Planning & preparation
However you get to the subcontinent, if you don't fly directly to Lusaka then do book your flight to Africa and any scheduled internal links between countries (eg: Nairobi–Lusaka or Johannesburg–Lusaka flights) at the same time. Booking the whole trip together is almost certain to save you money. Sometimes the airline taking you to Africa will have cheap regional flights within Africa; for example Johannesburg–Lusaka with BA is usually much cheaper if booked with a BA flight from London to Johannesburg, than it is if booked alone. At other times the tour operator you book through will have special deals if you book all the flights with them. And most importantly, if you book all your flights together then you'll be sure to get connecting ones, so you have the best schedule possible.Departure tax
Note that there is a US$20 departure tax for all international flights from Lusaka or Livingstone, and that this is always payable at departure by you. It cannot be pre-paid on your ticket, so you must have a few dollars left at the airport before you leave.From Europe
Since Zambia Airways went into liquidation in December 1994, direct flights to Zambia from Europe have been very straightforward: BA runs them three times a week. There are few alternatives.
Various other airlines have connecting flights to Lusaka, usually through either Nairobi or Johannesburg, but only BA flies direct.
These routes are mainly for business traffic and pre-booked holidays; finding cheap 'bucket-shop' tickets is usually difficult (if not impossible). Expect to pay about £600/US$1,080 for a return flight. Tour operators usually have access to slightly cheaper seats, but you will only be able to buy these if you are buying a complete holiday from them.
If you want a cheap flight, but don't mind spending longer travelling, then consider using one of the nearby regional centres and connecting through to Zambia. Harare is easily reached using various carriers, and costs from about £450/US$810. There are frequent flights from Harare to Victoria Falls, as well as Lusaka – or you can easily travel overland by bus.
Johannesburg is certainly the busiest airport on the subcontinent, and most of the world's larger airlines have flights there, or at least connections. From Johannesburg, South African Airways (SAA) and BA's subsidiary, Comair, each have flights to Zambia about four times a week. Nairobi is also an important African gateway, and Kenya Airways flies from Nairobi to Lusaka four times weekly.
If you're visiting the Luangwa Valley during your trip, then consider using Lilongwe as a gateway, and taking one of the frequent flights operated by Air Malawi between there and Mfuwe, in Zambia's Luangwa Valley.From North America
If you are coming from the US then you will probably need to stop at London or Johannesburg to make connections to Zambia. There are no direct flights. Booking everything in the US may not save you money; investigate the flight prices in comparison with those available in London. Increasingly visitors from America are discovering that UK operators offer better-value safaris than their competitors in America. So consider buying a cheap ticket across the Atlantic, and then organising your Zambian trip through a reliable UK operator.
Most overland border posts open from about 06.00 to 18.00, although this is less rigidly adhered to at the smaller, more remote posts.To/from Zimbabwe
Zambia's greatest flow of visitors comes from Zimbabwe, over the Livingstone–Victoria Falls border. Many visitors come over for just a day trip and many locals come to shop, so this is usually a very relaxed and swift border crossing. The crossings over the Kariba Dam and at Chirundu are also straightforward, and the latter is especially good for hitchhiking on long-distance lorries, which ply the route from Harare to Lusaka.To/from Botswana
Despite their territories only meeting at a point, Botswana does have one border crossing with Zambia: a reliable ferry across the Zambezi linking Kazungula with the corner of Botswana, which costs about US$25/£14 per vehicle.To/from Namibia
There is a new high-level bridge across the Zambezi. To/from Angola
Angola is, at the time of writing, still not regarded as a safe country to visit. The easiest border post with Angola is near Chavuma, northwest of Zambezi town. Elsewhere in western Zambia there is a danger of accidentally wandering into Angola, as the border has few markings.To/from Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)
There are numerous crossings between Zambia and DRC, especially around the Copperbelt. Otherwise there is a good track leading into DRC reached via Mwinilunga and Ikelenge. However, the DRC remains an unstable and potentially dangerous place to visit; you should check on the latest security situations before crossing the border. To/from Tanzania
Many visitors from Tanzania (and a few from Burundi or DRC) enter Zambia by ferryboat across Lake Tanganyika, into Mpulungu. The main alternative is the land border, either by road crossing or by TAZARA train, crossing east of Tunduma. To/from Malawi
The main crossing between Zambia and Malawi is east of Chipata. This would also be the swiftest way to reach the Nyika Plateau, as the roads in Malawi are better than those to Nyika in Zambia.To/from Mozambique
There is a land crossing between Zambia and Mozambique south of Katete, west of Chipata, though this is not often used. A more common route would be via Malawi or Zimbabwe.