Travel to Zambia
Zambia is an uninhabited region of Southern Africa. Blessed with breathtaking natural wonders, an abundance of wildlife, massive water bodies, and vast areas, Zambia offers an unforgettable holiday experience in real Africa. Being acknowledged as one of the safest countries in the world to visit, Zambia’s welcoming people live in peace and harmony. No one could fight the urge to travel and explore around all the beautiful landscape Zambia has to offer.
Drive yourself all around the country, reaching your destinations to the Victoria Falls and Zambezi river, but first, you should probably know a few things before hopping in the driver’s seat.
The difference between an International driving license and a permit
An IDP is a valid document accepted by 141 countries worldwide. Depending on the country, it allows you to drive for either one year or three years. An International driving permit is a small grey booklet with white pages marginally larger than a passport. It has translations of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. An IDP cannot be used in the same country as its issue.
An International Driving License is not a legal document. Still, it can be of some use when you are traveling. It is a translation document that can be obtained quicker and cheaper in some countries. It is handy in countries that only require a translation of your original license.
Do I need an International Driving Permit?
Zambia has a relatively small public transport network, and most ex-pats can drive a car. The poor road condition is mainly outside the city center, making four-wheel drive the best choice for the journey in Zambia. However, it is possible to use buses and train trains from Zambia to other important cities and towns to avoid driving. But getting a car would be the best idea if you’d prefer a more comfortable journey.
How does IDP work in Zambia?
To get your international driving permit for Zambia, you will need a copy of your identity documents, photo, and email. Simply follow the process on our website.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
International driving permits are issued through institutions authorized by the United Nations. They comply with UN road traffic conventions. There have been three international motor traffic conventions in 1926 (Paris), 1949 (Geneva), and 1968 (Vienna).
Benefits of carrying IDP in Zambia
Functionality as an ID
IDPs are a handy travel document as it doubles as identification documents. This is helpful if you wish to keep your passport under lock and key due to security concerns. An IDP can be used instead of a national ID card, especially if your national ID card is in a language that is not internationally used.
Quicker traffic authority stops.
Traffic police may have trouble deciphering driver information on your license during a traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that policemen can quickly note down your details and send you on your way. This is especially useful during emergencies and motor accidents.
Car rental companies
Companies in foreign countries may be hesitant to hire out vehicles to foreigners without an international driving permit. As an IDP is a legal document recognized by the United Nations, most international and domestic car rental companies recognize it as a valid driving permit.
Driving requirements for non-citizens in Zambia
Foreigners wanting to drive in Zambia need an international driving permit. Foreigners traveling on either a long-term or short-term basis must pass a local driving test.
When should I get a Zambia driver’s license?
The age requirement to obtain a driver’s license in Zambia is 18 or older. The only institute to issue driving licenses in Zambia by law is RTSA. You may want to get a Zambian driving license when you move to Zambia mid-to-long term.
Apply For International Driver’s Permit
You can apply on our website to get an international driver’s permit for Zambia. You can have it within 2 hours (sent digitally to you). After getting a digital copy, you can print out your international driver’s permit.
Apply For A Driver’s License for Zambia
To apply for a driving license in Zambia, the applicant has to contact the local RTSA in their area. Upon visiting, you must fill in the relevant application at the RTSA Office. Once you have understood the guidelines and submitted your application, you will make the payment fees which are K72.00.
Next, a driver’s test will be conducted. After verification of all conditions, you will be asked to pick up your license. And that’s pretty much it; now you have a valid driver’s license!
Driving in Zambia
You must have a license from your home country and a valid international driver’s permit. In most cases, police will check your International Driving Permit at checkpoints in Zambia, so carry it at all times. The police will examine your passport unless you have a permit of entry from abroad to drive Zambian vehicles.
Why should I carry an international driver’s permit?
An International Driving Permit is an online book that can convert your domestic driving license into several languages, allowing you to rent vehicles across the globe. You can hire cars abroad by using an international driving permit.
Roads in Zambia
Zambia covers various and vast natural landscapes, including rural areas with natural habitats. Because of this, road conditions aren’t always so easy to travel.
As you move away from city centers, driving can be tricky as several roads are not in proper condition. Roads paved with dirt require concentration and responsible driving, although slower speeds and alert drivers make for a much smoother and easier journey.
4WD vehicles would be recommended for dirt-paved roads and especially for dirt roads in the rainy seasons. Due to heavy rains, large parts of the road can be taken away. Some more rural roads will become completely impassable and impossible to drive.
While driving, especially at night, be cautious of pedestrians or animals passing through and prepare for the lack of road lighting. It would be recommended to equip your vehicle with strong headlights.
Most important driving rules in Zambia
Roads in Zimbabwe have some dangerous and frightening aspects for people unfamiliar with the law. Traveling in Zambia can be hassle-free if you keep in mind the traffic laws. Drivers know these rules very well and should always obey the guidelines.
Here are essential driving rules:
Security checkpoints are common in Zambia, and police officers are generally very friendly – so be sure to respond similarly. Officers will generally either ask for cross-border papers or your driver’s license/permit. Moreover, as we all know, speed bumps slow traffic in populated areas; however, be careful as these are usually not marked.
Wear your seat belt and don’t speed; basic rules for driving in any country.
If caught speeding, you will have to pay a fine, but be sure to cross-check the amount with the fine stated in the official police fine book, and make sure to ask for a receipt as well since being a tourist will automatically make you vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
However, it can also be highly discouraged to use cell phones while driving, even if it is hands-free, to prevent accidents.
Drunk driving is against the law.
In Zambia, drinking is prohibited while driving. Accidents often occur when driving intoxicated. Zambia is allowing 80 mg for every 100 ml of blood alcohol consumption. It’s a road that needs maintenance, and it needs attention 24/7. Driving drunk can be dangerous to you.
Driving and safety
The most dangerous area by-far in Zambia would most likely be by the borders. You are advised to seriously reconsider your need to travel to these areas as the risk of landmines is very high. Not surprisingly, landmines can make off-road travel highly hazardous in these areas, and most of the time, the mined areas are not marked. Local authorities can provide some advice in affected areas.
Although Zambia is safe, street crime is high in some areas. Theft from parked cars has been reported at restaurants and internet cafes in downtown Lusaka and Livingstone, particularly near transport hubs and some shopping areas. Always keep your bag or valuables secured and close to you, and keep the doors of your car locked.
You should avoid traveling after dark; aside from the personal safety risk, the road conditions in some parts of Zambia aren’t so great, not to mention the drunk drivers you may face, which could cause a bad accident. Avoid walking alone at night as well. While most locals are friendly, many areas are poorly lit, and a local criminal may see you as an easy target.
Transport in Zambia
Zambia has four international airports, five airstrips, and five secondary airfields that serve domestic and international flights. The main airport is Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Once you get off the plane, you’ll need a vehicle to move on the road.
In Zambia, there are no regular bus services. You are advised to use dial-up cabs or chauffeur-driven vehicles. However, if you have a driver’s license, just rent a car and take yourself to your desired destination.
Car rental in Zambia
On average, a rental car in Zambia will cost you $2,544 per month ($85 per day). After verifying the required documents, you can pick a car rental company and book a car, but you must note that you have to be at least 21 years old to rent a car.
You can choose from many car rental options in Zambia and local & international car rental companies. You also have the opportunity to book online before arriving in Zambia. Booking online, however, is more convenient and comfortable for international travelers, but you can also opt to make a walk-in booking upon arrival.
Top 3 destinations to visit in Zambia
Zambia lies in Central South Africa and has vast safari areas, incredible streams, and magnificent falls in its natural setting. Most of Zambia’s territory is designated for national parks. Driving through Zambia allows you to experience a unique, fantastic landscape. Keep your international driver’s permit at home, ready in case an inspection is conducted. The license can only be purchased through Zambia. Now that you have your driving permit, let’s talk about some places you should visit during your stay.
Victoria Falls is one of UNESCO’s most famous destinations for tourism in Zambia. The Kololo tribe named them Mosi Oa-Tunya during the 1700’s — which translates to “the smoke which thunders.” These falls are more than 1400 meters high and drop 108 meters. Its glory is covered by water and is continually covered in fog. You’d get a broader perspective if you visited Victoria Falls in different seasons. Victoria Falls will be active during April / March when floods are scheduled. The width of these falls will cover the mist.
The river runs between Zambia and Zimbabwe and provides electricity to both countries’ borders. The Zambezi River is the primary water source for several animals, including mammals and birds. The species are numerous. There are zoos, elephants, and giraffe habitats in these forests. These Zambezi rivers offer several exciting activities for adrenaline seekers. You could go whitewater kayaking or diving, and you can also do it in various ways. Depending on flood events, diverse activities are free throughout the year.
Lusaka is a city in Zambia. Its population has exceeded 2 million. Lusaka is Zambia’s most significant economic hub, with many flourishing businesses growing. The diverse ethnic and cultural influences make it the nation’s melting pot. The city offers a wealth of historical and cultural resources that can be discovered by visiting the national museums in Zambia. You can also find wildlife refuges specializing in rescuing young animals nearby. Lusaka city has many activities, from the bustling markets for buying handcrafted products to the various eateries for tasting new food products.
Cuisine in Zambia
The cuisine in this region is relatively traditional without the influence of foreign colonists. Some of Zambia’s main foods include peanuts, peppers, and cassava. These products are also locally sourced products grown on Zambia’s soil. Their favorite food is starchy cooked on a stove. In terms of meat, Zambians enjoy cooking chicken. So definitely give their delicious cuisines a try and enjoy your visit!
Frequently asked questions
Can I drive a car with a foreign license in Zambia?
Foreign visitors wishing to drive in Zambia must hold international permits.
What side should you drive in Zambia
On the left side.
How much is a driving license in Zambia?
Zambian driver’s licenses are generally valid for five years.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Zambia?
You cannot drive without an IDP if you have a foreign license.