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Money and duty free for Zambia

Currency and Money

Currency information

The Zambian currency is the kwacha, K (international currency code ZMW), which is equivalent to 100 ngwee. Zambian banknotes are in denominations of K100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of K1 and 50, 10 and 5 ngwee.

Note: On 1 January 2013, the Zambia government re-based the Zambian currency. The old currency code was ZMK. One new kwacha (ZMW) is equivalent to 1000 old kwacha (ZMK). The old banknotes cannot used as currency after 1 July 2014, but can be exchanged for new kwacha at the Bank of Zambia until 31 December 2015.

Payments within Zambia can be made in kwachas only, by law, even if the price is quoted in USD; foreign currency will not be accepted once you have cleared immigration at the airport.

Credit cards

Most hotels, restaurants, travel agents and bigger shops accept credit cards. Visa is more readily accepted than MasterCard or American Express.


ATMs are available within Lusaka and some of the major towns in Zambia. Standard Chartered and Barclays Bank have ATMs which accept Visa but not MasterCard.

Travellers cheques

Travellers cheques are widely accepted, though no longer commonly used. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US dollars, euros or pounds sterling.

Banking hours

Vary from bank to bank. Most are open Mon-Fri 0830-1430 but some stay open until 1600. Some banks also open from 0815-1030 or 1200 on Saturdays.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to ZMW0.1. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that can be imported as long as it is declared on arrival.

Currency exchange

Exchange of foreign currency is carried out at authorised banks and bureaux de change.

Zambia duty free


The following items may be imported into Zambia by travellers over 18 years without incurring customs duty:

• 400 cigarettes or 500g of cigars or 500g of tobacco.
• 1.5L of spirits and 2.5L of wine and 2.5L of clear beer.
• Goods to the value of US$1,000.

Banned Imports

Prohibited items include counterfeit bank notes and coins, obscene material, pirated or counterfeit goods and prison-made goods.

Restricted items include animals, plants and their products, medicines and drugs, minerals and precious stones, and firearms and ammunition.

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