Asian population, most of whom are Indians. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is ravaging Zambia. Approximately 14.3% of Zambians are infected by HIV. Over 800,000 Zambian children have lost one or both of their parents due to HIV/AIDS. Life expectancy at birth is 38.63 years.
About two-thirds of Zambians live in poverty. Per capita annual incomes are well below their levels at independence and, at $1,500, place the country among the world’s poorest nations. Social indicators continue to decline, particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth (about 39 years) and maternal mortality (101 per 1,000 live births). The country’s rate of economic growth cannot support rapid population growth or the strain which HIV/AIDS-related issues (i.e., rising medical costs, decline in worker productivity) place on government resources. Zambia is also one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most highly urbanized countries. Over one-third of the country’s 12.9 million people are concentrated in a few urban zones strung along the major transportation corridors, while rural areas are underpopulated. Unemployment and underemployment are serious problems.
HIV/AIDS is the nation’s greatest challenge, with 14.3% prevalence among the adult population. HIV/AIDS will continue to ravage Zambian economic, political, cultural, and social development for the foreseeable future.
Once a middle-income country, Zambia began to slide into poverty in the 1970s when copper prices declined on world markets. The socialist government made up for falling revenue by increasing borrowing. After democratic multi-party elections, the Chiluba government (1991-2001) came to power in November 1991 committed to an economic reform program. The government was successful in some areas, such as privatization of most of the parastatals, maintenance of positive real interest rates, the elimination of exchange controls, and endorsement of free market principles. Corruption grew dramatically under the Chiluba government. Zambia has yet to address effectively issues such as reducing the size of the public sector and improving Zambia’s social sector delivery systems.
For 30 years, copper production declined steadily from a 1973 high of 700,000 metric tons to a 2000 low of 226,192 metric tons. The decline was the result of poor management of state-owned mines and lack of investment. With the privatization of the mines in April 2000, the downward trend in production and exports was reversed as a result of investments in plant rehabilitation, expansion, increased exploration, and high copper prices on the international market. Copper production rose to 535,000 metric tons in 2007, but slumping copper prices in late 2008 put significant pressure on the mining companies and government revenue. Zambia experienced positive economic growth for the eleventh consecutive year in 2009, with a real growth rate of 4.3% (as projected by the government). The rate of inflation dropped from 30% in 2000 to single-digit inflation of 8.9% by December 2007 due to fiscal and monetary discipline and the growth of the domestic food supply. Year-on-year inflation rose above 14% in 2009, due to rising fuel and food prices.
In April 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) provided Zambia significant debt service relief and debt forgiveness under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Zambia was the 17th country to reach the HIPC completion point and has benefited from approximately U.S. $6 billion in debt relief. In July 2005, the G-8 agreed on a proposal to cancel 100% of outstanding debt of eligible HIPC countries to the IMF, African Development Fund, and IDA. Zambia is among the beneficiaries of this additional multilateral debt relief. Zambia also completed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement with the IMF for the period 2008-2011. The Zambian Government is pursuing an economic diversification program to reduce the economy’s reliance on the copper industry. This initiative seeks to exploit other components of Zambia’s rich resource base by promoting agriculture, tourism, gemstone mining, and hydropower. The government is also seeking to create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and private-sector led growth.
Zambia’s economy has weathered the effects of the global economic crisis and a subsequent fall in world copper prices. High inflation, currency volatility, rising unemployment, and restricted access to capital dampened Zambia’s economic performance in early 2009; however, copper prices have nearly returned to more stable, profit-yielding levels.
Measles transmission has been interrupted in the United States though vaccination, but it is still common in many parts of the world, including Europe. Travelers who have not been vaccinated are at risk of getting the disease and spreading it to their friends and family members who may not be up-to-date with vaccinations. Because of this risk, all travelers should be up-to-date on their vaccinations, regardless of where they are going. Measles is among the most contagious diseases, and even domestic travelers may be exposed on airplanes or in airports.
Talk to your doctor to see if you need a measles vaccination before you travel. People who cannot show that they were vaccinated as children and who have never had measles should probably be vaccinated.
The first dose of measles vaccine is routinely recommended at age 12–15 months in the United States. However, children traveling outside the United States are recommended to get the vaccine starting at age 6 months. If your child is aged 6–11 months and will be traveling internationally, talk to a doctor about getting the measles vaccine.
Before visiting Zambia, you may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination:(Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities.)
To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria, if you need it.
Even if you have less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see a health-care provider for needed vaccines, anti-malaria drugs and other medications and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.
CDC recommends that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. Find a travel medicine clinic near you. If you have a medical condition, you should also share your travel plans with any doctors you are currently seeing for other medical reasons.
If your travel plans will take you to more than one country during a single trip, be sure to let your health-care provider know so that you can receive the appropriate vaccinations and information for all of your destinations. Long-term travelers, such as those who plan to work or study abroad, may also need additional vaccinations as required by their employer or school.
Be sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Check the links below to see which vaccinations adults and children should get.
Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) are given at all stages of life; see the childhood and adolescent immunization schedule and routine adult immunization schedule.
Routine vaccines are recommended even if you do not travel. Although childhood diseases, such as measles, rarely occur in the United States, they are still common in many parts of the world. A traveler who is not vaccinated would be at risk for infection.
Vaccine recommendations are based on the best available risk information. Please note that the level of risk for vaccine-preventable diseases can change at any time.
Vaccination or Disease
Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
|Routine||Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.|
|Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)||Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.|
|Hepatitis B||Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map), especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).|
|Typhoid||Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Central Africa, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.|
|Rabies||Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking. Also recommended for travelers with significant occupational risks (such as veterinarians), for long-term travelers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites.|
Areas of Zambia with Malaria:
. (more information)
If you will be visiting an area of Zambia with malaria, you will need to discuss with your doctor the best ways for you to avoid getting sick with malaria. Ways to prevent malaria include the following:
- Taking a prescription antimalarial drug
- Using insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites
- Sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms or using bednets
All of the following antimalarial drugs are equal options for preventing malaria in Zambia:
Atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine
. For detailed information about each of these drugs, see Table 2-23: Drugs used in the prophylaxis of malaria. For information that can help you and your doctor decide which of these drugs would be best for you, please see Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria.
Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Zambia and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.
To find out more information on malaria throughout the world, you can use the interactive CDC malaria map. You can search or browse countries, cities, and place names for more specific malaria risk information and the recommended prevention medicines for that area.
Malaria Contact for Health-Care Providers
For assistance with the diagnosis or management of suspected cases of malaria, call the CDC Malaria Hotline: 770-488-7788 (M-F, 9 am-5 pm, Eastern time). For emergency consultation after hours, call 770-488-7100 and ask to speak with a CDC Malaria Branch clinician.
A Special Note about Antimalarial Drugs
You should purchase your antimalarial drugs before travel. Drugs purchased overseas may not be manufactured according to United States standards and may not be effective. They also may be dangerous, contain counterfeit medications or contaminants, or be combinations of drugs that are not safe to use.
Halofantrine (marketed as Halfan) is widely used overseas to treat malaria. CDC recommends that you do NOT use halofantrine because of serious heart-related side effects, including deaths. You should avoid using antimalarial drugs that are not recommended unless you have been diagnosed with life-threatening malaria and no other options are immediately.
Airlines to Zambia
Things to do
Livingstone Arts Café
Safpar Rafting Company
Devil’s Poor (Geological formation)
Abseil Zambia (Canyons)
Lady Livingstone Sunset Cruise
Bundu Adventures White Water Rafting
Victoria Falls Steam Train
Sunday Crafts Market
Zambia National Museum
Kabwata Cultural Village
Chaminuka Game Reserve
Revolucion Mexican Bar and Grill
254/18 Zambezi Road, Lusaka ZAM, Zambia
+260 (0) 977 966 035 |
Ibex Hill, Lusaka, Zambia
Suez Street, off Nasser Road | Just next to Smugglers Inn and near MTN office, Lusaka, Zambia
Arcades Area, Lusaka, Zambia
Arcades Area, Lusaka, Zambia
Arcades Area, Lusaka, Zambia
Woodlands Area, Lusaka, Zambia
Acacia Park, Arcades Mall, opposite FNB Bank | Great East Road, Lusaka,Zambia
Seoul Korean Restaurant
Leopards Hill Road | near Cross Roads, Lusaka, Zambia
Private Bag 31, Livingstone, Zambia
Zambezi River, Lusaka, 00000, Zambia
Eight Reedbuck Hotel
8 Reedbuck Road, Kabulonga, Postnet 144, Private Bag E835, Lusaka, Zambia
Mosi-Oa-Tunya Rd, Southern Province, Livingstone, Zambia
Southern Sun Ridgeway Lusaka
746 Church Road, Lusaka, 10101, Zambia
Protea Hotel Livingstone
Plot 2110 Mosi-o-Tunya rd, Livingstone, Zambia
Arcades Shopping and Entertainment complex, Lusaka, Zambia
Mosi Oa Tunya Rd. Livingstone, Zambia
Sichango Rd, PO Box 60614, Livingstone, 00000, Zambia
Taj Pamodzi Hotel
Church Rd, PO Box 35450, Lusaka, 10101, Zambia
Stanley Safari Lodge
Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia
Cresta Golfview Hotel
10247 Great East Rd, PO Box 38929, Lusaka, 10100, Zambia
Islands of Siankaba
Kazangula Rd, Livingstone, 60060, Zambia
InterContinental Hotel Lusaka
Haile Selassie Ave, PO Box 32201, Lusaka, 32201, Zambia
Waterberry Zambezi Lodge
Old Constantia Farm, Nakatindi Rd, Livingstone, Zambia
Protea Hotel Cairo Road
Cairo Road, Lusaka, Zambia
Kuomboka Backpackers Hostel
Plot 9926, Makanta Close, PO Box 33284, Lukasa, Zambia
Toka Leya Lodge
Jollyboys International Backpackers
34 Kanyanta Road, PO Box 61088, Livingstone, Zambia
The River Club
Livingstone, 60469, Zambia
Bwinjimfumu Rd, Lusaka, Zambia
Thorn Tree River Lodge
Inside Mosi OA Park, Livingstone, Zambia
Fawlty Towers International Backpackers lodge
216 Musi-o-tunya Rd, Livingstone, 61170, Zambia