Overland Zambia Travel

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Visiting Zambia[edit]

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[edit]

Correct as of: May 2018

Travel Visa for Zambia[edit]

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.

Required Paperwork[edit]

(no copies are required)

Process at border[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

The standard temp import permit, carbon tax and road fund is for one month.

Extension of stay[edit]

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[edit]

Uncertain, though it seems if you came back before the temp import expired nobody would be the wiser.

Exiting with a vehicle[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Recommended books for Overlanding in Zambia[edit]

Lonely Planet Zambia, Mozambique & Malawi (travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Zambia, Mozambique & Malawi (travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
From $26.99 on Amazon
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
by Dan Grec
From $click on Amazon
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $22.49 on Amazon
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $click on Amazon
The Three Rivers Of Zambia: Footprint Reading Library ...
The Three Rivers Of Zambia: Footprint Reading Library ...
by Rob Waring
From $15.83 on Amazon

Travel insurance for Zambia[edit]

World Nomads offer the most flexible Travel Insurance at the best prices for multi-country / multi-year trips. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home.

Vehicle insurance requirements[edit]

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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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.

Driving license[edit]

Anything from your home country will be accepted.

Driving side of road[edit]

LHD vehicles are allowed temporarily without problem.

Mandatory items in vehicle[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Road signs do exist and usually show the distances to the next few upcoming towns. These are improving quickly.

Toll roads[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Unknown, though it can and has been done as recently as 2017.

Gas price in Zambia and Diesel price in Zambia[edit]

Last updated: May 2018

Currency and unit to display:

Gasoline Grade Price
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[edit]

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[edit]

Quality seems OK. Sulphur content it probably high in diesel.

Safety and Security Considerations[edit]

Driving at night[edit]

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.

Vehicle parking[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Camping in Zambia[edit]

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[edit]

List and link to books specifically for camping.

Drinking water[edit]

It's not recommended to drink tap water - filter it or buy bottles.


Paper maps[edit]

Reise Know-How are among the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Zambia

Zambia Travel Map 2017 (english, Spanish, French, Germ...
Zambia Travel Map 2017 (english, Spanish, French, Germ...
by Reise Know-How Verlag Peter Rump GmbH
From $9.93 on Amazon
History Of Zambia For Kids: A History Series - Childre...
History Of Zambia For Kids: A History Series - Childre...
by Baby Professor
From $9.42 on Amazon
Zambia Travel Map 2017 (english, Spanish, French, Germ...
Zambia Travel Map 2017 (english, Spanish, French, Germ...
by Reise Know-How Verlag Peter Rump GmbH
From $9.93 on Amazon
Lonely Planet Trekking In East Africa
Lonely Planet Trekking In East Africa
by David Else
From $38.82 on Amazon

GPS Maps of Zambia[edit]

  • 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 Map Of Africa
Gps Map Of Africa
From $click on Amazon

GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Zambia[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.

Vehicle Maintenance[edit]


4x4s / Trucks


Local Garages[edit]

Add known good mechanics here.

Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Zambia[edit]

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.

Helpful External links[edit]

Add any helpful external links here.