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.

credit

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


Our Recommended Itinerary

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 1

Welcome to Zambia
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 2

Smoke that Thunders

day 3

Wild Kafue
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 4

Puku, lechwe and roan, to name a few

day 5

Tree-climbing lions

day 6

Living Luangwa
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 7

Elephants in reception...?

day 8

A walking safari is a must

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

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Zambia in September

By September things are hotting up in Zambia, as temperatures rise and the increasingly water-stressed animals compete for resources. As more pools dry, fish are exposed – an easy meal for hungry eagles, storks and scavengers. Both predators and prey stay close to the rivers and lion sightings are more common as their range decreases and their movements become more predictable. By the…

North-eastern Zambia

North-eastern Zambia is a vast, varied region – a mix of lush, open grassland, thick riverine forest, beautiful rivers, wetlands and lakes. To the south, the Luangwa Valley area is the most accessible – by Zambian standards – and South Luangwa National Park is one of the country’s best, and most popular, wildlife destinations. Further north, access becomes increasingly difficult.…

Kafue National Park in Zambia

Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest wildlife reserve and also one of the biggest in Africa. It covers more than 22000km² (2500km2 more than South Africa’s Kruger National Park), and the terrain varies significantly from north to south. The park’s top third is separated by the M9 highway and this northern section is defined by rivers, large and small. Seasonal floodplains and…

Public transport in Zambia

Zambian self-drive adventures may become tricky during the rainy season Broadly speaking, there are three options for travelling in and around Zambia: by fly-in safari direct to your lodge, by road on a 4x4 self-drive or transfer, or rather less efficiently, by public transport. While it can be fun, and is definitely the most affordable option, public transport in Zambia is…

Languages in Zambia

Multiple ethnicity in Zambia mean a plethora of languages and dialects Zambia’s official language is English, but there are more than 70 different languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Almost everyone will speak or understand some English and most Zambians living in the urban centres speak it fluently. Signs and official documentation are almost always in English…

Medical emergencies in Zambia

Many safari operators include emergency medical insurance in their rates, but this may only cover the immediate situation and exclude further treatment and/or repatriation. In any event, it’s essential to be fully insured, especially if you’re headed into Zambia’s more remote regions. Every travel insurance policy is different so make sure you know how yours operates. Some policies…

Popular Zambia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...

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City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

 | Luxurious South Africa and Zambia Honeymoon Safari (10 days)

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...

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Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

Boat at sunset | Luxury Zambian Odyssey (7 days)

Luxury Zambian Odyssey (7 days)

One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls...

 | Best of Zambia Wilderness Safari (10 days)

Best of Zambia Wilderness Safari (10 days)

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, and a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of mystery waiting to be uncovered....

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Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

Victoria Falls | Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

Romantic view | Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

 | Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Why not visit more than one exciting African destination? See the Great Migration, Victoria Falls and wildlife-rich Hwange National Park...

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