Overland Zambia Travel
Currency to display:
- 1 Visiting Zambia
- 2 Entering Zambia with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Zambia
- 4 Gas price in Zambia and Diesel price in Zambia
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Zambia
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Zambia
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Zambia is a stunning and friendly country, with a lot of wilderness to explore. North and South Luangwa National Parks are highlights on the entire continent.
Entering Zambia with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: May 2018
Travel Visa for Zambia
Virtually all nationalities can get the visa on arrival at any border crossing. It you must pay in USD cash, usually there are guys around to exchange money. Price is $50USD cash per person.
- Passport of registered owner.
- Drivers license of registered owner.
- Original vehicle registration.
- (OPTIONAL) Carnet de Passage
(no copies are required)
Process at border
- Buy a visa and get yourself stamped in at Immigration.
- Pay road fund and carbon tax.
- Go to Customs to get a temporary import for the vehicle. Using the vehicle registration the officer will write out an import form, valid for one month.
- If you have a Carnet de Passage, you don't need the import form.
Cost of entry
- The Temporary Import Permit or the Carnet entry are both free.
- Road fund costs $30.00 USD and makes all toll booths free - just shows the form.
- Carbon tax costs $20.00 USD
Permitted length of stay
The standard temp import permit, carbon tax and road fund is for one month.
Extension of stay
Easy to extend at any government office - make sure you do so before your current permit expires.
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Uncertain, though it seems if you came back before the temp import expired nobody would be the wiser.
Exiting with a vehicle
- Get yourself stamped out at Immigration.
- Get your Carnet de Passage stamped out if you have one, or cancel your temporary import permit at Customs
All should be free, do not pay for this.
Driving in Zambia
Recommended books for Overlanding in Zambia
Travel insurance for Zambia
Vehicle insurance requirements
You must have local Zambian insurance, or COMESA. Likely you will not be permitted to drive into the country without it
Cost of vehicle insurance
- Local Zambian insurance is $27.00 USD for 6 months for a 4x4.
- COMESA can be added to that for an additional $55.00 USD for six months for the 4x4.
Note: You must buy the local insurance and then add the COMESA on top - it's the only way to do it.
See more on the COMESA Insurance page.
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
At the border there will be an office / shack selling the insurance, maybe you have to go into a town to finalize or to get COMESA the next day.
Anything from your home country will be accepted.
Driving side of road
LHD vehicles are allowed temporarily without problem.
Mandatory items in vehicle
You probably need two safety triangles, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher. It's a good idea to have them to avoid bribery.
General Road quality
Roads vary greatly in Zambia. There are many paved highways in excellent condition, especially the major North-South Highway. There are also old broken-up roads with potholes. Gravel roads can be excellent condition, or horrible mud in the rainy season - possibly impassable.
Road signs do exist and usually show the distances to the next few upcoming towns. These are improving quickly.
On the paved roads there are Toll booths that cost $2.00 USD per booth. Show the officer your road tax form from the border and they are all free.
Bribery in Zambia
Bribery is less common, though it does still happen. Remain calm, polite and friendly, and don't pay any money without a receipt or official ticket. Ask to go to the nearest station if you must.
See the bribery tips page for more advice.
There are checkpoints and random stops where Police, Military and Customs will check your paperwork. Don't pay at any of these. Stay friendly and polite. Never use your mobile phone or camera at check points, don't get rude or impatient. There is no reason to pay money.
Traveling with pets
Unknown, though it can and has been done as recently as 2017.
Gas price in Zambia and Diesel price in Zambia
Last updated: May 2018
Currency and unit to display:
|Unleaded||$1.14 USD per Liter|
|Diesel||$0.99 USD per Liter|
|Diesel (low sulphur, 500ppm) - RARE only at large Total stations||$1.18 USD per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Stations are common and always have both diesel and gasoline. Shortages are not common, though you probably want to fill up whenever you are at half a tank to be sure.
Ask around and you will find stations where you can pay with a credit card.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Quality seems OK. Sulphur content it probably high in diesel.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is not recommended due to road hazards. Watch out for cars without lights, animals, people and everything else you can imagine on the roads.
Vehicles can be parked on the streets and usually are safe. At night try to park in compounds or other known safe zones
Special driving considerations
Expect the unexpected at all times. Literally anything is possible from potholes and speed bumps to kids playing on the road and vehicles being re-built right in the traffic lane. Drive defensively at all times.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Zambia - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Zambia
Camping is common in Zambia, with many campgrounds or resorts offering it. There are plenty of dedicated campgrounds that are cheap and beautiful.
Wild camping is possible in remote areas, and should be no problem. People are extremely friendly and welcoming, just ask permission if you are near a village.
Camping guide books
List and link to books specifically for camping.
It's not recommended to drink tap water - filter it or buy bottles.
Reise Know-How are among the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Zambia
GPS Maps of Zambia
- Garmin Open Street Maps has excellent coverage of all roads - highways and cities.
- Tracks4Africa is an SD Card for Garmin GPS, and contain Routable turn-by-turn maps with 809,000 kms of roads and over 129,000 points of interest.
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Zambia
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Special Overland Travel interests
- The road that splits North and South Luangwa National Parks is a great wilderness adventure, with some 4x4 and a tiny ferry to cross.
- Chimfunshi is a Chimp rescue centre where you can carry and play with Chimpanzees, a simply stunning experience.
- North and South Luangwa National Parks are among the best on the continent.
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Zambia
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.