Zambia, or officially the Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Zambia is bordered by Democratic Republic of Congo in the north, Tanzania in the northeast, Malawi in the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia in the east and Angola in the west. The country, formerly known as Northern Rhodesia in the colonial times, is covered mostly in high plateau with hills and mountains which make for a unique and carried terrain. In the north, Zambia has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The total area of Zambia is 290,586 square miles or 752,614 square kilometres which makes it three times the size of the United Kingdom and roughly the size of Texas in the United States of America. It is also the 39 largest country in the world. It’s population is 17,319,504 and the population density is 23 people per square kilometer/60 people per square mile which makes the 66th most populated country in the world. Their official language is English with many ethnic languages also spoken.
More than 40% of the Zambian population live in urban areas especially the capital city of Lusaka in the south which has 2,179,000 people in an area of 139 square miles/ 360 square kilometres. Most others live around the Copper belt Province in the Northwest. It has a population of 1,972,317 with a population density of 63 people per square kilometer. The Copper belt was the backbone of the Northern Rhodesian economy in colonial times and was also believed to shoulder the economy of the newly independent Zambian nation. However, these hopes were dashed by drop in the international copper prices. The copperbelt, which runs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a mountain chain which is 500 million years old and was created when the Kalahari craton collided with the Congo craton in the creation of the Gondwana supercontinent. This collision caused many minerals to be pushed up hence the copperbelt.
The name “Zambia” was derived from the river Zambezi which is one of Zambia’s main rivers. The climate is mainly tropical and the rainy season runs from October to April and the dry season from May to September. Zambia has been named one of Africa’s fastest growing economy and the capital city Lusaka is the fastest growing city and quickest urbanizing in southern Africa. The economy is mainly driven by copper and cobalt mining and processing which had dwindled in the 70s but got back on track when prices aired again in 2004. Copper was discovered by Frederick Russell Burnham who was an American scout for Cecil Rhodes. Beside copper, Zambia also exports electricity and agricultural output like tobacco, flowers, and cotton to China, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, South Korea and India amounting to more than 6.3 billion dollars a year. Agriculture is very pivotal to Zambia as it employs 85% of the workforce. The main cash crop grown is maize and it also doubles as a staple for the Zambian people. They also grow soybean, sugar, sunflower, sorghum, wheat, vegetables and fruits and rear cattle. Zambia imports from South Africa, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, China and India.
Zambia’s landscape is one of the most captivating and it brings in a lot of tourists from all over the world. Zambia is home to the largest waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls. Victoria falls, also known as “the smoke that thunders”, is formed by rapids of the River Zambezi from Zimbabwe. River Zambezi is the fourth largest river in Africa after the River Nile, River Congo and River Niger and it runs through 6 countries; Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Mozambique. The sprays of the falls make the Victoria Falls rainforest the only place on earth that receives rainfall 24 hours a day all year round. The falls also create beauty when the moonlight shines off them to create a rainbow called a “moonbow”. The falls is even listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Zambia is also the home of the largest manmade lake in the world. Lake Karina is the largest lake by volume, holding 43 cubic miles of water. It is 223 kilometres/ 140 miles long and 40 kilometres/ 20 miles wide. It has a bunch of islands on it and a rich ecosystem due to the vegetation that was burnt in preparation to filling out the lake. Zambia also has the world’s biggest mushroom which grows up to a mile in diameter.
Zambia has more than 70 ethnic groups within its borders which is very significant. However, most of the tribes stem from one of two major ethnic family’s i.e. the Khoisan who were the first inhabitants of the land and Bantu who migrated from West Africa. Consequently, the Khoisan were then absorbed or annihilated by the Bantu. Some of the major tribes in Zambia include the Bemba who are the largest ethnic group with up to 21% of the population with roots in this tribe. They are claimed to have come from the Congo Basin and entered the country through a semi mythical land called “Kola”. They were previously hunter gatherers but with the introduction of copper mine, went on to gain profusely from the industry.
The second d largest ethnic group, with 14% of Zambians, is the Tonga. The Tonga were indigenous to the country and trace their roots all the way back to 900 years living in the Zambezi valley where they still living today. The Zambezi valley was a trade hub in the medieval times and the Tonga maintained trade routes that stretched to East Africa and all the way to the Arabian Peninsula, India and China. Other tribes are the Lozi whose name “Barotse” means people of the plains and lived in the plains of Barotseland, the Ngoni who are descendants of the Ngoni and Zulu from South Africa who migrated north to escape the Shaka Zulu onslaught, the Chewa who revere their women and mark themselves with tribal tattoos, Nsaga, Tumbuka, Lala, Kaonde among others. In the 16th Century, the first contact of foreigners was recorded as Portuguese and Arabs started trading with Zambians inland. In the 18th Century, Cecil Rhodes made Northern Rhodesia a British protectorate before they gained independence on 24th October 1964 with Kenneth Kaunda as first president. This independence came four years after British Prime minister, Harold MacMillan’s famous “Winds of change” speech.
WHERE TO STAY IN ZAMBIA.
The Flintstones Backpackers:
Flintstones Backpackers, formerly known as Kuomboka Backpackers is a secure modern guest house in the capital Lusaka in Zambia. They provide private rooms and three dormitories with comfortable bedding. They also provide free travel advice, laundry services, fully stocked bar, pool and a restaurant, car park and free Wi-Fi. Self-catering facilities are also available to guests. The guest house is also strategically located near landmarks like museums and restaurants and night clubs which make for a fine day out for the guests.
The LePinto Guest House:
LePinto Guest House is a small and elegant guest house situated in a tranquil area in the center of Livingstone, Zambia. The guest house offers a comfortable stay to the guests and is just a five minutes’ walk from the town center and the National Museum, and 10 minutes’ walk from the mighty Victoria Falls. Comfortable guest rooms are provided and in each a modern air-conditioning unit, flat-screen TVs with DStv, bar fridges, and tea and coffee-making facilities. The rooms are spacious and are furnished to provide a relaxing atmosphere. Free Wi-Fi Internet access ensures that you do not miss anything that matters to you. The guest house is secure behind an access-control gate.
The Prana Tented Camp:
Prana Tented Camp can be found only 15 minutes away from the immense Victoria Falls and Livingstone. However, it is further away from the town so as to provide a relaxing environment. They have beautiful water gardens, immense bird life, 50 types of indigenous trees and a swimming pool. They provide safari tents carefully positioned to ensure privacy and a very real experience of the African wildlife. Some tents can be positioned closer together in case guests prefer family settings. They offer double, twin and family tents with mosquito nets, fans and solar heated showers. Every tent is tastefully decorated for guaranteed comfort throughout the stay while still enjoying a camping experience. A trivial covered enclosure outside to each tent makes available an area to be seated and relish the wonderful bird life, watch the beautiful sunsets and look in wonder at the incredible night sky. They provide breakfast and cereals, homemade muffins and bread, coffee and tea all round security and daily cleaning staff are available.
The Flatdogs camp:
Flatdogs Camp is an affordable privately owned safari camp overlooking the Luangwa River in the South Luangwa National Park. Accommodation is provided in chalets, African safari tents and the exclusive Tree house. They have a restaurant with local and foreign cuisines, swimming pool and children’s menu in the restaurant, babysitting and listening services, open game viewing vehicles, walking safaris, and night drives.
The Camp Nkwanzi:
Camp Nkwanzi also known as called “Mopanie Lodge” sits on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, a 20-minute drive from Livingstone. Camp Nkwanzi offers luxury Tented Chalets, Campsites and Overlander Campsites. The Luxury Tented Chalets are beautifully furnished and fitted with all the necessary amenities to guarantee comfortable relaxation. Every chalet can accommodate two adults, two children under the age of 12 years. The chalets offer twin beds and bathrooms with showers, a self-catering kitchen, and two of the chalets are conducive for Persons with Disabilities. They also provide large barbecues in all the campsites with running water, hot water. Also a restaurant, a bar, a bakery, a convenient store and a swimming pool are all available. Guests can also enjoy many activities like helicopter flights, fishing drives, game viewing, makoro boat trips on Zambezi River; elephant rides plus lion encounters, day trips to Victoria Falls and swimming in the spectacular devil’s pool
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ZAMBIA.
The Victoria Falls:
Zambia is a country of many natural wonders and one of them is the Victoria Fall. The falls are the largest on the planet and have even been named as one of the natural wonders of the world on top if UNESCO listing them as a World Heritage Site. They are formed by rapids of the Zambezi River as it flows on its way to the Indian Ocean. The Victoria falls were nicknamed “the smoke that thunders” by Zambia locals because of its magnitude and strength that makes sound like thunder and it’s spray which looks like smoke. It is so strong that the most water to ever hit the ground was 700,000 cubic meters. It one and a half times wider than the Niagara Falls and twice the height. Visit the Victoria Falls and feel as overwhelmed as the renowned explorer David Livingstone when he was canoed to its edge and remarked that though he had never seen such a sight in Europe, he was sure the angels viewed it as they flew in heaven. The powerful falls cut into the rock by massive erosion over the years and this has caused it to widen continuously. It also supports a completed ecosystem from the Victoria Falls rainforest which is sustained by its spray and constant supply of water. The forest has animals like crocodiles, elephants, antelope, black rhinos, hippos, leopards, and some unique species of birds.
The Lake Kariba:
Lake Karina is the biggest manmade lake in the world and carries around 180 billion tons of water. The lake was formed in an effort to build the Kariba dam. The Karina dam was designed by renowned French designer and inventor, Andre Coyne and its construction began in September 1956. The dam was built to offer electricity solutions to Zambia and Zimbabwe and some of their neighbors. The local inhabitants of the area, the Tonga people, had to be relocated and to ensure that they could sustain themselves, they were taught better ways of farming through model farms, given better quality seeds, even land. However some reports claim that the rehabilitation of the Tonga is still the poorest ever since the Tonga have never improved their standard of living ever since being moved. The Karina dam is also the biggest manmade dam and stands at 128 meters with a crest of 617 meters. It is managed by both Zambia on the northern side and Zimbabwe on the southern side. It is also an intriguing fact that the filling of the dam caused more than 20 earthquakes with a magnitude of higher than five on the Richter scale.
The South Luangwa National Park:
You can also visit the South Luangwa National Park which is famed to have one of the greatest concentration of wildlife in the world. The park is set on the River Luanga and its nearby lagoons which creates a unique ecosystem that supports more than 60 species of animals and 400 species of birds. It is bordered by the river on one side and a steep escarpment on the other. The South Luangwa National Park is also the place where the walking safaris originated. The park was set up by British conservationist, Norman Carr who is believed to have been ahead of his time in that he convinced tourists to stop shooting the animals with guns but rather shoot with cameras. He convinced the Paramount Chief to give away some tribal land which was used as a viewing ground for the animals and in this way, the walking safaris were born. The park is home to many animals including the thornicraft giraffe, the Cape buffalo, elephants among many others. The concentration of the Luangwa River and its lagoons are thought to be some of the most intense.
The North Luangwa National level Park:
The North Luangwa National Park is also considered one of the most exhilarating on the planet. It covers an area of 4636 square kilometres and like the South Luangwa National Park, is bordered by the Luangwa River on one side and the Muçhinga escarpment to the other. It was established in 1938 as a game reserve and was converted into a park in the 70s. It has a wide variety of undisturbed wildlife including the Cookson Wildebeest, Croshay’s Zebra, elephants, crocodiles, antelope and hundreds of species of birds. Though the North Luangwa National Park is less popular than the southern counterpart, it has similar wildlife. It was largely not open to the public and only approved access allowed. Even now access is only with guided safaris. However this makes for a tranquil environment as you view the undoctored wildlife and their ways and you will most likely not meet another person while you are there.
The Kafue National Park:
Kafue National Park is in the center of western Zambia. It is the oldest and largest national park in Zambia. It is also one of the largest in Africa. It covers a total area of 22,400 kilometres squared or 8000 miles squared. It is so expansive that it has vast tracts of wilderness that are untouched and unexplored. It has more species of ungulates than any other national park in Africa. It has a number of the blue and yellow backed duckier, antelopes, sable and hartebeests among many others. It was established by the renowned conservationist, Norman Carr in 1955 as a game reserve and soon was turned into a game park. In the recent years, Kafue National Park has experienced a surge of tourism due to the increasing lodgings being set up around it which has increased its popularity.