17 January 2013
News from Zambia
Update from Atta member Norman Carr Safaris
- Zambian Kwacha, our currency, has been ‘re-based’. Government decided to remove three zeros from the currency to make it easier for people to understand and to avoid having to carry around large carrier bags full of money. It is not a ‘devaluation’ and the currency and economy remain stable.
- The Kwacha now sits at around 5 to the US dollar. It will fluctuate a few points each way over the months but you can use K5 : $1 as a rough rule of thumb.
- You still need to obtain Kwacha as you enter Zambia to pay for various local taxes and any cash payments whilst you’re here in Zambia. However, you can still buy your entry visa in USD as it is not possible to get Kwacha outside Zambia. You can pay for your safari in USD and we will quote in USD as long as you are paying for it from abroad but any goods or services purchased whilst in country have to be bought in local currency.
- It is easy to withdraw cash from ATMs at the airport – Visa and Mastercard both work and most larger retail outlets and lodges can accept major credit cards. We advise guests to let their credit card company know if they are travelling to Zambia so that they don’t stop the card for suspicious use. They can also exchange USD, Sterling, Euros and most major currencies at the airports.
- Our main domestic carrier Proflight have changed their ticket purchase policy in line with industry norms and are now asking for payment for flights on ticketing. This means that we have to ask for immediate payment for flights from you our clients as we simply cannot carry the liability for all the flights we book on your behalf. Proflight are happy if you would like to book direct with them rather than through us – if you would like to contact them – please let me know and I’ll put you in touch.
- From Feb 1st – Proflight will be including the departure taxes which have hitherto been payable in Kwacha cash at the airport. This will raise the ticket price a bit (by $11 per leg) but won’t actually cost guests any more in the end and will in fact save them a lot of hassle at the airports. Any guests with tickets purchased prior to Feb 1st will need to pay their departure taxes at the airport in the same way.