Organising and booking
New Year's Day January 1
Youth Day around March 11–13
Labour Day May 1
Africa Freedom Day May 25
Heroes' Day first Monday of July
Unity Day first Tuesday of July
Farmers' Day first Monday of August
Independence Day October 24
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26
National parksHead office
Currently all of Zambia's national parks fall under the control of the Zambia Wildlife Authority – known simply as the ZAWA. These responsibilities used to fall under the Zambian Parks & Wildlife Service, a department of the Ministry of Tourism, until it was changed into the more autonomous ZAWA in 2000). They set the rules and administer the parks from their head office near Chilanga, about 20km south of Lusaka.
Address written requests to the The Director General, Zambia Wildlife Authority, Private Bag 1, Chilanga, Zambia; tel: 01 278524 or 278366; fax: 01 278244; email: email@example.com. Note that telephoning or calling in person is much more effective than emailing or faxing. If you want to do anything unusual, or to go to any of the more remote parks, then it will make your trip easier if you buy your permits in advance from Chilanga. Clear your trip with them, and get some written permission that looks official: a letter from Chilanga and the appropriate permits work wonders at even the most remote scout camps.
The next best option is to try to get permission at the regional ZAWA offices – which may be easier than negotiating with the scouts on the gate.Entry permits
Most organised trips will include park entry fees in their costs, but if you are travelling on your own then you must pay these directly, either at NPWS officesorin the parks. There is a scale of entry fees, and separate charges for camping in the parks. Currently South Luangwa costs US$20/£13 per person per day, whilst Kafue, Lower Zambezi, Lochinvar and Sumbu are US$10/£7. The rest cost US$5/£3.50 per person per day. On top of these, vehicles are charged US$5/£3.50 per entry, and camping within the park is another US$15/£10 per person per night.Guides
For more adventurous trips to remote parks, hire a game scout from the nearest camp to act as your guide. This will save wasted driving time, and probably personal anguish over navigational puzzles. You may have to feed the scout, but even then this can be an inexpensive way to get a local guide who may be able to add a whole new dimension to your trip.
Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ)
Until 1998 this was called the wildlife conservation society of Zambia, and universally known as the WCSZ. Now the society is keen to emphasise its broader remit for the environment in its widest sense. (this goes along with the global shift in thinking from just protecting parks and animals, to looking after the whole environment and the local people as well.)
Its work remains similar, supporting environmental education and awareness in Zambia. It sponsors various conservation activities; runs innovative children's conservation clubs, like the Chongololo clubs; publishes a number of good, inexpensive field guides specific to Zambia.
It also owns several very simple camps in the National Parks – Kafwala and David Shepherd camps in Kafue, and the Wildlife Camp at Mfuwe – and although these are managed by others, some of the revenue still comes back to the WECSZ. Bookings for these camps can be made in person or by post, through the WECSZ, PO Box 30255, Lusaka; tel: 254226 or 251630; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.wcsz.org.
To find out more, visit the WECSZ offices off Los Angeles Boulevard, near Longacres Lodge. Many of their books are also stocked by the bookshops in town, or even by Magenge Crafts, beside Mfuwe airport.
Membership for non-Zambians costs US$35 per person per year, or US$100 for supporter.