Zambia is one of the safest, friendliest, and easiest countries to navigate in Africa. I highly recommend coming here if you want to visit the continent. It is safer than South Africa, prettier than Kenya, and easier to navigate than all of Francophone Africa (for English speakers at least).
Lusaka (Spend 1-2 days here, we spent 2)
Lusaka is not like most African capitals. Many African cities, especially capitals, are sprawling metropolises that are chock full of gas, run-down buildings, and people. Lusaka was different though, with a healthy 1.5-2 million people, a handful of high-rises, and some traffic, but mostly mild. It’s a great place to live as an expat, but not a ton of stuff to see for a tourist. Use your time here to relax, shop around, and prepare for your trip to a national park and Livingstone.
South Luangwa (3 days here, I spent 0)
This is probably the best national park in Zambia, and one of the best in Africa from what I understand. Great wildlife, accommodations, and easy enough to get to but difficult enough to make it an experience. The length of time you should stay is dependent on how dedicated you are to see a safari. I honestly get bored of safaris after a while, and so this excursion would have been a bit much for me, but for many people, it is well worth it.
Lower Zambezi (If you don’t have time for South Luangwa, spend 2 days here)
For my cousin and I, we decided to come here because it was driving distance and only three hours away. This ended up being horribly wrong as it actually took us 5-6 hours to get to our lodge, and since it was the end of the rainy season it was hard to see animals. That is the case with anywhere, and while you can indeed see more animals in the dry season, the landscape is significantly prettier when there is rain.
The lodge’s here are expensive, but really nice, and worth it, just make sure you get there early. Also, don’t be afraid to book upon arrival because these lodges pay taxes on beds regardless of if people stay there or not, and so if they have space, you may get a deal. Just make sure they aren’t booked ahead of time, as that can be a problem since there is a limited number of resorts.
Livingstone (Spend 2 days here, I spent 2 days here and it was fine)
A colonial town that serves as the Zambian base for Victoria Falls, Livingstone is a pretty town that is much smaller than I would have thought. There are some cheesy shops and things like that, but the main thing to do is go to the Royal Livingstone. It’s incredibly expensive to stay in, but the drinks are not so bad. It has a beautiful view of the sunset over the river, and you can see the water bouncing off the rocks from the waterfall.
I’d recommend a few hours to see the falls and walk around. During the wet season, you get less wet here than the Zimbabwe side.
Country Level of Difficulty – 3/10