From Andrew Harper

For decades after its independence, Zambia remained a poor and underdeveloped country, one that tended to be compared unfavorably with its prosperous and well-organized southern neighbor, Zimbabwe. Nowadays, however, Zimbabwe is in turmoil and Zambia finds itself unexpectedly in the limelight. Although the country’s infrastructure remains patchy and the majority of its inhabitants are still impoverished, it possesses superb national parks and some of the finest game-viewing in Africa. In particular, the South Luangwa National Park is magnificent. The Luangwa River is a major tributary of the Zambezi, and its muddy waters are home to tens of thousands of hippo. Every evening, huge herds of elephant saunter out of the bush to drink and to wallow. Lion are abundant, and leopard are frequently observed, especially on night drives with the aid of a spotlight.

WHEN TO GO: During the rainy season from November to March, the Luangwa is frequently in flood and the roads impassable. April to June is the so-called “emerald season,” when the bush is thick and the animals consequently harder to see. The best time for a safari is July to September, as by October, it is becoming unpleasantly hot, with temperatures over 100 degrees.

CURRENCY: Kwacha (ZMK). Fluctuating rate valued at ZMK5,800 = US$1.00 as of February 2014. Note: All of our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.

U.S. EMBASSY: Lusaka, Tel. 211-357-000.

DIRECT DIAL CODES: To phone hotels in Zambia, dial 011 (international access) + 260 (Zambia code) + city code and local numbers in listings.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Passport (valid for six months beyond end of stay and containing at least two blank pages) and visa. Visit, and for travelers’ health information,


All recommended hotels in Zambia

On Safari, Zambia
Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp
Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp

Intimate and elegant camp set on a hillside in a remote part of South Luangwa National Park, an area renowned for leopard, large elephant herds and prolific birdlife.

Shumba Camp
Shumba Camp

Luxurious camp with six lavish canvas-walled suites in the remote Kafue National Park, a two-hour flight from the capital of Lusaka or the town of Livingstone adjacent to Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls, Zambia
Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma
Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma

Twelve thatched tree houses overlooking a majestic 90-degree bend in the Zambezi, eight miles upstream from Victoria Falls in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

Royal Livingstone
The Royal Livingstone Hotel

Resort lodge with 173 well-appointed guest quarters set along the forested banks of the Zambezi River, within sight of Victoria Falls.