Safety and security
Avoid any political rallies, demonstrations or large gatherings. There are occasional student demonstrations at the University of Zambia on the Great East Road (which is the main road to the airport). Keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
Although the threat from terrorism in Zambia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
There is a risk of landmines near Zambia’s borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, and on the Angolan side of the Zambia-Angola border. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact or tour operator before travelling to affected regions.
Pick pocketing and general theft is common particularly at some restaurants and internet cafes near the bus and train stations in Lusaka and Livingstone. Always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
- Only use reputable banks or bureaux de change to exchange money or use ATMs as counterfeit notes are in circulation
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible. Avoid walking after dark particularly in downtown areas
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations
- Be aware a high proportion of the civil population is armed
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Zambia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Lusaka if you need help.
We advise all Irish citizens resident in Zambia to continue to take the usual precautions at their homes, in vehicles and when walking in public. Please remain vigilant and contact the Police or the Embassy if you have any concerns.
There have been reports of tourists being detained for possession of prescription medication, without the doctor prescription. If you require medication and will travel with sufficient supply for your stay, be sure to retain and carry the appropriate documentation.
Road accidents are the major cause of fatalities in Zambia. Driving in urban areas during the day is relatively safe, but driving at night outside of main towns should be avoided where possible. Hazards include poor-standard of driving generally, poorly maintained vehicles, poor road conditions, pedestrians walking on the road without reflective clothing, stray animals and tired, distracted or drunk drivers.
Extra care is advised during the rainy season (November to April) as roads and bridges can be washed away.
Caution should be exercised if considering the use of public transport, the safety standards of the vehicle and driving may be lead to unnecessary risk, especially on long journeys. Public transport in urban areas can be severely overcrowded.
If you are driving, be vigilant, keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed, and be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are driving after dark.
Security risks increase when it is dark, especially in city centres. Keep valuables and originals of important documents in safe places.
If you wish to exchange money, use reputable banks, bureaux de change or ATMs.
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- There are occasional incidents of armed robberies and vehicle hijackings. Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you're stopped at traffic lights
- Do not leave valuables visible when parking your car
- It is an offence to use a mobile phone while driving
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Minibuses in urban areas are usually severely overcrowded and badly driven.
Wild animals including poisonous snakes are a constant threat to travellers and residents in Zambia. Always follow local regulations and follow your safari rangers’ instructions.
There are many adventure sport operators in Victoria Falls and serious accidents and deaths occasionally occur. Check that your travel insurance will cover you in the event of death or injury to yourself or a third party.
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 10:07:19 GMT