Leopard Luangwa


Lions, South Luangwa

I lived in Zambia throughout 1991 and went back twice on holiday. I am still in love with the country, the people and the bush. Mammals were pretty sparse over much of the place, but national parks like Northern Kafue and South Luangwa are world class.

Wet season, South Luangwa

In the early 1990s at least, the emphasis in the parks was on more expensive safari camps and fewer people than in some other bits of the continent. As a result it was not uncommon to spend several hours on morning, evening and night safaris and not see another vehicle. Life was a perpetual adventure there.

Car ferry, Kasanka

I haven’t been there since 1993 and things are bound to have changed, hopefully for the better. But so far as I can tell although the country has enjoyed considerable economic development, the safari experience remains as wild as it ever was.

Black Lechwe, Kobus leche smithemani, Bangwelu

Bangwelu Swamps

Two nights August 1993. Not a fantastic spot for mammals, but an interesting place more famous for its Shoebill Storks. Walking across the floating matted vegetation was an experience: like walking on a water bed except every so often I would tread on a weak spot and my leg would disappear down to my thigh. I saw Southern Reedbuck, Black Lechwe, Topi (Tsessebe) and Oribi.

Shoebill Camp, Bangwelu.

I also drove my buddy’s Landcruiser off the causeway and got it stuck in the swamp which caused considerable difficulty for a few hours and a frosty evening with my girlfriend.  But I thought I saw a rat swimming in the swamp and got distracted.


Several days in January 1992 and August 1993. Not much in the way of larger mammals, but with excellent Sitatunga viewing, and a spectacular fruit bat camp each Christmas when a million or so Straw-coloured Fruit Bats take up residence in the forest.

Canoeing in Kasanka

During two short visits to Kasanka I saw South African Galago and Brown Greater Galago, Southern Reedbuck, Kinda (formerly Yellow) Baboon, Puku, Waterbuck, Red (Lichtensein’s) Hartebeest, Bush Duiker, Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Straw-coloured Fruit Bat and Sitatunga.

Sunset, Kafue National Park

Northern Kafue (Mufupwa lodge)

Three nights July 91. An excellent area for finding some of the more unusual mammals in Zambia. The guys at the lodge – in 1991 at least – burnt a good deal of the grass around the place which helped the spotlighting no end. This is one of the few places in Zambia where Aardvark are often reported. Not – I hate to say – by me.

During a 3 night stay I saw Kinda Baboon, Leopard, Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, Serval (my first and only sighting in Zambia), White-tailed Mongoose, Genet (probably Angolan Genet), Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku, Lechwe, Waterbuck, Cape Porcupine, Red (Lichtenstein’s) Hartebeest , Roan Antelope, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Blue Wildebeest, Side-striped Jackal, Impala.

Zebra, Southern Kafue

Southern Kafue

A few days during Easter 91. A disappointing trip to Southen Kafue, though it was the worse time of year for game viewing. The end of the wet season means animals are dispersed and the grass is long. That said, I still saw Chacma Baboon, Southern Reedbuck, Burchell’s Zebra Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku,Waterbuck, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Hippo, Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Blue Wildebeest, Rock Hyrax, Impala.

South Luangwa

Trips in October 91, December 92 and August 93 – a glorious national park, with few visitors and one hell of a lot of wildlife. Rightly famous for its Leopards, it has a wide collection of interesting wildlife, including some nice mongoose species, and abundant Four-toed Elephant Shews.

Four-toed Elephant Shrew, Petrodromus tetradactylus, South Luangwa

During the 15 or so nights I’ve spent in the park I’ve see Masai Giraffe (the Thornicroft subspecies), probabe Angolan (Large spotted) Genet, Yellow Baboon, Leopard (five different sightings in one night!),

Leopard, South Lunagwa. Christmas morning, 1992.

Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, White-tailed Mongoose, Meller’s Mongoose (this seems to be one of the few places in Africa where they are regularly reported), Dwarf Mongoose, Common Slender Mongoose, Elephant, Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku, Waterbuck, Cape Porcupine, Hippo, African Civet, Smith’s Bush Squirrel

Spotted Hyena, South Luangwa

Four-toed Elephant Shrew (often), Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Blue Wildebeest (Cookson’s subspecies), Spotted Hyena, Red (Lichtenstein’s) Hartebeest, Sharpe’s Grysbok, Bushveld Gerbil (around Chamalandu Camp).

Elephant, Chiawa Camp

Zambezi Valley

An overnight canoe trip and then three nights at Chiawa Camp both in 1991, During the canoe trip down the Zambezi I saw Elephant, Hippo, Rock Hyrax and Klipspringer.

Lion, Chiawa Camp

At the spectacular Chiawa camp I saw Chacma Baboon, Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, Wild Cat, Elephant, Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Eland, Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku, Waterbuck, Cape Porcupine, Hippo, African Civet, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Marsh Mongoose (rare), Vervet Monkey, Spotted Hyena, Impala.

David Livingstone died here, at the edge of the Bangwelu Swamps

Community Reports

Zambia, 2019Alex Meyer, 5 days & 38 species including Four-toed Elephant Shrew, Meller’s Mongoose, Fat Mouse and Large-eared Slit-faced Bat.

Zambia, 2019: Nate Dias, 3 weeks & 41 species including Lord Derby’s Anomalure, Serval and Sable.

Zambia, 2019: Samuel Marlin, 21 days & 46 species including Wild DogBushy-tailed MongooseHoney Badger and Sitatunga.

Zambia, 2019: Ben Leigh, 12 days & 36 species including Honey Badger, Spotted-necked Otter, Roan and Sable.

Zambia, 2016Fiona Reid, 11 days with species including Myotis welwitschiiLord Derby’s Anomalure and a Water Mongoose.

Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, 2016: Wise Birding, 18 days & 55 species including Brown Hyena, Caracal, Wild Dog and Bushveld Sengi.

Dubai & Southern Africa, 2012: Bob Berghaier, 1 week and an interesting report with the highlights including Oryx, Arabian and Sand Gazelles in Dubai, and a Honey Badger in Chobe (Botswana).

Zambia & Malawi, 2011: Dominique Brugiere, 6 weeks & 51 species including Sable, Spot-necked Otters, Bush Hyrax and Bushy-tailed Mongoose.

Southern Africa, 2008-09: Vadimir Dinets’s notes of a long trip through 9 Countries. Many mammals including Yellow-backed Duiker and Bushy-tailed & Meller’s Mongooses in Zambia.

Zambia, 2004: Sjef Ollers, 2 weeks & 35+ species including Wild Dogs and Serval.

Also See

Mystery Mongoose in Northern Kafue, October 2022

RFI: Aardvarks and Aardwolves in Zambia and Zimbabwe, April 2021



Chris and Mathilde Stuart’s website has mammal checklists for several areas in Zambia including Kasanka National Park and the Bangwelu wetlands.

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