Zambia is sparsely populated and most of the population lives in the capital Lusaka and the mineral-rich Copperbelt region. Home to more than 70 different ethnic groups, Zambia is a multicultural society.

Expats coming from more developed countries are likely to experience a fair amount of culture shock in Zambia. For an inexperienced expat, in particular, the most profound adjustment will be to the poverty endemic to the country. 

Poverty in Zambia

Although the country’s economy has improved in recent years, much of Zambia’s infrastructure remains underdeveloped and expats may have to adjust to life without many of the luxuries they have back home. Many roads are not paved and power and water supplies can be unpredictable, even in Lusaka, where it is not uncommon to experience power blackouts; a generator is therefore essential for any expat's home.

The sharp contradictions between the haves and the have-nots are highly noticeable in Zambia. Within a few miles, one can see the transition from rural mud huts and poor shantytowns to sprawling mansions and glitzy shopping malls, with a swathe of luxury vehicles lined up outside. 

Time in Zambia

Expats living in Zambia will need to learn some patience when it comes to making arrangements and attending meetings or social engagements. Time is sometimes a vague concept in Zambia and Zambians often have a very relaxed attitude to punctuality. Meetings and social functions often start late and expats should not expect any apologies for tardiness.

Communicating in Zambia

English is the official language in Zambia and most expats will therefore not struggle with a language barrier. Nevertheless, those living in more rural areas of Zambia will likely encounter those who do not speak or understand English and they should take the time to learn some key phrases of the local dialect.

Zambians are quite formal and prefer to be addressed formally; greetings are extremely important and will be reciprocated. Politeness is highly respected in Zambian culture, and requests after a person’s wellbeing are the typical start to a conversation.

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance -

Cigna Global

Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world. Cigna are offering a 10% discount on all policies bought in November and December.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

Moving Companies

Sirelo logo

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes now!