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Car rental agencies primarily serve people who require a temporary vehicle, for example, those who do not own their own car, tourists, business travelers or owners of damaged or destroyed vehicles who are awaiting repair or insurance compensation. Car rental agencies may also serve the self-moving industry needs, by renting vans or trucks, and in certain markets, other types of vehicles such as motorcycles may also be offered.

Cars can be hired from international and Zambian-owned companies in Lusaka, Livingstone, Kitwe and Ndola and you'll find all the usual chain hire companies at the airport. Car rental companies provide car rentals for those flying in and out of the country as well as local clients.

In Zambia find companies that serve international travelers, business executives, and all other adults who want to enjoy superior car rental or shuttle services. Alongside the basic rental of a vehicle, car rental agencies typically also offer extra products such as insurance, Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation systems, entertainment systems, and child safety seats.

Keep in mind that you will have to pay for your petrol and this must be factored into the cost of your car hire. If you want to save money why not hire a more fuel efficient car. If your car hire comes with a full tank of petrol make sure you return it with a full tank of petrol to avoid additional charges.

Choosing a vehicle

Car hire in Zambia is comprehensive - offering drivers everything from small, budget-friendly cars to luxurious sedans that will see you driving in style, no wonder its important to think carefully about what kind of vehicle you’ll need. If you’re traveling with children or with a lot of gear, you may want a large sedan or SUV. If you’re simply looking to save money on rental rates and gas, you’ll want to reserve the smallest available model. Some offer a flat weekly rate, but most charge a daily rate plus mileage, insurance and fuel.

Some car rental companies also offer 4x4 vehicles, so if you plan to rough it on your holiday in Zambia, check with the car hire company as to the capabilities of the off road vehicles available.

Road rules

  • Speed limits in and around cities are enforced, but on the open road buses and Land Cruisers fly at speeds of 140kph to 160kph (not advisable if you're behind the wheel!).
  • If you break down, you must place an orange triangle about 6m in front of and behind the vehicle.
  • At police check posts (which are very common) smile, say good morning/afternoon, be very polite and take off your sunglasses. A little respect makes a huge difference to the way you’ll be treated. Mostly you’ll be met with a smile, perhaps asked curiously where you’re from, and waved through without a problem.
  • Vehicles drive on the left side of the road in Zambia - at least most of the time.
  • The wearing of seat belts is compulsory and talking on a mobile phone while driving is illegal. If you plan to use your mobile phone, pick up a hands-free kit beforehand.

Driving licence

All tourists planning on driving a vehicle in Zambia can drive on their own country's licence for up to three months, so unless you're here long term, you won't need an international driver’s licence.