There are a number of different ways to get to and around Zambia. Most tourists arrive by air, but for those coming from or continuing on to other African destinations, options include rail, water and road. Hiring a 4wd or taking a safari is probably the best way of getting around and exploring the beautiful sights on offer.
Zambia is a huge country, so be sure to do some research on what you want to see before heading to Zambia so that you get to see it all!
Our Zambia transportation guide below tells you everything you need to know about getting to, from and around Zambia. Taking a safari or tour in Zambia is an easy way to get around while experiencing the many fascinating highlights across the country. You can also check out our local transportation information in Livingstone, Lusaka, and Kafue National Park.
Lusaka Airport is located 20 km (12 miles) to the east of the city centre is the gateway for international flights, and is well connected to Europe and the rest of Africa. Air France, British Airways, and KLM have regular connections with Lusaka. Air Zimbabwe, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, and Ethiopian Airways are the African carriers servicing Lusaka. There are taxis and hotel courtesy vans, but no airport buses to meet the international flights.
Many tourists fly directly to Livingstone, which is near Victoria Falls. A few international flights also serve Mfuwe, the town closest to the South Luangwa National Park.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Zambia.
The main crossing point from Malawi is to the east of Chipata, on the main road between Lilongwe and Lusaka. The ferry from Kazungula is the only way to cross the Zambezi between Zambia and Botswana. The crossing point is about 60 km (37 miles) to the west of Victoria Falls. There are plans to construct a bridge here.
To reach Zambia from Namibia, you can take a bus from Windhoek to Katima Mulilo, the outpost town of Namibia. Cross the border here, take a ferry across the Zambezi, and then go to Livingstone via Sesheke. Taking a bus from Katima Mulilo is a more convenient option. It goes via Botswana to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Cross the border here and enter Zambia.
By regional standards, Zambian buses are pretty good, although they get quite crowded. They are a good option for single travellers and backpackers. Bus seats are arranged five across, rather than the usual four. Although roads have improved considerably in recent times, bus travel is still long, bumpy and tiring. Private companies run the bus services, which are quite reliable and regular, and the costs are standardised across companies. Minibuses run on shorter routes and are generally faster than regular buses. They are slightly more expensive too.
The most picturesque way to enter Zambia is by road from Zimbabwe, over the Victoria Falls Bridge. The main road from Lusaka to Bulawayo and onwards to Harare goes across the border here. Other border points while approaching from Zimbabwe are Chirundu and Kariba. On this route, you have to cross the huge Kariba Dam.
Livingstone, Lusaka, various national parks, and the copper belt towns of Kitwe and Ndola are served by charter planes and domestic flights. Visitors with limited time find this the best way to get around.
If you are not in a great hurry and are not planning to go too far from the Livingstone-Lusaka-Nakonde strip, taking the train is a good option. A rather slow train goes from Lusaka to Kitwe. According to the timetable, there is a thrice-a-week express train and a daily local train that goes along the Livingstone-Lusaka route, but it is rather inconsistent.
A car, especially a 4WD, is undoubtedly the most convenient way to get around Zambia. You can rent a car from the many rental agencies in Lusaka or the few in Ndola. Ndola is located on the Congo (Zaïre) border north of Lusaka. Lusaka is the meeting point of roads to Chipata in the east, Mongu in the west, Mpulungu to the north on Lake Tanganyika, Nakonde on the Tanzanian border in the northeast, and Livingstone in the south.
Road conditions vary from the smoothly tarred to awfully potholed ones. Dirt roads are usually bad, and sometimes absolutely unusable, more so after the rains. If this is your first driving experience in Africa, this is probably the worst place to start.
Drivers must possess an International Driver's License. Officially, driving is on the left but be prepared for anything. It is safest not to drive aggressively.
An organised safari is another way of getting around Zambia. Safaris use air, road transport and boats to make travel trouble-free. These are perfect for first time visitors to Africa and for those who do not have much time. Travel agents in Lusaka can organise such trips. There are many Zambia specialists in North America and Europe, mainly Britain, who can put together these tailor-made packages. Safaris can also be arranged after reaching Zambia.