12 Interesting Animals in Zambia – You May Not Know About

Zambia is a landlocked African country, and there are many natural habitats that supports diverse interesting animals in Zambia.

interesting animals in zambia

It is home to many natural resources that include Rivers in Zambia, grand Victoria Falls, and the Luangwa River, a hotspot for hippos. The Zambian hippo gathers in massive pods of 60 or more, wallowing and honking by day, feeding by night.

The big five and many endangered animals were widespread outside reserves and parks, too, but in 1998 the rhinoceros was declared extinct in Zambia, thanks to rampant poaching.

The transnational waters of Lake Tanganyika support a great diversity of amazing animals and fishes, much of it unique and exploited by the international aquarium trade, as well as crocodile, hippo, and aquatic birds.

Interesting National Parks in Zambia

  • Blue Lagoon National Park: It is small but famous for its rare bird species.
  • Kafue National Park: The privately operated park.
  • Kasanka National Park: National park with highest number of visitors.
  • South Luangwa National Park: This park offers walking safaris.

The Lower Zambezi National Park and Sioma Ngwezi National Park, which is home to herds of rare wild animals such as elephants and wildebeests who migrate to and from parks in Namibia and Botswana.

interesting animals in zambia

In Zambia, the zebra is very common and can easily be seen in most parks, usually in large herds with wildebeest. Moreover, Elephants can also be seen throughout Zambia’s national parks.

Zambia has growing populations in South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks. Additionally, there’s a small captive breeding program in Lusaka.

The best season to spot the incredible animals is the ‘green season’ from November to May, however, sightings are still rare. Over the last hundred years, African wild dog populations have depleted from half a million to an estimated 6,000, largely due to human hunting.

Interesting Fact: African wild dogs are neither wolves nor dogs.

Get ready to learn all about Zambian animals

12 Interesting Animals in Zambia – (With Interesting Pictures)

White Rhinos

interesting animals in zambia

The largest species of rhinoceros is white rhinos. It was once rare in southern Africa due to poaching. However, in 2010 the Zambia Wildlife Authority relocated four white rhinos from South Africa to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Today, a herd of over 10 lives near Victoria Falls, heavily guarded to avoid further poaching.

Southern African Lion

interesting animals in zambia

Name: Southern African lion

Scientific Name: Panthera leo melanochaita

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Similarly to the African bush elephant, the Southern African lion. It is restricted to national parks in Zambia. Although it used to be much more common and widespread in the country. The populations of these interesting lions have been increasing in heavily protected areas since the turn of the 21st century. But largely declined in eastern African countries, as well as in Zambia.

African Zebras

interesting animals in zambia

Zebras live in herds of 20 to 100 in the grasslands of most National Parks within Zambia, though they have the highest population in South Luangwa. These are one of the interesting animals in Zambia, that are the prey of many other interesting predators in Zambia. Such as lions, leopards, alligators, and cheetahs.

Zebras find safety in large numbers. When standing in large groups, their black and white stripes create an optical illusion to intimidate and confuse potential predators. This distinct subspecies of the plains zebra can be found in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park

African Lions

interesting animals in zambia

The king of the jungle spends most of his time hunting or lounging in the grassland areas of Zambia. The southern region of South Luangwa and Kafue National Park both have large prides within small territories. So your chances of spotting one of these majestic felines are fairly good. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a pride of lions climbing trees in Kafue, where they are known to be extra playful.

The African savanna elephant has been classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as an Endangered species and interesting animal in Zambia.


interesting animals in zambia

The tallest animals in the world are giraffes, that graze on trees in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks. The subspecies of giraffe, the Thornycroft’s giraffe, has unique markings and are unique to Zambia.

Giraffes live in herds of about 20 and use their long, muscular necks to eat leaves over four meters above the ground and fight off threats when needed. These are interesting animals in Zambia and one of the most unique species in their habitats.

White-tailed Mongoose

interesting animals in zambia

This carnivore is the largest of all mongooses. Its hind legs are longer than its front legs and its back. Travelers are most likely to see the solitary, nocturnal animal during the night time safari. Even if you don’t see it, you may hear its high-pitched cry or smell its skunk-like odor, which is used to fend off predators

The white-tailed mongoose is characterized by its distinctive appearance. It has a sleek and elongated body, with short legs and a pointed snout. Its fur can vary in color from gray to brown, with a lighter underbelly.

White-tailed mongooses inhabit a variety of habitats, including grasslands, savannas, woodlands, and even forested areas. These Mongooses are one of the most interesting animals in zambia.

Thornicroft’s Giraffe

interesting animals in zambia

The Thornicroft’s giraffe has dark, large leaf-shaped spots that travel down its cream-colored leg. This subspecies (also referred to as the Rhodesian giraffe) was named after Harry Scott Thornicroft, the commissioner of North-Western Rhodesia.

You can recognized by its stunning skin pattern. Thornicroft’s Giraffes are isolated to Luangwa Valley in Zambia. Thornicroft’s Giraffe is a subspecies only found in Luangwa Valley.

Blue Wildebeest

interesting animals in zambia

Name: Blue wildebeest

Scientific name: Connochaetes taurinus

Conservation status: Least concern

The blue wildebeest, also known as the white-bearded gnu or the brindled gnu. It is a large species of antelope native to southern and eastern Africa, where it is extremely common and widespread. There are about 1.5 million individuals in the wild.

African Buffalo

interesting animals in zambia

Name: African Buffalo

Scientific name: Syncerus caffer

Conservation status : Near threatened

The African buffalo is a large species of bovine, native to much of sub-Saharan Africa. Usually, it stays near different water bodies, and it has a large bone shield on top of its head. It is one of the most dangerous animals on the entire African continent, being known to attack, gore, trample and kill humans (more than 200 people each year!). This easily explains why it has never been domesticated.

Ground Pangolin

interesting animals in zambia

Name: Ground pangolin

Scientific name: Smutsia temminckii

Conservation status : Vulnerable

The ground pangolin, also known as the steppe pangolin, the Cape pangolin, or Temminck’s pangolin. It is a large species of pangolin found in eastern, central, and southern Africa.

This pangolin species is considered vulnerable to extinction. This peculiar mammal is covered in large, protective scales and exclusively feeds on ants and termites. They are particularly selective and only eats specific ant and termite species.

Kafue Lechwe

interesting animals in zambia

The Kafue Lechwe is a unique antelope species native to the Kafue Flats region in Zambia, Africa. It is a subspecies of the more widespread Lechwe.

The Kafue Lechwe is known for its distinctive adaptations to its semi-aquatic environment. It has elongated hooves that enable it to move efficiently in marshy and watery habitats, such as floodplains and swamps.

Its legs are longer compared to other antelope species, helping them to walk through water and mud. The coat of the Kafue Lechwe is reddish-brown, which provides them camouflage in its marshy surroundings. Males typically have lyre-shaped horns that can grow quite long, while females usually lack horns or have much smaller ones.

These antelopes are strong swimmers and can move easily in the water. When threatened, they often seek refuge in deeper waters as a defense mechanism. They are social animals and live in herds that can vary in size, from a few individuals to larger groups, providing them protection against predators.

Cape Buffalo

interesting animals in zambia

The Cape buffalo is a large and robust animal with a distinctive appearance. It possesses a stocky body, a massive head, and a pair of formidable, curved horns. These horns are fused at the base, forming a solid “boss” that protects the forehead.

Both males (bulls) and females (cows) have horns, but those of the bulls are usually larger and more impressive.

Interesting Fact The cape buffalo is the subspecies of the African buffalo.

Cape buffaloes inhabit a wide variety of habitats, from grasslands and savannas to forests and swamps. They are found across sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from South Africa to the Sahel region in the north.

These adaptable animals can thrive in diverse environments, making them one of the most widely distributed large herbivores on the continent. Cape buffaloes are highly social animals and typically live in herds of varying sizes. A dominant female often leads the herds and can include both males and females.

FAQs about Interesting Animals in Zambia

What is the Nnational animal of Zambia?

The national animal of Zambia is the African fish eagle.

What are the main animals in Zambia?

The main animals in Zambia include the ferocious Lion, the majestic Elephant, the enigmatic Leopard, the boisterous Buffalo, and the riotous Rhinoceros.

What are the big five of wildlife in Zambia?

The big five of wildlife in Zambia are the Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, and Rhinoceros.

What is the most interesting wild animal?

The most interesting wild animal in Zambia is the African leopard.

What animals live in Zambia?

Zambia is abundant in all kinds of unique wildlife. They include primates such as vervet monkeys , bushbabies, and baboons.

Olivia Kepner