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

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 1

Welcome to Zambia
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 2

Smoke that Thunders

day 3

Wild Kafue
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 4

Puku, lechwe and roan, to name a few

day 5

Tree-climbing lions

day 6

Living Luangwa
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 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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Family safari in Zambia

The last 10 years has seen a marked rise in family-friendly safaris in Zambia, with reduced prices for children and more activities geared towards kids and young adults. Not all lodges allow children, however, and some have age restrictions of eight or 12. Families in general, and especially those with very young children, can find excellent value and flexibility in Zambia’s growing…

Vaccinations for Zambia

The most common vaccinations for Zambia are against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid and hepatitis A. Check the latest regarding the yellow fever vaccine and, if it’s required, don’t lose the little yellow booklet that comes with it. Regulations have relaxed recently, but that yellow booklet has been something of a passport in the region. Not…

Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park is Zambia’s only privately managed park, run by the Kasanka Trust charity in partnership with the local community. At slightly less than 400km2, it’s also one of Zambia’s smallest, lying just south of the Bangweulu Wetlands near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With its wonderful papyrus marshes, swamp forests and miombo woodland it’s one…

Highlights of Zambia

Zambia is perhaps Southern Africa’s best kept secret, although in recent years it’s a secret that’s increasingly being told. For a long time, Botswana and South Africa have been the region’s most popular wildlife and safari destinations, but Zambia is fast emerging as an excellent alternative and indeed, for some experiences, there’s no better place to travel. Zambia has 20…

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park is one of Zambia’s premier wildlife destinations, certainly in the top three with South Luangwa and Kafue. Ravaged by poaching in the 1980s, the park has since recovered well, though tragically the rhino population was wiped out completely. Wildlife viewing is best along the rivers, which border the park on three sides. The Zambezi River itself is the…

Zambia in July

July to October is peak season in Zambia, when game-viewing is at its finest, but lodges and camps also charge their highest rates. This is this the best time to go on safari, with the thinning vegetation making wildlife easier to spot. It’s also the coldest month to visit Zambia, with daytime temperatures around 25°C in the south. Hot days can still reach 30°C, especially in the…

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