Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa, with a tropical climate, and consists mostly of high plateaus with some hills and mountains, dissected by river valleys.
At 52,614 km2 (290,586 sq mi) it is the 39th-largest country in the world, The country lies mostly between latitudes 8° and 18°S, and longitudes 22° and 34°E.
The climate of Zambia is tropical, modified by elevation, most of the country is classified as humid subtropical or tropical wet and dry, with small stretches of semi-arid steppe climate in the south-west and along the Zambezi valley.
There are two main seasons, the rainy season (November to April) corresponding to summer, and the dry season (May/June to October/November), corresponding to winter. The dry season is divided into the cool dry season (May/June to August), and the hot dry season (September to October/November). The modifying influence of altitude gives the country pleasant subtropical weather rather than tropical conditions during the cool season of May to August. However, average monthly temperatures remain above 20 °C (68 °F) over most of the country for eight or more months of the year.
The official language of Zambia is English, which is used to conduct official business and is taught in schools. The main local language is Nyanja, followed by Bemba both of which are commonly spoken in Zambia. Other languages also include Lozi, Kaonde, Tonga, Lunda and Luvale, The total number of languages spoken in Zambia is 73.
On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda became the inaugural president. Kaunda's socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from 1964 until 1991. Kaunda played a key role in regional diplomacy, cooperating closely with the United States in search of solutions to conflicts in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, and Namibia.
After Independence some colonial civic buildings were destroyed and replaced with an African architecture, although, at the same time, a large infusion of cash from the British government to Zambia at Independence was partially used in Livingstone.
Originally the main crossing point of the Zambezi was above the falls at the Old Drift, by dugout canoe, later an iron boat propelled by eight Lozi paddlers, or a barge towed across with a steel cable. The Batoka Gorge and the deep valley and gorges of the middle Zambezi meant there was no better crossing point. As the Old Drift crossing became more used, a British colonial settlement sprang up there and around 1897 it became the first municipality in the country and is sometimes referred to as 'Old Livingstone'.
Livingstone was, until 2012, the capital of the Southern Province of Zambia. Lying 10 km to the north of the Zambezi River, it is a tourism centre for the Victoria Falls and a border town with road and rail connections to Zimbabwe on the other side of the Victoria Falls. A historic British colonial city, its present population was estimated at 136,897 inhabitants. It is named after David Livingstone, the British explorer who was the first European to explore the area.
In the last ten years, Livingstone has experienced resurgence in tourism and has firmly become the destination of choice when looking to experience white water rafting at its best whilst also visiting the Victoria Falls. Livingstone has enjoyed an influx of investment in the industry from modern hotel chains, to some modern street strip mall centers and restaurants.
Welcome to our home – welcome to Livingstone
Victoria Falls, Zambia
What Else Can I Experience?
If you find yourself on an African Safari, you will most likely start, end or go through Victoria Falls. When the tranquil Zambezi River suddenly plummets 354 feet over a 1,7 kilometre-wide cliff to form the world's largest curtain of waterfall, one can only stand in awe at the noise and sheer volume of water giving rise to its local name Mosi-Oa-Tunya, meaning ‘The Smoke that Thunders.’ In high water months, thunder it does! Although the giant flow of water is not evident in low water months, visitors can expect the ultimate white water rafting river levels, superb wildlife sightings and the opportunity to walk along the edge of the Falls to Livingstone Island, where a heart-racing swim in the Devils Pool promises to cool you down from the soaring summer heat.
Visitors who come to see the Victoria Falls can base themselves in accommodation along the Zambezi River in Livingstone – the ‘adventure capital of Africa’, named after the Scottish Explorer, David Livingstone. Livingstone was paddled in a dugout canoe or ‘mokoro’ through swift rapids towards the roar and rising cloud of mist, the mokoro paddlers skilfully landed on ‘Goat Island’ (now known as Livingstone Island) right on the lip of the chasm. A few steps through the small rainforest on 16th November 1855 and he first laid eyes upon the spectacular sight which he named in honour of his Queen Victoria. He later described the Falls as a 'scene so lovely it must have been gazed upon by Angels in their flight.'
The exhilarating ‘flight of the Angels’ by microlight is one of the many exceptional experiences one can expect to find that is totally unique to Livingstone and not available elsewhere in the region. Those with a flair for the vintage may board and dine upon an exquisitely restored classic steam train with a bi-weekly stop on the glamourous Victoria Falls Bridge built in 1905 before settling down to a sumptuous five-course Menu. Another venue that has pride of place in Zambia is Livingstone Museum which devotes an impressive gallery to the adventures and memorabilia of David Livingstone. The display includes original letters sandwiched between glass panels that visitors can decipher, his family tree, olive-green caped coat, black cap, carved umbrella, weaponry and more. After Livingstone died in what is now northern Zambia in 1873, his heart was buried under a mpundu tree before servants carried his body to the east coast, from where it was shipped to Britain for burial in Westminster Abbey.
During its glamorous heyday, Livingstone Town, with its charming art deco main-street buildings, was a magnet for royalty - all bar one of King George V's children visited, as did Hollywood royalty such as Alfred Hitchcock. Royalty still makes a point of dropping in. Time your visit to catch a ‘Moonbow’ - when the moon is full, the sky is clear and Victoria Falls are at their peak flow, huge rainbows appear through the mist at night. The light of the moon is refracted through the spray that rises up from the base of the Victoria Falls. This unique event is visible the day before, the day of and the day after the full moon.