Zambia is a place of spectacular natural beauty, friendly culture and, of course, the magnificent Victoria Falls. But beyond the sugar plantations, Baobab trees and colourful local villages, there's a little more about the people, food, culture, weather and importantly, what to read to whet your wanderlust before you go...
There are many different ethnic groups in Zambia with the majority being Bantu-speaking with a few small Chinese and Indian populations. The official religion is Christianity, with many different denominations including Roman Catholic, Anglican and a variety of Evangelical.
There is a great choice of food in Zambia, from fresh fruit and vegetables to the freshwater fish from Zambia's great rivers. The traditional staple food is maize, or corn, which is ground into "nshima", a stiff porridge, which can make an appearance at any meal!
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Something very important to remember is that the dress code in Zambia is not the same as the UK, you should be modest in dress, always carrying some light long trousers for the more rural areas and you should avoid tight or strappy tops. This way you not only experience minimum hassle but you do not offend the local people.
Haggling is the norm in Zambia, and is expected by all local people (although in some shops prices will be fixed), so try it out, it's great fun and a way of interacting with the local people.
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Zambia’s rainy season runs from November to April, with a dry season (when it is cooler) from May to October/November. Because of the elevation of much of the country, the temperatures are slightly cooler than tropical, and can be very pleasant.
WHAT TO READ
- Zambia, Mozambique & Malawi - Lonely Planet
- Zambia & Victoria Falls Travel Pack - Globetrotter
- Swahili phrasebook & dictionary - Lonely Planet
Fiction / Autobiography:
- Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight - Alexandra Fuller
- The Ukimwi Road - Dervla Murphy
- Appointment in Zambia - Sara Dunn
- The Africa House - Christina Lamb
- North of South - Shiva Naipaul
- Tick Bite Fever - David Bennun
- Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone - Martin Dugard
Want to go there? Explore it by bike!