Zambia is a landlocked country in south-central Africa. It is a little larger than Alberta and is shaped like a giant butterfly. Eight countries share a border with Zambia: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The country is divided into nine provinces and 31 districts.

The sources of two of Africa's largest rivers, the Congo and the Zambezi, are in Zambia. The Zambezi and its main tributaries (the Kafue and the Luangwa) flow through fertile valleys. The valley of the Luangwa River is part of the Great African Rift Valley. Zambia has two spectacular waterfalls, Victoria Falls in Livingstone in the south and Kalambo Falls on Lake Tanganyika in the north.

The Muchinga Escarpment in eastern Zambia rises to 1,800 metres at its highest point. Three large lakes lie in the north: Mweru, Bangweulu and Tanganyika. The southern tip of Lake Tanganyika forms part of the border with Tanzania. Lake Kariba, one of the world's largest artificial lakes, lies along the Zambezi at the Zimbabwe border. A second artificial lake, Iteshi-Teshi, stretches along the Kafue River in Kafue National Park. Both lakes were created by river dams built for hydroelectricity, one of Zambia's important resources.
  Did you know?
The African name for Victoria Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya, "the smoke that thunders." This World Heritage Site is twice as high as Niagara Falls and one-and-a-half times as wide. It is said to be the longest curtain of water on earth.
As most of the country lies about 1,300 metres above sea level, the climate is mild and pleasant. Zambia has a rainy season (November to March), a cool dry season (April to July) and a hot dry season (August to October). Although the temperature in October, the hottest month, can rise above 35C in the river valleys, most of the country has comfortable daytime temperatures and cool nights. In winter, frost is possible.

 Most of the country is open woodland or savanna with acacias, baobabs, thorn bushes and tall grasses. In the south, the vegetation is sparser. Zambian teak, a valuable hardwood, grows in the southwest. A thin forest covers the north and east.

Zambia has 19 national parks and 33 game management areas that help to protect its diverse wildlife. More than 150 species of reptiles, 200 types of mammals, 740 kinds of birds, and thousands of insect species live in these areas. Herds of buffalo, impala, elephant and zebra roam the national parks, especially those in the Luangwa river valley. Many rare and endangered species, such as Thornicroft's giraffe, Cookson's wildebeest and the red lechwe (a type of antelope), are unique to Zambia.