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Zambia Facts: know before you go

By Martha Hales

Zambia is a diverse and vibrant destination. Tribal culture sits alongside sprawling nature reserves and tumbling waterfalls; all competing for your attention! In celebration of this lesser-travelled destination, we have put together a Zambia fact-file so you can be in the know before you go...

1. The Zambian flag, designed by Gabriel Ellison, is a collision of colour and symbolism. The expanse of green represents the country's abundant tropical greenery. The black stripe signifies the Zambian people while the red stripe represents their long struggle for freedom. The orange stripe represents Zambia’s mineral wealth and the eagle is a metaphor for the ability of the Zambian population to overcome the challenges they face.

2. Lusaka was built to house around 200,000 people. It is now home to over 1.5 million inhabitants and is the capital of Zambia.

3. What is now Zambia was previously known as Northern Rhodesia, a name chosen by the British in 1911 as a tribute to Cecil Rhodes.

4. Northern Rhodesia became Zambia in 1964 following its independence. The name was chosen to reflect the Zambezi, the largest and most important river, which marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

5. Zambia is landlocked, one of fifteen African countries without a coast. It is bordered by Angola, Botswana, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It is almost 1000 kilometres to the nearest sea.

Victoria Falls6. Zambia is home to the iconic Victoria Falls. Five hundred and fifty million litres of water flow over the lip of falls every minute, dropping a hundred metres into the lower Zambezi. Spray from the falls travels quite some distance, ensuring the surrounding area of forest stays green and gorgeous all year round.

7. Archaeology is the watchword at Zambia's “other” waterfall. Kalombo Falls is over twice the height of Victoria Falls and doubles as one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa. Tools dating as far back as 250,000 BC have been pulled from the surrounding rock.

8. The rainy season which usually occurs between November and April, is known by the local people as the ‘Emerald season’ as this is when the landscape is at its lush, green best.

9. You could glimpse an elusive moonbow at Victoria Falls. The falls are called Mosi-oa-Tunya in the local Tonga language, which translates to "the smoke that thunders." When a full moon hangs over these awesome falls, you might catch sight of a mystical lunar rainbow.

10. Zambia boasts 20 national parks and 34 managed reserves. Cumulatively, they cover around 30% of the 750,000+ square kilometres of National ParksZambia’s total surface area. Zambia contains one of Africa’s largest national parks, named Kafue, which covers an area roughly the size of Wales, and is home to unexplored and untamed bushland. This is one of the places you are most likely to spot a leopard in Africa.

11. Tribal traditions endure in Zambia’s rural communities with entire villages involved in weddings and funerals. A ‘dowry’ (Lobola) is paid for a girl by the groom’s family as a gesture to express appreciation to the family of the bride.

12. Most villages still have a traditional healer who is akin to a herbalist, using local remedies and plant based treatments to mitigate against symptoms of minor illnesses. It is still a common ambition for women to have many children, 6-12 is the ideal, to provide security in old age.

Make it happen

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