Is it safe to travel to Zambia alone?
Well I will cut to the chase and say YES! I think that Zambia is a wonderful African destination for solo travelers, and this includes solo female travel in Zambia.
I traveled all around Zambia by myself, taking public transportation whenever it was possible. There are definitely safety precautions you need to take, but I don’t think they were very unique to Zambia. They were the same precautions I would take when traveling to any other country in the region. Backpacking in Zambia is a good idea!!
I actually wrote an in depth post about safety tips for Zambia.
You can check it out here!
Solo female travel in Zambia
What about a woman traveling alone to Zambia? Lucky for you I am a woman who did it! The best part about solo female travel in Zambia was that it wasn’t something too unique. There were plenty of other women from outside of Zambia traveling around alone, and I also encountered plenty of Zambian women also traveling around the country alone.
I even ran into another Zambian woman while hitchhiking. She told me that she had no issue with hitchhiking alone herself. Though this post isn’t about the dangers of hitchhiking and I am not going to discuss that right now.
Tips for women traveling alone to Zambia
So I admit I can be a lazy blogger (dude writing a post takes FOREVER), and right before my backpacking trip to Zambia I went backpacking in Zimbabwe. Zambia and Zimbabwe are of course different countries with different histories and cultures, but I felt like my experience traveling alone in each country was similar, especially with regards to safety precautions.
So be sure to check out my solo female travel in Zimbabwe post because its pointless to write everything out twice.
There were some other details I would like to add for those of you who will be backpacking to Zambia….
Zambia seemed to have a really high number of drunks out and about compared to the other Southern African countries I visited. I was harassed by drunks in every urban environment I visited.
Sometimes passers by told the drunks to leave me alone, but it seems like people just leave them alone to avoid trouble.
This happened at all hours, night and day. This was probably the worst part about backpacking in Zambia.
I don’t want to tell you how to dress, but dressing on the modest side will be helpful if you don’t want to attract too much attention.
I always wore long, loose fitting pants. Covering one’s legs seemed to be more important than covering one’s arms. I always wore short sleeved shirts, but I didn’t wear tank tops.
These rules are relaxed at safari lodges, but you may want to wear long pants anyway because of the bugs!
Some young men shocked me by asking really weird, often sexual questions to me in inappropriate situations.
Be sure to check out my Zambia page to see all my Zambia posts!
Granted maybe it is normal and they would talk to Zambian women about that, but I was too embarrassed to bring it up with a Zambian woman to find out.
For example, I was trying to buy a ticket for a bus when the ticket vendor in the booth just asked me how, well, having sex with black men is different than having sex with white men.
I was so shocked that I just stood there staring at him. Why in the world would he think that would be a totally fine thing to ask in that situation?
Similar things happened with other young men. They always seemed to be genuinely curious.
Either I was unknowingly breaking some societal norms or these guys were just very strange.
So there you go! Ladies, you just need to take the normal precautions you would take anywhere in the region if you travel to Zambia. I hope you have a wonderful adventure!