Packing is all part and parcel of the excitement of going on an adventure. While some destinations call for a ‘credit card and bikini’ kind of packing list, Zambia requires a bit more planning. Shops full of merchandise aren’t always available in parts of Zambia, and even when they are open, they likely won’t accept credit cards or have everything that we need in one place. But this is all part of what makes a road trip in Zambia unique.
Most of the main roads in Zambia are in good condition; however, there are short sections where teeth-rattling corrugations and crater-sized potholes exist. As such, it is integral to keep your focus and drive during daylight hours whenever possible. One of the best aspects of a Zambian road trip is taking the journey at your own pace, so don’t rush it. Enjoy the meandering journey just as much as arriving to your destination.
Items to pack for a Zambian road trip
Travelling with your own set of wheels gives you the freedom to take the time to see different sites along the way and pack just about whatever you want to throw in. Keep in mind that summers (Sept-Mar) can be scorching in Zambia, especially at Lake Kariba and in Livingstone. Conversely, many forget how chilly the winter (Jun-Aug) nights can be, so pack accordingly.
We have created a Zambian packing list of essentials that we feel everyone needs for their road trip. We recommend using it as a last-minute checklist to ensure you have everything you need before hitting the road.
Zambian road trip essentials for the car
Since the essential part of a road trip is getting from A to B, you must have everything on your vehicle in working order. We recommend that you keep items like your driver’s licence and road triangles easily accessible in case of police checks. You don’t want to be taking everything out and packing it all back up again on the side of the road.
- Check that your insurance, fitness and insurance is up to date
- Ensure that you and any other drivers have their driver’s licence with them
- Check the oil, water and windshield wiper fluid
- A full tank of fuel
- A jerry can if you intend to go far away from main towns
- A spare tyre
- A jack
- A set of road triangles
- A small cooler for the car
- A larger cooler for the boot
- A fabulous selection of music
Zambian road trip essentials for you
We aren’t going to itemize how many t-shirts to pack or pairs of knickers you are going to need, but we have made a list of items that are not easy to find everywhere in Zambia, so you won’t want to leave them behind.
- National Registration Cards (NRC) and/or Zambian permits (or certified copies) and/or passports for the whole family
- A few novels
- Extra phone credit or talktime vouchers
- Phone chargers with car adapters
- Solar charger
- Battery pack
- Solar light
- Plug adapters
- Sunglasses, a sun hat and sunscreen
- Sandals and walking shoes
- Swimwear and towel
- Waterproof bag for Victoria Falls
- Water bottles
Zambian road trip essentials for the kids
Kids bring a whole new dynamic to a road trip. Most parents will know that as long as the kids are fed, watered and entertained, the rest of the journey will be a breeze.
- Mess kit – including wet wipes, flannels, plastic bags and change of clothes
- Diaper bag with all of the essentials
- Kid-friendly snacks
- Charged iPads or tablets with a few new movies
- Chargers for any electronics
- Their favourite stuffed toy or blanket
- First aid kit with paediatric medicines, plasters and the like
- Sunscreen, hats, insect repellent
- Road trip games – download from www.destinationlivingstone.org
Zambian road trip essentials for pets
Many destinations in Livingstone allow for your furry friends to join in on the fun of a road trip. Livingstone has numerous lodges and guesthouses that are pet friendly, so contact them in advance and see if you can bring your beloved pet along for the ride.
- Water and food dish
- Pet food to last the duration of the trip
- Any medication they might be taking
- Extra water for your pet
- Collar and leash
- Pet kennel
- Vaccination certificate