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Page excerpts taken from Wikipedia

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Zambia's "big game" wildlife (including sports fishing) is the foundation of its tourism industry, now one of its biggest employers and foreign-exchange earners; Victoria Falls and cultural events come second and third in importance. 

Wildlife regions

Northern Province

  • Nsumbu National Park/Kaputa GMA/Mweru Wantipa National Park is a contiguous area stretching from the hills at the north-east end of Lake Mweru to Lake Tanganyika, rich in wildlife particularly at the eastern end, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It has been under pressure due to the Second Congo War in neighbouring DR Congo and a consequent influx of refugees. Mweru Wantipa has seen an influx of people engaged in fishing, and protection in the west of this region has not been enforced for decades.

  • The transnational waters of Lake Tanganyika support a great diversity of fish, much of it unique and exploited by the international aquarium trade, as well as crocodile, hippo and aquatic birds. The often precipitous sides of the rift valley extending around the south-eastern extremity of the lake to Kalambo Falls are also a wildlife habitat for birds, smaller mammals, reptiles and leopards.

  • Bangweulu Wetlands: these internationally recognised wetlands and their south-eastern buffer zone include Lavushi Manda and Isangano National Parks, and the Chambeshi, Luwingu and Bangweulu GMAs. Kasanka in Central Province is also part of the southern buffer zone. The wetlands are vital for the breeding of a number of bird species and as a feeding ground for migratory birds, as well as for the black lechwesitatunga and numerous large mammals. They are under pressure from poaching, fishing and livestock grazing, and chitemene cultivation on the margins.


Muchinga Province

  • Muchinga escarpment overlooking the Luangwa Valley: the rocky hills and scarps do not host a huge amount of wildlife, but smaller mammals, birds and leopards do make it their home. Although North and the northern part of South Luangwa National Park are technically in the Muchinga Province, primary access to the parks is from Eastern Province so they are covered in that section.

  • Nyika National Park: the Nyika Plateau in the north-east is mostly in Malawi, Zambia's small portion is noted for its montane vegetation, orchids and other vegetation, as well as herds of eland, zebra and other animals such as leopards.


Luapula Province

  • Lake Mweru-Luapula River system: the Zambian side of this transnational lake and river system has a relatively high human population. Wildlife is restricted mainly to the plentiful bird life, and aquatic animals in the lake and swamps, such as hippos, crocodiles and otters. The lechwe population which grazed the floodplain mainly on the Congolese side has been hunted out. The lake and swamp lagoons have been heavily fished and stocks depleted.

  • The inaccessible Lusenga Plain National Park on the plateau east of the lake has been heavily depleted by poaching.

  • Lake Bangweulu: the south-east of Luapula Province extends over the lake and into the swamps: see the wetlands ecosystem under Northern Province, above. Crocodiles are plentiful in the lake which is also home to hippo. The lake fish stocks have been depleted.


Eastern Province

  • Most of the Luangwa Valley is protected by national parks or GMAs comprising one of the world's greatest wildlife areas: North Luangwa National ParkSouth Luangwa National ParkLuambe National Park and Lukusuzi National Parks, and Munyamadzi, Musalangu, Mukumgule, Lupande, Lumimba, Sandwe, Chisomo GMAs. Animals are plentiful and mostly well-protected, though poaching of elephant and rhinoceros has been a problem in the recent past.

  • In the Luangwa Valley over 100,000 elephants were killed by poachers in a twelve-year period between 1973-1985. Zambia as a whole lost over 80% of its elephant population during that period.


Copperbelt Province

The most urban and industrial of Zambia's provinces lacks wildlife, except in the south-west where in flooded grassland habitats interspersed with miombo woodland, and except for birdlife, which is well represented near rivers and small lakes between towns.

  • Chembe Bird Sanctuary west of Kitwe includes crocodiles and sitatunga as well as plentiful bird life.


Central Province

  • The north-east of this province reaches the margins of the Bangweulu wetlands - see Northern Province — and includes Kasanka National Park.

  • The eastern end of the province reaches South Luangwa National Park but the latter's access is in Eastern Province, see above.

  • Kafue National Park and the Mulobezi, Sichifulo, Mumbwa, Kasonso-Busanga, Lunga-Luswishi, Namwala, Bilili Springs, and Nkala GMAs are the second most important wildlife area in the country, so large that it is spread across two other provinces — Southern and North Western. The Busanga Swamps and plain in the north hosts the largest concentration of mammals and birds, while the Kafue River and lake of the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam are home to hippos, crocodiles and aquatic birds as well as being well stocked with fish.

  • The northern part of the Kafue Flats and Blue Lagoon National Park are in Central Province, but are treated under Southern Province, below.

  • The Lunsemfwa and Lukusashi River valleys and their northern escarpment, at the western end of the Luangwa Valley, lie in Central Province and represent a wildlife area with some potential, protected by GMAs to some extent.

  • Lukanga Swamp bordering the Lunga-Luswishi GMA and its less populated western margin is potentially a wildlife haven, especially for aquatic birds and animals, but is heavily fished.


Lusaka Province

  • Lower Zambezi National Park and adjacent Chiawa, Luano, and Rufunsa GMAs make up the third most important wildlife region, with most of the Zambian fauna represented. The Zambezi river also provides aquatic habitats. The opposite bank of the river in Zimbabwe is also national park and animals may cross the river.

  • The southern side of the Lunsemfwa River valley and the lower Luangwa valley border Lusaka province, and provide good wildlife habitats protected by GMAs.

  • The Kafue Flats extend slightly into the south-western part of Lusaka Province, but are treated under Southern Province, below.

  • Lusaka National Park, a small wildlife reserve established in 2011.


North-Western Province

  • Game-rich Busanga in Kafue National Park is part of North-Western Province and animals from the park range into the Kasonso-Busanga GMA.

  • West Lunga National Park and its adjacent Chibwika-Ntambo, Lukwakwa and Musele-Matebo GMAs are undeveloped and have been depleted but hold promise for recovery.

  • The western extremity of the province include the Zambezi and its floodplain, treated under Western Province, below.


Western Province

  • The Zambezi River and its wide Barotse Floodplain represent a vast fish and aquatic wildlife habitat, important also for many grazing animals and birds. Islands in the river and floodplain present habitats where birds may nest with relative freedom from predators.

  • The Liuwa Plain and Sioma Ngwezi National Parks and the vast West Zambezi GMA comprise plains which are home to thousands of grazing animals. Neighboring Angola is recovering from the civil war there.

  • The dry teak forests of the south-eastern part of the province have been over-exploited and the wildlife, never very common on the sandy soils, has also suffered.


Southern Province

This has the highest proportion of commercial farmland of any Zambian province. In these areas wildlife has been displaced. However the north-east of the state includes Kafue National Park (see Central Province above), as well as:

  • The Kafue Flats, a huge floodplain and an important wildlife habitat principally for lechwe, and aquatic and other birds. Over 400 bird species have been recorded at the small Lochinvar National Park, famous among bird-watchers throughout the world. The northern part of the flats, including the Blue Lagoon National Park are in Central Province, while the north-eastern end extends slightly into Lusaka Province. The ecology of the floodplain has been adversely affected by the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam.

  • Lake Kariba: the more populated Zambian side of the lake has less diverse wildlife than the Zimbabwean side, but the lake is still a significant site for fish and aquatic animals and birds.

  • Zambezi River, Victoria Falls National Park, Batoka Gorge, and Kariba Gorge and Kafue Gorge in the east: in Southern Privince the river does not have a broad flood plain as it does in Western Province, but the river and islands are still a good wildlife habitat. The gorges are a haven for raptors, reptiles and small mammals.

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