The great hunter-explorer, Frederick Courtenay Selous wrote about his travels up the Zambezi, “As I travel north on the western floodplain of this great vein of water, I feel sure this must be the lifeblood of southern Africa and its most powerful water mass.” Today Zambia is slowly awakening as a tourist attraction centre in the immediate area of the Victoria Falls nearby Livingstone. The country is well known for their huge protected wilderness areas with its diverse range of game in Africa. The Zaire and Zambezi rivers are a source of living for thousands of people. Lake Kariba is worldwide known and fishing paradise. The San originally inhabited this area but were invaded by Bantu tribes from the north. In 1911 the country became a British Colony and in 1972 was declared a one-party state. Zambia’s elevation on a plateau gives it a moderate climate, despite the fact that it lies within tropical latitudes. There are three seasons: warm and wet from December to April, cool and dry from May to August and hot and dry from September to November. Only in the wet season is there noticeable humidity and in the river valleys very hot in the month of October.
Car rental companies are represented at the major airports and in the cities, as are taxis.
Transportation by Air:
There are two international airports–Lusaka and Livingstone. From these airports, you can take chartered links to most areas throughout Southern Africa. Zambia does have a fairly well developed road system. Travel time from Europe to Johannesburg is from 10 to 11 hours.
The local currency is the Zambian Quacha but American Dollar is widely accepted. Visitors can take out any foreign currency they bring into the country.
Credit Cards, Cash and Traveler’s Checks:
International credit cards are accepted by most restaurants, stores, hotels, lodges, camps, car rental firms, etc. However, many small shops in rural areas will not accept them. American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa and MasterCard Traveler’s Checks are widely accepted.
A tip of 10% for good service is adequate. Service charges are frequently added and it is usual to tip tour driver or guide at least 30-50 Rand a day.
The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) are some of the largest in the world. The Victoria Falls are some of the most famous, considered by some to be among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European recorded to view the Victoria Falls – which he did from what is now known as
‘Livingstone Island’ in Zambia, the only land accessible in the middle of the falls. Livingstone wrote of the falls, “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 meters (360 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The falls’ maximum flow rate compares well with that of other major waterfalls.
Flood and dry season flow rates:
The Zambezi basin above the falls experiences a rainy season from late November to early April, and a dry season the rest of the year. The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April. The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 50 km (30 miles) away. At full moon, a “moonbow” can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain.
Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivaled only by South America’s Iguazu Falls.
A famous feature is a naturally formed pool known as the Devil’s Pool, near the edge of the falls, accessed via Livingstone Island in Zambia. When the river flow is at a safe level, usually during the months of September and December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls within the pool without continuing over the edge and falling into the gorge; this is possible due to a natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the falls that stops their progress despite the current.[/toggle]