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Visiting Zambia: What to Wear

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Got a trip planned to Zambia? Zambia can be fun to visit any time of year, but you'll want to make sure you're dressed right. The weather is hot and a little humid with muggy evenings year-round, with temperatures averaging around 81°F (that's 27°C). So what should you wear so you can stay comfy and fit in with the local vibe?

To stay cool in the heat, it's important to wear light and airy clothing. Cotton, linen, and technical fabrics are all good choices. And don't forget to pack a pair of sandals or lightweight sneakers. With a comfortable pair of shoes, you'll be able to explore everything Republic of Zambia has to offer without foot fatigue.

In just a second, I'll share my specific recommendations for exactly what to wear in Zambia—whether you're going on a safari, visiting Victoria Falls, or exploring the capital city, Lusaka.

Editor's note: Zambia is in the tropics, which means seasons like summer, winter, spring, and fall don't apply. Most tropical destinations do have a wet and a dry season, but temperatures are typically warm year round.

What to wear for a trip to Zambia

What should women wear in Zambia?

Zambia is generally hot, and there are a few key items you'll want to pack. Here's what I definitely wouldn't go without: cute sundresses, loose-fitting clothing, lightweight pants, lightweight comfortable shoes, and tank tops. With these essentials, you’ll be all set to experience everything Zambia has to offer.

Cute sundresses

Packing for a trip can be tricky, especially if you're trying to pack light. However, one item that is always worth packing is a cute sundress. Sundresses are not only incredibly versatile, but they also tend to be very comfortable in hot weather. For instance, you can wear a sundress to the beach as a coverup, or dress it up with some jewelry for a nice dinner out. Plus, sundresses come in such a wide range of styles, so it's easy to find one that flatters your figure. When shopping for a sundress, look for one that is made from breathable fabric and has a flattering cut. And don't forget to pack a cardigan or shawl to go with it in case it gets chilly in the evening.

Here are a few of my top picks:

Loose-fitting clothing

When packing for Zambia, it's important to choose clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. Loose-fitting clothes are ideal, as they allow air to circulate around your body and help to regulate your temperature. Look for lightweight fabrics such as cotton or linen, which will help you to stay cool even in the hottest weather. When choosing colors, stick to light shades which will reflect rather than absorb heat. And don't forget to pack a few items that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. With a little planning, you can ensure that you'll be comfortable and stylish no matter what the weather is like on your trip.

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

Lightweight pants

If you're planning a trip to Zambia that involves any sort of physical activity—hiking, climbing, biking, etc.—you'll want to pack a pair or two of lightweight pants. They're much more comfortable than jeans or khakis when you're sweating, and they'll dry much faster if you get caught in a rain shower. You can also roll them up and stuff them into your backpack or suitcase without taking up too much space.

If you're stuck for ideas, here are some of my favorites:

Lightweight comfortable shoes

Traveling can be tough on your feet. You're constantly on the move, walking through airports and down crowded streets. And even if you're just sitting on a plane or in a car, your feet can start to swell after hours of being confined in one position. That's why it's important to pack comfortable, lightweight shoes that won't add too much weight to your luggage. But how do you know which shoes are right for Zambia? Look for ones made from breathable materials like mesh or canvas. They should also have good arch support and a cushioned sole to help reduce fatigue.

Why not grab yourself something new before you go:

Tank tops

Tank tops are just such a versatile item of clothing. They can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion, and they're perfect for hot weather. When packing tank tops for a trip to Zambia, it's important to choose ones that are comfortable and breathable. You'll also want to make sure they're easy to care for, so you can wash them easily while on the road. Plus it's a good idea to pack a few different colors and styles, so you have options to suit any occasion. With a few key tank tops in your suitcase, you'll be prepared for anything on your Zambia adventure.

Need some inspiration? Start here:

What should men wear in Zambia?

For guys, here's the list of essentials I recommend you start with: button-down shirts or polos, sandals, cargo shorts, lightweight comfortable shoes, and linen trousers. With these in your suitcase, I guarantee you will enjoy your trip to Zambia in comfort and style.

Button-down shirts or polos

Button-down shirts or polos are always a good idea to pack. They don't wrinkle easily and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. They're also perfect for layering when the weather gets cooler at night. Pick ones that are comfortable and breathable, and ideally lightweight too. It's also a good idea to choose neutral colors like white, black, or blue as they can be easily teamed with other pieces in your wardrobe.

These are some of my favorites:

Sandals

While many people think of sandals as nothing more than summertime shoes, they can actually be a versatile and practical option for year-round travel to warmer destinations. For one thing, they're comfortable and easy to wear, which is ideal for exploring Zambia. They also offer good ventilation, which is important in hot weather. Just bear in mind that sandals should provide good support for your feet and ankles, which you need to help to prevent injuries.

Here are some of my favorites:

Cargo shorts

Cargo shorts are comfortable, have plenty of pockets for storing all your essentials, and they can be easily dressed up or down. They are also extremely versatile—wear them on the beach, on a hike, or even out to dinner. Having ample storage for your passport, your phone, and your wallet is very useful in Zambia. Also, pick a pair that comes in a neutral color. This will ensure they can be easily paired with any top or sneaker.

If you're stuck for ideas, here are some of my favorites:

Lightweight comfortable shoes

Traveling can be tough on your feet. You're constantly on the move, walking through airports and down crowded streets. And even if you're just sitting on a plane or in a car, your feet can start to swell after hours of being confined in one position. That's why it's important to pack comfortable, lightweight shoes that won't add too much weight to your luggage. But how do you know which shoes are right for Zambia? Look for ones made from breathable materials like mesh or canvas. They should also have good arch support and a cushioned sole to help reduce fatigue.

These would be perfect:

Linen trousers

Linen trousers might just be the perfect staple for a warm-weather vacation. You already know they are made from a light, breathable fabric. Plus, they can be paired with a variety of tops to create both casual and dressy looks. When choosing linen trousers, it's important to look for a pair that fits well and complements your overall look. This will help you feel your best when exploring Zambia (and taking all those vacation photos).

Any of these should work:

FAQs

When is the best time to go to Zambia?

The best time to go to Zambia is during the country's dry season, which runs from roughly April to September. During this period, the weather is generally dry and sunny, making it ideal for exploring everything Zambia has to offer. That said, you can often avoid the crowds and find a great bargain on hotels and airfares outside of the peak season—the only real downside is getting caught in the occasional monsoon downpour.

How do people typically dress in Zambia?

The way people dress in Zambia varies widely depending on the region and the cultural influences present. In some areas, traditional dress is still widely worn, while in others, more modern styles have become popular. However, there are some commonalities when it comes to fashion in Zambia. Bright colors are often abundant, as are patterns and prints. Fabrics such as cotton and linen are very common, as they are both comfortable and practical in the hot climate.

What should you NOT wear in Zambia?

There are no specific restrictions on what you should wear in Zambia. It's fine to dress casually when out and about, although it's still important to be respectful of cultural norms—especially when visiting sites of historical or religious significance. Some places may have their own dress code, so be sure to follow any local guidelines.

I hope these recommendations for what to wear in Zambia will help make your visit unforgettable. Now that you have a better idea of what clothing to take, it's time to pack your suitcase—and then go ahead and enjoy everything Zambia has to offer!