Tips for Moving to Zambia: Best Expat Guide in 2023

moving to Zambia

When you think of moving to Zambia, several images come to mind: vast plains, rich cultures, and a rapidly growing expat community.

With its diverse economic and cultural landscape, Zambia attracts many expats every year. If you’re considering moving to Zambia, this guide will provide you with essential insights.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, you can email me ( or use these contact options.

Understanding the Zambian Economy

When considering moving to Zambia, it’s crucial to grasp the intricacies of its economy. The Zambian economy is diverse, with major industries spanning mining, agriculture, and tourism.

Major Industries and Job Opportunities


Zambia is renowned for its abundant mineral resources. Copper is the primary mineral, with the country being one of the world’s top copper producers. Many individuals, especially expatriates, are considering moving to Zambia to explore opportunities in the mining sector. The significance of copper mining cannot be overstated, as it has historically been the backbone of the Zambian economy.


Agriculture is a cornerstone of Zambia’s economy. The country has vast arable land, and its agricultural sector is diverse, encompassing crops like maize, cotton, coffee, and tobacco. For those moving to Zambia with expertise in agriculture, the sector offers numerous opportunities for growth and investment.


Tourism in Zambia is on an upward trajectory. The country boasts natural wonders like Victoria Falls, attracting tourists from all over the world. Moving to Zambia provides a unique opportunity to tap into this burgeoning sector, especially for those interested in eco-tourism and wildlife conservation.

Currency and Banking System

The Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) is the official currency of Zambia. Understanding the currency’s dynamics is essential for those planning to move to Zambia.

moving to Zambia
Moving to Zambia is not just about work; it’s about immersing in a rich culture.

The Kwacha is used for all local transactions, and its value can fluctuate based on various economic factors.

Setting Up a Bank Account in Zambia

Once you’ve decided to move to Zambia, setting up a local bank account is one of the first steps. Zambia has a robust banking system with several major banks operating in the country.

These banks offer a range of services tailored to both locals and expatriates. Setting up an account is relatively straightforward and a crucial step in integrating into the Zambian economic system.

Recent Economic Developments

Zambia has seen economic challenges and growth spurts in recent years. The country achieved middle-income status in 2011 and was once among the fastest-growing economies in Africa.

However, challenges like declining copper prices and fiscal deficits have impacted its economic performance. Despite these challenges, Zambia remains an attractive destination for business and investment, especially with its efforts to improve the ease of doing business.

The government has been proactive in implementing reforms and attracting foreign investment, especially in mining, agriculture, and tourism sectors.

Trade and Investment

Zambia’s trade landscape is diverse, with copper and cobalt being major exports. The country also benefits from non-traditional exports like cotton, coffee, and gemstones.

Recent initiatives like the Zambia-China Trade and Investment Forum aim to bolster trade relations and attract more foreign investment.

Economic Support and Partnerships

Zambia has forged partnerships with international bodies like the IMF and World Bank. These partnerships aim to provide financial support, promote economic reforms, and reduce poverty.

For instance, recent approvals from the World Bank aim to spur economic recovery and growth in Zambia.

Housing and Accommodation

Securing a comfortable living place is a top priority when moving to Zambia. The country offers a variety of housing options, from modern apartments in the city to spacious standalone homes with gardens.

Popular Expat Neighborhoods


Lusaka stands as the bustling capital of Zambia and serves as a magnet for expats. The city presents a range of neighborhoods catering to diverse budgets and preferences. Many of the houses in Lusaka are spacious, surrounded by gardens, and ideal for families.

In recent years, Lusaka has seen a surge in new housing developments, offering modern amenities and designs. Cluster developments, consisting of rowhouses or townhouses enclosed within high perimeter walls, have become increasingly popular.

These gated communities often have enhanced security, and communal amenities like swimming pools, gyms, and entertainment areas, making them a preferred choice for many expats moving to Zambia.


Livingstone is a prime choice for those moving to Zambia to soak in its natural beauty. Located near the iconic Victoria Falls, Livingstone offers a serene environment.

Apart from its scenic allure, the city provides housing options that range from modern apartments to traditional homes. Living in Livingstone allows expats to experience Zambia’s natural wonders while enjoying the comforts of urban living.

Renting vs. Buying in Zambia

The decision to rent or buy often depends on the duration of your stay. Many choose to rent because of the often short-term nature of expat assignments in Zambia. Both furnished and unfurnished housing options are available in major cities.

Those who opt for rental accommodation in Zambia will find it relatively expensive, but lucrative expat salaries often balance out the cost.

However, purchasing property might be a viable option if you’re considering a long-term stay. When signing a lease, clarifying responsibilities regarding maintenance, repairs, and utility costs is essential.

moving to Zambia

Participating in or even just witnessing these festivals gives you a deeper appreciation of the culture after moving to Zambia. Zambia’s art is deeply rooted in its traditions.

Utilities and Services

Once you’ve settled on a home after moving to Zambia, the next step involves setting up utilities. While Zambia offers reliable utility services, ensuring that the accommodation has a consistent supply of water and electricity is crucial.

Air conditioning is almost a necessity, especially during the hot summer months. Safety remains a concern, especially in urban areas like Lusaka. Ensure that your chosen residence has adequate security measures, such as burglar bars on windows and a reliable security system.

Zambian Culture and Lifestyle

Moving to Zambia is not just about work; it’s about immersing in a rich culture.

Language and communication

When you’re moving to Zambia, you’ll find that English is the official language. This makes it easier for expatriates and business professionals to communicate and navigate daily life. Schools, government offices, and most businesses operate primarily in English.

While English is prevalent, especially in urban areas, a rich tapestry of local languages is spoken across the country. Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, and Lozi are just a few of the major languages.

If you’re moving to Zambia, learning a few phrases in the local language can go a long way in building relationships and understanding the culture better.

Food, Festivals, and Traditions

Moving to Zambia introduces you to a culinary journey. Nshima, a staple made from maize, is often served with various relishes, including ifisashi (greens in peanut sauce). Take advantage of trying local fish dishes, especially if you’re near one of the country’s many lakes or rivers.

Zambia is home to a myriad of festivals that showcase its diverse culture. The Kuomboka Ceremony, for instance, is a traditional ceremony of the Lozi people, marking the movement of the Litunga (Lozi King) from his flooded plains to higher ground.

Participating in or even just witnessing these festivals gives you a deeper appreciation of the culture after moving to Zambia. Zambia’s art is deeply rooted in its traditions. The country’s artisans produce many beautiful items, from intricate beadwork to wooden carvings.

Moving to Zambia offers a unique opportunity to explore and even learn these traditional art forms. Music and dance play a pivotal role in Zambian culture.

Traditional instruments like the silimba (a type of xylophone) and the kalimba (thumb piano) produce melodies accompanying dances celebrating various occasions. Experiencing these performances is a must for anyone moving to Zambia.

Safety and Security

Prioritizing safety is crucial when moving to Zambia. As with any destination, understanding the local safety landscape can make your transition smoother and more secure.

moving to Zambia
Stick to legitimate border crossings and be wary of officials asking for payments. Additionally, remember that wild animals, including venomous snakes, pose risks, so always exercise caution.

Safety Concerns in Zambia

Moving to Zambia presents a unique set of safety challenges, but you can navigate them effectively with the right knowledge.

Political Situation

Demonstrations and protests occasionally occur, especially in urban areas like Lusaka. While these can disrupt local transport and potentially escalate into violence, it’s essential to avoid them.

If you encounter a protest, leave the scene promptly and heed the guidance of local authorities. Always monitor local and international media for updates.


While major cities and game parks in Zambia are generally safe during daylight hours, crimes can occur. Always remain vigilant.

When driving, lock all vehicle doors and keep windows closed, especially after dark. Store valuables and essential documents securely, and always carry a copy of your passport and immigration permit.

Local Travel

If you’re moving to Zambia, be cautious when traveling near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially after dark.

Stick to legitimate border crossings and be wary of officials asking for payments. Additionally, remember that wild animals, including venomous snakes, pose risks, so always exercise caution.

Emergency contacts and helplines

Having a list of emergency contacts is essential when moving to Zambia. It ensures you can quickly reach out for help if needed.

Road Travel

If you’re moving to Zambia and plan to drive, you can use a UK driving license for up to 90 days. After that, you’ll need an International Driving Permit or a Zambian driving license. Be cautious on the roads, as many are in poor condition, especially during the rainy season.

Avoid driving at night outside main towns, and always be vigilant for potential hazards like abandoned vehicles, pedestrians, and stray animals.

moving to Zambia
Understanding the work permit process and employment laws is crucial if you’re considering moving to Zambia for employment purposes.

Air Travel

Before flying, check the UK Air Safety List to ensure your chosen airline meets international safety standards. This list, maintained by the Department for Transport, provides insights into airlines that do not meet these standards.

Legal and Documentation for Moving to Zambia

Moving to Zambia requires thorough preparation, especially in terms of legal and documentation processes. Ensuring all legalities are in place will make your transition smoother and more compliant with Zambian regulations.

Visa and Residency Requirements for Expats

Before moving to Zambia, having the correct visa and residency permits is imperative. The Zambia Department of Immigration offers an e-Visa for those intending to travel to Zambia.

This online application process has made obtaining the necessary documentation easier for expats and travelers. It’s advisable to check the specific visa requirements based on your nationality and the purpose of your stay.

Some nationals might not require a visa, so it’s essential to verify this information on the official Zambia Immigration website.

e-Visa Application

The Zambia Department of Immigration provides an efficient online platform for e-Visa applications. This system ensures that applicants receive their documentation promptly, making moving to Zambia more streamlined.

Work Permits and Employment Regulations

Understanding the work permit process and employment laws is crucial if you’re considering moving to Zambia for employment purposes.

The Department of Immigration mandates that those wishing to work, invest, study, or reside in Zambia apply for the appropriate immigration permit.

Types of Work Permits

Different work permits are available, depending on the nature of your job or investment in Zambia. Ensure you apply for the one that best fits your situation to avoid any legal complications when moving to Zambia.

Taxes and Financial Obligations

Understanding the tax system is vital when moving to Zambia. Zambia has its tax regulations, and you’ll be subject to specific financial obligations as an expat.

It’s essential to stay informed about these requirements to ensure you remain compliant with Zambian laws.

Tax Residency

Your tax obligations will largely depend on your residency status. Typically, those who reside in Zambia for more than 183 days in a tax year are considered tax residents. As a tax resident, you’ll be subject to Zambian taxes on your worldwide income

Tax Rates and Deductions

Zambia has progressive tax rates, and the amount you owe will depend on your income bracket. Consult with a local tax advisor or accountant to understand your specific tax obligations and any deductions you might be eligible for when moving to Zambia.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 666.9 million answer views on, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

Related Blogs

citizenship for Indians
British citizenship for Pakistani
citizenship for Pakistanis


Gain free access to Adam’s two expat books.

Get more strategies every week on how to be more productive with your finances.