Zambia's currency is Kwacha, but they trade with US dollars too!
This is how it works:
Camping sites, nature parks, pontoon crossings, lodges and activities will charge you in USD no other currency. If you are stuck they might offer you a bad rate, so if you don’t want to pay more for your pennies, arrive with US dollars!
The shops and fuel stations only accept Kwacha as payment and most fuel stations do not have card facilities so you need cash for that.
On the US Dollar side: PLEASE NOTE, NO $ bank notes printed before 2006 will be accepted, so if you arrive with $ in cash, make sure it’s new – the newer the safer!
The ATM's will give you Kwacha, so you can arrive with your credit card to get the buying currency.
The other option is to go to the nearest Bureau de Change now this in itself is interesting, seldom will you find a Western Union Forex exchange building, but often you will find a shipping container with a small FOREX sign on it in which you can change your cash for Kwacha and you’ll even get a Bank of Zambia invoice with it!
My suggestion is that you carry your USD is a small purse or wallet and the Kwacha in a money bag – the currency is so weak that you’ll be paying in K 50 000’s and getting K10 000 and K20 000 change. The standard wallet/purse will get full fast!
Happy spending in Zambia!