Facts & figures
Full name: Republic of Zambia
Population: 13.8 million (UN, 2012)
Area: 752,614 sq km (290,586 sq miles)
Major language: English (official), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga
Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Hinduism, Islam
Life expectancy: 49 years (men), 50 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Kwacha = 100 ngwee
Main exports: Copper, minerals, tobacco
GNI per capita: US $1,160 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .zm
International dialling code: +260
President: Michael Sata
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Mr Sata came to power in elections in 2011
Michael Sata: Zambia's 'King Cobra' finally strikes
Michael Sata, of the Patriotic Front, won the presidency in elections in September 2011, unseating the Movement for Multi-party Democracy which had held power for the previous 20 years.
Visa & travel advice
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- Best period
Though Zambia seems to fall in that tropical zone where seasons have no home, there are in fact three seasons, each offering a different reason for visiting. The dry season, from May to August, is the coolest period, and travelers seeking to see lush flora and the falls at their strongest may want to visit early at that time. The hot season, from September to November, is marked by scorching heat and extremely dry conditions but may appeal to safari-goers who want the chance to see large groups of animals clustered around ponds of water. The wet season, from December to April, can be very rainy. It’s better to catch the early end of the dry season, when the benefits of the rain are still there but you can leave the umbrella at home.
Rural Zambia is remarkably safe, and some backpackers who do venture to this landlocked country have even hitchhiked their way around. Use common sense, and don’t carry unnecessary valuables that may attract muggers or pickpockets. Always be aware of your surroundings, and recognize the threats posed in urban areas.
You should take all the health precautions you may typically take in an underdeveloped country. Tap water may be safe to drink in urban areas but should be boiled outside of population centers. Talk with your doctor about necessary vaccinations. You may want to buy traveler’s insurance with a policy for medical evacuation.
As always consult the U.S. Department of State’s consular website for safety bulletins and information. Do your research.
That archaic humans were present in Zambia at least 200,000 years ago was shown by the discovery of the Broken Hill skull in Kabwe in 1921 - this was the first human fossil ever discovered in Africa.
The earliest known modern humans to live in the territory of modern day Zambia were the Khoisans. They were bushmen, hunter-gatherers who lived a nomadic life, with stone age technology. Mainly they collected fruit and nuts, but they also hunted antelope and other animals.
The Khoisans were the only inhabitants of most of Zambia until the 4th century, when Bantu started to migrate from the north. They had far more developed technology - they were farmers and had iron and copper tools and weapons, as well as knowledge of pottery-making. They lived in small self-sufficient villages of wattle-and-daub huts, growing sorghum and beans, as well as keeping cattle and goats.
- Music :
A musician performs in Zambia.
The music of Zambia has a rich heritage which falls roughly into three categories: traditional, popular and Christian.
Traditional Zambian music is rooted in the beliefs and practices of Zambia's various ethnic groups and has suffered some decline in the last three decades. Traditional Zambian music once had clear ritual purposes or was an expression of the social fabric of the culture. Songs were used to teach, to heal, to appeal to spirits, and for mere enjoyment. Despite the decline of traditional music, its influences can still be heard in many of today's Zambian musical forms. The ubiquitous African "call-and-response" can be heard in almost every Zambian song no matter what the style. Traditional drum rhythms and polymeters are evident in many different kinds of Zambian music. Contemporary popular forms such as Zambian Kalindula also exhibit traces of traditional music in the finger-picking style used by guitarists.
- Film industry
The film industry in Zambia is steadily proving to be cardinal in enhancing economic growth through job creation.
The production of local movies has recently availed employment opportunities to young people and the elderly.
For instance, a single movie production involves more than fifty people, who in most cases have families to look after.
Public Relations Officer for one of Zambia’s local movie houses, Nonkas Film Productions, Shebba Mwale, says the local film sector is directly employing people during and after the productions.
- Famous monuments & places
- Architecture history
There is a trend to move away from vernacular building styles and techniques to more modern or Western ways of construction. Traditionally, the type of building depended on the availability of materials. For example, basket-weaving construction can be found in homes of the eastern province, while construction using mud-covered small branches can be found in the rest of the country. Construction also depends on the tribe's customs. The Lozi in the southwest build rectangular houses, while the Chewa favor circular structures. Most of the roofs are made of poles and thatch.
A great change occurred with the influence of missionaries and European colonists. The settlers built using Western standards. The missionaries introduced the burnt brick, used to build into square structures, while the colonists built wood-frame structures with metal roofs. These proved to be quite hot, and adaptations were made, incorporating large roofs to allow for ventilation, and spacious verandas to capitalize on the breezes. Examples of colonial architecture can still be seen in Livingstone as well as some examples of Cape Dutch influence from South Africa.