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About Zambia

Zambia is a a landlocked country in Southern Africa that's roughly the size of Texas or France. Zambia is, bordered by Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south, with a narrow strip of Namibia known as the Caprivi Strip to the southwest, Angola to the west, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the northwest.

Zambia offers travellers some of the world's best safari opportunities, a glimpse into "real Africa," and Victoria Falls, one of the World's Seven Natural Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of Zambia remains desperately poor, with GDP per capita of the order of USD600/year, and the bulk of Zambia's population lives on subsistence agriculture. The economy continues to revolve around copper, but after decades of mismanagement the industry is now doing better thanks to higher commodity prices and investments made after privatization.

Festivals

A highlight of any trip to Zambia is a visit to any of the many traditional festivals held throughout the country. Planning ahead can be tough though, as schedules are variable and not all are held yearly. Also, if you do manage to attend, bring along tolerance for heat, dust and crowds (increasingly drunk as the evening wears on) and patience for endless speeches by local functionaries like the Assistent Vice-Secretary for Fertilizer Co-operatives in Rutungu Sub-Province. On the plus side, any foreigners attending can usually sneak into the VIP stands, although you may get hassled for photo permits.

The Kazanga ceremony is considered Zambia's oldest traditional ceremony having been celebrated by the Nkoya people for over 500 years. The ceremony celebrates and maintains Nkoya traditions of music, dance and many other ancient practices.

Likumbi Lya Mize (August)  is a popular August festival(The Day of Mize). This ceremony takes place at Mize, the official palace of Senior Chief Ndungu, about seven kilometres west of Zambezi Boma.

People of the Luvale tribe gather to celebrate their cultural heritage , bringing displays of all types of handicrafts and spicing the event with traditional singing and dancing while the chief holds court. Mize is the official palace of Senior Chief Ndungu. The Makishi dancers recreate famous events from Luvale mythology, and local artists display their work.

The most famous of Zambia's festivals, this is the ceremonial migration of the Lozi king (litunga) from his dry season abode at Lealui to his wet season palace at Limulunga. Wearing an elaborate Victorian ambassador's costume, the litunga is taken by a flotilla of barges down the river, with musical accompaniment and, of course, much feasting at the destination.

Cuisine

Traditional Zambian food revolves around one staple, maize, served in one form, nsima (n'SHEE-ma). Nsima is basically a type of thick porridge, rolled into balls with your right hand and dipped into a variety of stews known as relishes (ndiwo, umunani).

Those who can afford them eat relishes of beef, chicken or fish, but the many who can't make do with beans, tiny dried fish (kapenta), peanuts, pumpkin leaves (chibwabwa) and other vegetables such as okra (ndelele), cabbage and rape. At breakfast, nsima can be served watered down into a soup, maybe with a little sugar. Local restaurants will serve nsima and relish for less than 5000K ($1).

Western food has also made major inroads, particularly in major cities, and in Lusaka or Livingstone you can find almost any food you like. Fast food — including burgers, pizza, and fried chicken — is very popular in Zambia. Bakeries making cheap fresh bread are a common sight in towns, and rice from Chama provides an alternative staple if all the maize starts to get to you.

Tourist Information

By Plane: Zambia's main international gateway is Lusaka, gone are the days when getting to Zambia meant flying via Johannesburg, Lusaka is fast becoming something of a regional hub. KLM now fly direct from Amsterdam and Emirates are offering low cost connections via it's middle east base alongside the existing British Airways service and a much expanded Ethiopian network.

By Train: TAZARA trains run between Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. According to the schedule the trip takes 38 hours, but these trains break down regularly. If you are on a tight schedule, a train might not be your best option. On the other hand, a train ride between Dar es Salaam and Zambia is a beautiful way to see the countryside at a reasonable price (about $55 for a first class sleeper and $40 for second).

By Boat: Zambia is landlocked but borders on Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika, and there are regular international ferry services across the lake a few times a week. The ship, M/S Liemba was built in Germany in 1914, cut in pieces, shiped to Tanzania, carried by train to Kigoma (Tanzania)and reassembled there again. It is a ship of Titanic era, sunk twice, charming ship with reasonable services.

By Bus: International bus routes exist. You can take a bus across the border into Malawi, Zimbabwe, or Tanzania. Immigration might be painstaking, considering the large number of people requiring simultaneous processing .There is also a bus route into South Africa through Zimbabwe. Most cross border traders opt for this mode of transport as it is considered cheaper than flying. However it will take one more than one day non-stop driving to reach South Africa.

 


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Today's Rates: 1 ZMK = 0.00016 $ 1 ZMK = 0.00010 £ 1 ZMK = 0.00013 €
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