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Wildlife in Zambia

Technically Zambia has all the Big Five, but rhino are extremely rare and confined to the Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) and North Luangwa National Parks. Elephant, buffalo and lion are common across multiple parks however, and Kafue, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi are all well-known for leopard.

Buffalo crossing a savannah landscape

Look beyond the Big Five and you’ll find Zambia full of fascinating rare and endemic species such as black lechwe, Crawshay’s zebra and Thornicroft’s giraffe. Liuwa Plain National Park hosts Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration in November each year, and Kasanka National Park’s 10 million fruit bats take to the skies from October to December.

One of nature's toughest predators, crocodiles abound in Zambia's many lakes

One of nature’s toughest predators, crocodiles abound in Zambia’s many lakes

Zambia is one of the wettest countries in Southern Africa and the rivers and lakes offer excellent fishing alongside thriving populations of hippo and crocodile. The Zambezi River is famous for its tigerfish and numerous fishing lodges can be found all along its length.

lion in Zambia

May to October is the best time for wildlife viewing when the weather is drier and the vegetation at its thinnest. This makes the animals easier to spot and the lower winter temperatures are also more pleasant. By mid-October, however, it’s already getting very hot and when the rains arrive in November they can make the roads in the more isolated regions completely impassable. For this reason, many camps close their operations completely between December and March, with April, May and November considered the lower-rate, shoulder season.


The Black-cheeked love bird | Credit: William and Nancy Johnston

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