The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It borders Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. The name derives from the Zambezi River. Zambia was formerly Northern Rhodesia and became independent from the British colonial power United Kingdom on October 24, 1964, but remained a member of the British-run Commonwealth of Nations, English remained the official language.


Most of Zambia consists of relatively little relief plateaux between 1000 and 1400 meters. However, these plateaus are very different. To the north, the Bangweulubassin forms the floor of a huge crater bounded by the Copperbelt Plateau to the south, the long Luapula Valley to the west, the Mporokoso Mountains to the north, and the Muchinga Mountains to the east. The Luangwa Valley runs along this mountain range from north to south, bordered on the north by foothills of the southern Tanzanian highlands and on the east by the Mafinga Hills, which merge into the central highlands of Malawi and in which the highest point of the country, the Mafinga, is located with 2339 meters above sea level. Western Zambia, with the headwaters of the Zambezi, is a flat sandy area of the Kalahari Desert that slopes gently to the south. Dramatic reliefs can only be found along the Zambezi escarpment.

The Zambezi rises in northern Zambia and forms Zambia's southern border with Namibia, Botswana (disputed) and Zimbabwe (with the Victoria Falls), also flowing through the dammed Lake Kariba.

Zambia has a mild tropical climate, which has moderate temperatures due to the altitude (cold tropics). There are three seasons:

A cool dry season from May to September with temperatures between 15 and 27°C. During the months of June and July, morning temperatures can drop to 10°C and nighttime temperatures to 4.5°C.
A hot dry season in October and November with temperatures between 24 and 32°C.
A hot, muggy rainy season from December to April with violent tropical storms. The average temperatures during this period are between 27 and 38 °C. During the day, very heavy rain showers alternate with sunny weather in places. In some years, around 2007/2008, there was unusually intense rainfall, which claimed lives and threatened harvests.
The predominant vegetation in large parts of the country is savannah (see also Miombo).

Zambia has experienced severe droughts in recent years, resulting in rainfall of just 327mm this season from November to April in 2019, instead of the usual 800-1000mm. Crop volumes for agricultural commodities such as corn declined.

bodies of water
water falls
Zambia lies on a plateau over 1000 meters high, surrounded by deep valleys and depressions. As a result, there are countless waterfalls in the country, the most famous being the Zambezi's Victoria Falls. Of the other falls, those of the Kalungwishi River to the north are noteworthy. It offers a series of Lumangwe Falls, Chimpepe Falls, Kabweluma Falls, Kundabwiku Falls and Mumbuluma Falls, complemented by Kapuma Falls, Lupupa Falls and Pule Falls on its tributaries. With the Mambilima Falls and the almost inaccessible Mambatuta Falls, the Luapula also has unique whitewater rapids with large drops. The Kalambo Falls and the Lunzua Falls on Lake Tanganyika plunge over 200 meters into the depths. The Sanzye Falls are close by. In addition to these natural spectacles, there are other waterfalls such as Senkele Falls, Chusa Falls and Namundela Falls of the Mansha River between Mpika and Kasama. Also in this area are Chishimba Falls, Mutinondo Wilderness Falls and Lwitikila Falls. Further south are the Kundalila Falls.

lakes and swamps
Zambia has four distinct lake and wetland regions. The Zambezi's Kariba reservoir is to the south. The Kafue system with the Lukanga swamps, the Itezhitezhi reservoir and the Kafue reservoir characterizes central Zambia south of the Copperbelt. The Bangweulubassin with the Bangweulusee and the Bangweulus Marshes surrounding it spreads north of the Copperbelt. In the far north in the geological fractures lies Lake Tanganyika in the rift valley and Lake Mweru and Lake Mweru-Wantipa in the depression behind the Bangweulu block with the Mporokoso Mountains.

Zambia is characterized by two river systems: the Zambezi river basin to the south and the Congo river basin to the north. Both catchment areas are transboundary and of continental importance. The system of the Zambezi is divided into the upper reaches with the tributaries Cuando, Lungwebungu, Luanginga from Angola, Kabompo with western Lunga, Luena, Lufupa from the east, the middle course with the tributaries Kafue with Lunga and Lusiwishi as well as Chongwe and finally the Luangwa with its tributaries Mansha, Lunsemfwa, Lukusashi and Mulingushi. The subsystem of the Congo in Zambia is the Chambeshi, which, like numerous smaller rivers, flows into the Bangweulu Basin and leaves this as the Luapula to flow into Lake Mweru, to which the Kalungwishi also comes from the Mporokoso Mountains.


national parks
South Luangwa National Park - North Luangwa National Park - Luambe National Park - Lukusuzi National Park - Nyika - Nsumbu National Park - Lake Mweru Wantipa with Mweru Wantipa National Park - Lusenga Plain National Park - Bangweulus Marshes - Kasanka National Park - Lavushi Manda National Park - Isangano National Park - Kafue National Park - Lochinvar National Park - Blue Lagoon National Park - Liuwa Plain National Park - West Lunga National Park - Sioma Ngweizi National Park - Mosi-oa-Tunya - Lower Zambezi National Park

human geography
territorial division
Since 2011, the state has been divided into ten provinces (capitals in brackets):
Central Province – (Kabwe)
Copperbelt – (Ndola)
Eastern Province – (Chipata)
Luapula – (Mansa)
Lusaka – (Lusaka)
Northern Province – (Kasama)
North West Province – (Solwezi)
Southern Province – (Livingstone)
Western Province – (Mongu)
Muchinga – (Chinsali)

In 2021, 45 percent of Zambia's residents lived in cities. The 5 largest cities are (as of 2017):
Lusaka: 2,426,900 inhabitants
Kitwe: 669,600 inhabitants
Ndola: 551,900 inhabitants
Chingola: 233,600 inhabitants
Kabwe: 227,600 inhabitants
See also: List of cities in Zambia

Zambia had about 18.4 million inhabitants in 2020. Annual population growth was +2.9%. The population has increased sevenfold since 1950 and, according to forecasts, will more than double again by the middle of the century. An excess of births (birth rate: 35.4 per 1000 inhabitants vs. death rate: 6.2 per 1000 inhabitants) contributed to population growth. The number of births per woman was statistically 4.5 in 2020 and thus close to the value for sub-Saharan Africa of 4.6. The median age of the population in 2020 was 17.6 years. The Zambia Statistics Agency has state responsibility for the tasks of national official statistics.

ethnic groups
99% of Zambia's black population (98.1%) consists of approximately 72 Bantu-speaking ethnic groups. 90% of Zambians belong to eight ethnolinguistic groups. The largest of the eight groups are the Bemba, who make up 21% of the population. The Rotse people (5.7%) live mainly in the south. Many personalities from politics and business come from the ranks of the Rotse. The tradition of the Bemba and the Rotse, both originally from the south-eastern Congo Basin, is shaped by the institution of chiefdom.

The Tonga have lived in the south of the country for thousands of years, accounting for 13.6% of the total population. The expulsion of this group living in the Zambezi Valley by the British in the course of the construction of the Kariba Dam brought about major changes in their traditional culture. Other of the eight largest ethnic groups are the Nyanja-Chewa (7.4%), the Nsenga (5.3%), the Tumbuka (4.4%), the Ngoni (4%) and the Lala (3.1%) . According to the 2010 census, smaller minorities are made up of the Kaonde (2.9%), the Namwanga (2.8%), the Lunda (2.6%), the Mambwe (2.5%), the Luvale (2.2 %), the Lamba (2.1%), the Ushi (1.9%), the Lenje (1.6%), the Bisa (1.6%), the Mbunda (1.2%) and the Luba . Other ethnic groups account for 13.8%.

Of the Khoisan population, now only 0.7%, only the Twa live in small groups in the Bangweulusee area. There are also (1.2%) Europeans and Indians. In 2017, 0.9% of the population was foreign-born. Most of these were from Angola, DR Congo and Mozambique.

Zambia is also home to about 100,000 Chinese who migrated to Zambia as part of the New Silk Road project.