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Wildlife

Zambia's Wildlife

Wildlife in Zambia

A firm favourite for serious safaris, Zambia has plenty of big game within magical national parks where visitors explore on expert-guided walking safaris as well as 4WD game drives and night drives.


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Zambia is a large country in the heart of Africa. Its relatively low population density and extensive network of national parks means plenty of undeveloped space for wildlife, although most of the country’s best game-viewing is concentrated in a handful of excellent national parks.

The national parks here are set aside just for the wildlife and they’re very much big game country. So Zambia will live up the expectations of fans of big, quintessentially African species like lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and hippo.

As with most African wildlife-viewing, larger wildlife is generally more observed by visitors during Zambia’s dry season, when the large mammals that need to drink daily stay in the vicinity of the remaining watercourses. Then the wildlife around the Kafue, Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers really come into their own.

Zambian wildlife safaris have long proved a favourite among our keen safari-goers for the fully-open vehicles used on safari; for the walking safaris and night drives in the national parks; and for the very high standard of many of the country’s safari guides.

More Expert Africa repeat travellers return to Zambia for a safari than any other country – and that must say something!

Great safaris for wildlife in Zambia

Ideas and inspiration for great holidays focussed on wildlife in Zambia.


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Puku Safari

11 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Discover South Luangwa’s prolific wildlife before exploring the wildly remote pans of Liuwa Plain National Park and relaxing in one of the Livingstone area’s most romantic and exclusive hideaways. A safari of luxury, style and impressive diversity.

US$11,990 - US$15,940 per person

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Perekani Walking Trail

10 days • 5 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Five smart but rustic bushcamps are the comfortable staging-posts for this walking safari in South Luangwa. The route offers outstanding seclusion and rich wildlife with top-quality guiding throughout.

US$8,730 - US$10,090 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$8,340 - US$11,530 per person

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Three luxurious bush-camps in stunning riverside locations, split between the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks, offer a wide variety of expert-guided safari activities in stunning game-rich environments.

US$7,670 - US$9,170 per person

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Oribi Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This is a great safari for those looking to immerse themselves in true wilderness, with few additional frills yet considerable, authentic comfort. The standard of guiding is consistently impressive and the walking safaris throughout are a real highlight.

US$11,360 - US$11,360 per person

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Hippo Safari

9 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Combining excellent game with aspects of remoter safari in South Luangwa, as well as the cultural delights of Livingstone, this trip also makes use of long-stay discounts, making it an excellent-value and well-rounded adventure.

US$7,480 - US$8,580 per person

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Giraffe Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

A safari to the remotest parts of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Perfect for experienced safari goers and first time Africa adventurers. Explore with expert guides whilst staying at small bush camps.

US$7,600 - US$8,480 per person

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Civet Safari

9 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Combining 3 intimate bush camps in the quieter south of the South Luangwa this safari will appeal to those looking for a nice mix of walking and vehicle safari.

US$7,100 - US$8,680 per person

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Defassa Waterbuck Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$7,480 - US$7,500 per person

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Purple Roller Safari

8 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Explore the varied habitats and terrain of Kafue National Park with stays in two wonderfully remote bushcamps. Two sister-camps offer access to the park’s centre as well as the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.

US$7,800 - US$7,800 per person

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Zambia's best camps & lodges for wildlife safaris

The map shows wildlife sightings made from our lodges & camps. It's based on 2995 reports by 427 groups of our our travellers since Mar 2018.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Wildlife species in Zambia

Average % sighting of success

Wildlife species in Zambia

Average % sighting of success

Quick facts about Lion

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Scientific name:

Panthera leo

Habitat:

Savanna & woodland

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

120–225kg

Lion

Quick facts about Leopard

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Scientific name:

Panthera pardus

Habitat:

Savanna, woodland, forest, mountains

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

30–90kg

Leopard

Quick facts about Wild dog

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Scientific name:

Lycaon pictus

Habitat:

Savannah & woodland

IUCN status:

Endangered

Adult weight:

20–36kg

Wild dog

Quick facts about Cheetah

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Scientific name:

Acinonyx jubatus

Habitat:

Grassland & woodland

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

50–70kg

Cheetah

Quick facts about Buffalo

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Scientific name:

Syncerus caffer

Habitat:

Floodplains, mixed bush & moist grasslands

IUCN status:

Near-threatened

Adult weight:

500–950kg

Buffalo

Quick facts about Eland

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Scientific name:

Taurotragus oryx

Habitat:

Open savanna & grasslands

IUCN status:

Least concern

Adult weight:

340–940kg

Eland

Quick facts about Elephant

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Scientific name:

Loxodonta africana

Habitat:

Woodland and savanna

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

2,500–6,500kg

Elephant

Quick facts about Giraffe

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Scientific name:

Giraffa camelopardalis

Habitat:

Woodland savanna

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

800–1,200kg

Giraffe

Quick facts about Hippo

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Scientific name:

Hippopotamus amphibius

Habitat:

Freshwater rivers & wetlands

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

1,300–2,600kg

Hippo

Quick facts about Roan antelope

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Scientific name:

Hippotragus equinus

Habitat:

Savannah woodland

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

180–300kg

Roan antelope

Quick facts about Sable antelope

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Scientific name:

Hippotragus niger

Habitat:

Savannah woodland

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

220–235kg

Sable antelope

Quick facts about Spotted Hyena

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Scientific name:

Crocuta crocuta

Habitat:

Semi-desert, forest, savannah

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

40–80kg

Spotted Hyena

Quick facts about Wildebeest

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Scientific name:

Connochaetes sp.

Habitat:

Open savannah & grasslands

IUCN status:

Least concern

Adult weight:

250–290kg

Wildebeest

Quick facts about Zebra

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Scientific name:

Equus quagga

Habitat:

Woodland and savannah

IUCN status:

Near Threatened

Adult weight:

155–322kg

Zebra

Quick facts about Aardvark

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Scientific name:

Orycteropus afer

Habitat:

Grassland & woodland

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

60–80kg

Aardvark

Quick facts about Pangolin

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Scientific name:

Smutsia temminkii

Habitat:

Savannah woodland

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

5–27kg

Pangolin

Quick facts about Black Rhino

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Scientific name:

Diceros bicornis

Habitat:

Scrub & open woodland

IUCN status:

Critically Endangered

Adult weight:

800–1,400kg

Black Rhino

Quick facts about White Rhino

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Scientific name:

Ceratotherium simum

Habitat:

Woodland savannah

IUCN status:

Near Threatened

Adult weight:

1,800–2,700kg

White Rhino

Quick facts about Sitatunga

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Scientific name:

Tragelaphus spekeii

Habitat:

Swamps and swamp forest

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

24–119kg

Sitatunga

Zambia's key wildlife areas

From the obvious big game species to endemic sub-species, Zambia is great choice for those serious about their immersion in wild areas, to see plenty of wildlife.


Flagship national parks

Top on Zambia’s list for wildlife enthusiasts is its flagship national park, South Luangwa. In the dry season, from around May to November, the Luangwa River shrinks to a series of pools dotted along the sand. Here you’ll find one of of Africa’s highest concentrations of hippos, and lots of animals stopping by for a drink.

The Luangwa Valley has its own endemic sub-species of giraffe, Thornicroft’s giraffe, as well as its own, near-endemic sub-species of zebra (Crawshay’s) and wildebeest (Cookson’s).

Zambia’s Lower Zambezi has a similar feel: a low-lying rift valley with lush vegetation, but this one is bounded by the deep, wide and permanent waters of the great Zambezi River. Canoeing along this, with its resident population of hippos and crocodiles, brings a whole new dimension to viewing wildlife. Look out for the elephant and buffalo which will swim across this, between Zambia and Zimbabwe, stopping to munch the grasses, sedges and herbs from islands in the river.

Higher, slightly cooler the undulating Kafue National Park is also a big attraction for wildlife enthusiasts, with the Busanga Plains being particularly impressive during the late dry season. Cheetah and wild dog are regularly seen here, as are roan and sable antelope, and feisty little oribi.

Zambia’s other wildlife areas receive many fewer visitors. Liuwa Plain is a name to conjure with: a vast grassy plain where an annual wildebeest migration gathers; Karanka National Park, in Northern Zambia, which has one of the world’s densest congregations of mammals in November, as millions of fruit-bats arrive to feast.

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Wildlife

Other top countries for wildlife

To understand the wildlife in other countries in Africa, click on the countries here.