Zambia Register Travel insurance Destinations

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Latest updates: Safety and security - Removal of information about the June 21, 2019 demonstrations.


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Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

Zambia - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Zambia due to crime.

Areas bordering Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in areas bordering Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique due to the risk of landmines throughout these areas and due to crime in the areas bordering the DRC.

Safety and security

Safety and security

Areas bordering Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique

Despite Zambia being declared a landmine-free country in 2009, there may still be landmines and unexploded ordinance in areas bordering Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique. Avoid driving off the main roads in these areas.

Given the porous nature of the Zambia–DRC border, instability in the DRC has resulted in carjackings and armed assaults on the Zambian side of the border.

Crime

Petty Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs , particularly in and around bus and railway stations, nightclubs, some shopping areas in Lusaka, Copperbelt towns, other main cities and tourist centres. Vehicle break-ins are common as well. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

Violent Crime

Serious crimes such as armed muggings, home invasions and sexual assault occur, particularly after dark. The use of “date rape” drugs at bars and restaurants occurs in Lusaka. Thieves sometimes follow people after they withdraw money from ATMs.

  • Avoid walking alone after dark
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence
  • Avoid using ATMs at night and, if possible, have someone accompany you to watch the area during your transaction
  • Remain alert to your surroundings and maintain a high level of personal security awareness
  • If you suspect you are being followed, go directly to the closest police station or public area

Carjackings are a concern, particularly in urban areas, on the roads to and from Lusaka and on the roads in Copperbelt. Theft often occurs at traffic choke points by thieves reaching through unlocked doors, open windows or unsecured cargo. Keep car doors locked and windows closed at all times.

Police roadblocks are common throughout the country. Police officers can request to see identity documents.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Road safety

Many roads are severely potholed. Traffic accidents occur frequently throughout the country, especially on Lusaka’s Great East Road. Poorly maintained vehicles, dangerous driving habits and stray animals pose risks. Avoid overland travel to rural areas after dark.

As there is no nation-wide emergency service for stranded drivers, you should carry a cellular phone when travelling outside of main cities.

Public transportation

Exercise caution when using public transportation, especially buses, which are often overloaded. Taxi fares are expensive and should be paid in local currency. Do not share taxis with strangers.

Rail service is limited. 

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Shortages

Zambia is experiencing water supply shortages.

As a result, local authorities have implemented a nationwide power rationing program since June 2019. Periodic scheduled and unscheduled power outages are likely to persist over the coming months amid continued drought conditions.

General safety information

Illegal drug trafficking occurs on a limited scale. Do not accept packages from strangers or carry parcels if you are unsure of their contents.

Wild animals can pose risks. Observe all park or nature reserve regulations and instructions given by tour guides. Avoid swimming in lakes and rivers due to the presence of crocodiles.

Tourist facilities are limited outside well-known game parks.

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Zambian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Zambia and should have at least 3 blank pages.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Canadians must also be in possession of a valid visa. Persons overstaying their visa may be subject to heavy fines, arrest, imprisonment or deportation.

Tourist visa: Required

Business visa: Required

Student visa: Required

Zambian entry visas can be obtained online through the Zambian Immigration portal. You can also obtain a single- or double-entry tourist visa on arrival in Zambia, payable in U.S. dollars. For more than two entries, you must obtain a visa from a Zambian high commission or embassy prior to arrival. You must obtain a business visa and an employment visa prior to arrival in Zambia if you intend to engage in volunteer activities.

 

You must obtain an employment visa if you intend to work in Zambia.

 

Check with the Zambia Department of Immigration for more details on Zambian visas and employment.

 

You must carry the original or a certified copy of your passport and immigration permit at all times. Certified copies may be obtained from the office that issued the permit or any local police station.

 

Airport Taxes and Fees

You must pay airport taxes and fees upon departure from Zambia; however, they are usually included in the ticket cost of most international flights. Taxes and fees for domestic flights must be paid at the airport, in cash in local currency.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Measles: outbreak

Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.

You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.

Rabies

Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is low potential for yellow fever exposure in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Cholera

Risk

Cholera is a risk in parts of this country.  Most travellers are at very low risk.

For protection of cholera

All travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Cholera vaccination

Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care professional the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Travellers at higher risk include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring.

 

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Chikungunya

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Zika virus infection

Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.  

Travel recommendations:

All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.   


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza, Ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Public medical services and facilities are substandard. Government hospitals and clinics often lack staff and supplies. Private clinics are adequate, but evacuation may be required for major medical emergencies.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

Laws and culture

Laws & culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Pornography

The possession of pornographic material is illegal in Zambia. Offenders may be jailed and/or deported.

Photography

Photography of military installations is prohibited. Ask permission before photographing individuals.

 

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and/or deportation.

Don’t carry non-prescription medication containing diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl, as this ingredient is on the Zambian list of controlled substances. Travellers have been charged with drug trafficking and have been incarcerated.

Prescription medicine should always be carried in the original container along with a copy of the prescription; ensure that both the generic and trade names of the drug are included. A doctor’s note describing why you are taking the medication is also recommended. Failure to do so could result in arrest and imprisonment.

 

LGBTQ2 travellers

Zambian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face up to life imprisonment.

LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Zambia.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

As of 2016, Zambia legally recognizes dual citizenship. However, this policy has been slow to take effect in practice.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Zambia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Zambian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

Driving

You should carry an international driving permit.

More about the International Driving Permit

Traffic drives on the left.

Vehicles must be equipped with two metallic emergency triangles, and white reflector stickers in front and red reflector stickers in back. Failure to comply may result in heavy fines.

Turning left at a red light is prohibited.

Penalties for drunk driving are severe.

The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited.

Money

The currency is the Zambian kwacha (ZMW). Traveller’s cheques are not accepted in Zambia. You should carry cash in U.S. dollars, U.K. pounds or South African rand. Major credit cards are accepted in larger supermarkets, restaurants, stores and hotels in large urban centres.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

The rainy season extends from December to April. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Rural roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

There is no centralized number to reach emergency services outside of Lusaka. If you are in Lusaka dial:

  • police: 991
  • medical assistance: 991 or 995
  • firefighters: 993

For all other areas, research and carry contact information for local police and medical facilities.

Consular assistance

Lusaka - Office of the High Commission of Canada
Street Address5210 Independance Avenue, Lusaka, ZambiaPostal AddressP.O. Box 31313, Lusaka, ZambiaTelephone260 (211) 25-08-33/39-85-00Emaillsaka@international.gc.caInternetwww.tanzania.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookCanada in ZambiaTwitterCanada in Zambia

For emergency consular assistance, call the Office of the High Commission of Canada in Lusaka and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.


The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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