From the flowing majesty of the Zambezi River to the lush landscapes of a luxury safari tour, Zambia has a kaleidoscope of unique settings dotted with wild wonders.
Wherever you plan to travel, you’ll not be able to escape the pleasures of watching wildlife in Zambia’s landscapes thrive in their natural habitat. Known as living, breathing treasures of Southern Africa, the animals of this captivating country personify the vibrant zest of Zambia by its unique attributes.
Image by Henning Borgersen on Unsplash
Unsure which spotted, feathered, and scaled species roam the picturesque plains of Zambia? We’ll guide you through this country’s friendly and fierce creatures to prepare you for taking a wondrous walk on the wild side of wildlife in Zambia.
Zambia Animals to Look Out For
Whether you’re searching through dry grass or perusing the blue skies, you’ll find all kinds of animals sprinkled throughout these spaces. Take a look at some of the most exciting encounters you can look forward to on your Zambia tour:
Often referred to as the king of the jungle, these often maned marvels in Zambia are known as one of the world’s biggest populations of their kind. These prides of felines can often be witnessed on safari excursions, either enjoying the afternoon sun belly-up or stalking their prey (much like the domestic house cat).
While known for their ferocity and killer instinct, these clawed creatures often sleep around 18 hours a day. As these are social cat species, often operating in a group setting, there are usually more sightings to follow shortly after.
One example of animal competitors for prey in Zambia is lions and hyenas, as they tend to eat the same animals. Hyenas would often steal the victorious spoils of lions, which usually results in a tense and aggressive interaction.
Top Wildlife Watching Spot: The South Luangwa National Park is the perfect place to catch some lions in action, with dry, low plains covering the plains. This park is also known to be less condensed with seas of curious tourists, so you’ll have an intimate encounter with these amazing animals.
A popular meal for the mammal mentioned above, these striped species are a phenomenal sight to see. Whether they’re grooming one another or drinking at the nearest watering hole, these animals in Zambia are abundant in this country’s grassland terrain of its wildlife parks.
These funky patterned animals move and graze in groups, which is referred to as a dazzle and zeal (yes, you read that right). In eastern Zambia, you’ll find the native subspecies of the Crawshay’s zebra, which is distinguishable by its narrower stripes.
Top Wildlife Watching Spot: While zebras can be spotted in most parks in Zambia, head to the South Luangwa National Park to see them frolic in a dazzling display.
African Savanna Elephants
The towering treasures of the Big Five of Africa, elephants are a token piece to see on a safari adventure. From their curling trunks to their terrifying tusks, these giant spectacles have various exotic trimmings that make them vulnerable to poachers.
The African savanna elephant has been classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as an Endangered species and appears on the IUCN Red List. Luckily, many parks have implemented anti-poaching methods, such as various initiatives with local communities, to save these gentle (unless provoked) giants.
Top Wildlife Watching Spot: From the Lower Zambezi National Park to the Kafue National Park, elephants often splash about in rivers nearby.
With merely a pair of eyes and tiny ears bobbing about the surface of freshwater rivers, the mighty hippopotamus is a force to be reckoned with. These floating herbivores are abundant in Zambia and can be pretty fun to spot on a river cruise or traveling through the wetlands.
While they might appear doughy and slick in form, these beasts are brutal when threatened by foreign entities. From its large bottom teeth to its running abilities, once you hear a hippo roar in aggression, it could mean a quick goodbye to enemies nearby.
Top Wildlife Watching Spot: Keep a lookout at the Chongwe River in the Lower Zambezi National Park to see if you can spot some drifting blobs of gray.
While it can be easy to name the most abundant and easily spotted animals in Zambia, what are some creatures that only allow some rare and magnificent glimpses? From blending into bushes to lazing about in trees, leopard encounters can be a challenging experience.
This dotted predator often hunts alone and is primarily active at night, making this fast creature a nocturnal animal. They seldom stay in one place within a park area so tracking leopards can be tricky.
While the African plains are known to host various scavengers, such as hyenas and vultures, leopards often drag their kills of the day into the trees. So, if you happen to spot a few gnawed bones in surrounding trees, you’ll know why.
Top Wildlife Watching Spot: The Mfuwe area in the iconic South Luangwa National Park is your best chance of catching a glimpse of this fierce feline.
African Fish Eagles
While there are many unique birds found in Zambia, nothing echoes louder than the majestic call of the African Fish Eagle. Known as the national animal of Zambia, spotting this swooping shadow will genuinely be one of the highlights of your trip.
This large creature of flight bares a resemblance to the bald eagle known to represent the symbol of freedom in America, but it has its own unique flair. You’ll often find these birds around bodies of water that have a large source of fish to catch with their terrifying talons.
The African Fish Eagle on the hunt for an aquatic creature is a spectacular sight to see, as this bird is known to swoop down at a whopping 20 mph.
Top Wildlife Watching Spot: These winged wonders are often perched around trees near lakes and rivers. Some sightings of this interesting animal have also been documented at the Kasanka National Park, which is known as a small national park in Zambia.
Final Thoughts on Zambia Wildlife
From grass-munching zebras to soaring sights of the Zambian national animal, this country is the perfect place to witness the circle of life in glorious detail. By exploring and experiencing nature at work, you’ll be able to gain a newfound love of the animal world and its magical, common and weird endangered animals.