Ticking off the species checklist in Zambia

Zambia is generally known to be off the beaten track. Most people who have travelled to all the top wildlife destinations get to a point where they hunger for something untouched and unspoilt. That’s Zambia.” – Abraham Banda. 

Regarded by many as one of the last true wildernesses, Zambia is often referred to as Africa’s greatest secret – and with good reason. Visitor numbers are small and Zambia’s vast areas of pristine wilderness and abundance of wildlife make it a must-visit destination for all safari-goers — exclusivity, with no compromising on all the bells and whistles of an unforgettable safari experience.

Safari season is off to a roaring start this year with already incredible sightings of large packs of wild dogs, herds of elephants, new lion coalitions and leopard cubs, reminding us that the true heroes of the bush are: the extraordinary wildlife, the small but significant creatures and the highly-regarded safari guides who are our guardians across these wonderfully wild destinations.

Guides of Nature 

Zambia is renowned as a destination with some of the best guides in Africa. There are various levels to guiding all of which require intense theoretical studying and practical training with already qualified guides to learn the tricks of the trade. To head up any safari activity be it by boat, foot, canoe or vehicle, guides have to be qualified for each activity individually. The reason behind all the necessary qualifications is not only to learn the ‘how to’ of the activity but to ensure the safety of the guest at all times. 

In the words of Abraham Banda, safari guide of +30 years in South Luangwa National Park, who had the privilege of learning the guiding ropes from the late Norman Carr himself: Guiding isn’t just a job. It’s a way of life, in every aspect. The book of nature is vast which means that we are always learning.”

Many of the now safari guides in Zambia grew up (and still live) in remote villages which were near to or on the outskirts of a National Park so from a young age, wildlife encounters right on their doorstep were (and still are) common. In order to survive living amongst wildlife meant learning animal behaviour early in life, and in turn, how to conduct oneself during an encounter. 

As a young child, I was surrounded by wildlife daily, which is when my love for them began. I vividly remember being blocked by a herd of elephants on several occasions. The elephants and I used the same trail to cross the main route – they were heading to the Zambezi River from the escarpment for a drink and to cool off from the midday heat while I was making my way to school.

Seeing these giants roaming freely in the heart of Africa touched my soul. Fast forward to today, I believe that I am a student of life. I learn every day. The more you ask me questions, the more I learn.” – Costain Dube Tembo, safari guide for 10 years in Lower Zambezi National Park.

I developed a passion for guiding because of my father who worked alongside Norman Carr. During school holidays our dad would bring books home and teach us how to use binoculars. That’s when my passion for wildlife began.” – Julius Njovu, safari guide for 17 years in South Luangwa National Park.

The Magnificent Seven

The Big Five, but better. We don’t mean to brag, but travellers visiting Zambia get to see more than just the Big Five. This country has what’s known as the Magnificent Seven – the Big Five, but with the added bonus of two incredibly special predators. Allow us to introduce you to the Magnificent Seven:

Wild Dog

Six of the Magnificent Seven can be seen when visiting our properties in Liuwa Plain National Park, South Luangwa National Park and Lower Zambezi National Park, so if you’re looking to tick these off your species check-list (minus the crowds), a trip to Zambia is in order. Sightings of Rhino can only be seen in North Luangwa National Park.

Small and Significant 

For our safari-goers who find joy in the little things, be sure to keep a lookout for the Little Five during your Zambian safari. The Little Five are the smaller species of the bush, but are just as special:

Ant Lion
Leopard Tortoise 
Buffalo Weaver
Elephant Shrew
Rhino Beetle 

The wilderness in Zambia is vast, boasting a plethora of vegetation. For our return-to-the-wild explorers who opt for a walking safari or bush walk, you can expect to tick the Green Five off your species check-list too:

Lion’s Tail
Leopard Orchid 
Buffalo Thorn 
Elephant Grass 
Rhino Thistle 

Bird life in Zambia is plentiful. There are 450 bird species in South Luangwa National Park, 378 bird species in Lower Zambezi National Park and 334 bird species in Liuwa Plain National Park, making our destinations a true birder’s paradise, even more so during Green Season

It is for this very reason that Time + Tide offers guests activities spanning land and water. We believe that an authentic safari is best experienced by immersing yourself and becoming one with nature – the big, the small and the magnificent. 


    Book your safari and experience Zambia with us

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    Zambia is Africa's best kept secret, with its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife and welcoming culture. Trace the steps of early conservationists while experiencing walking safaris in the South Luangwa. Come face to face with giants as you glide quietly in a canoe along the reeds in the Lower Zambezi. Feel the rumble of a distant thunderstorm on Liuwa Plain’s horizon as you marvel at the sight of gathering wildebeest amongst a flush of colourful wildflowers.



    Fringed by white sand beaches and colourful coral reefs, Miavana is a haven of luxury at the ends of the Earth. Raw and refined, this private island sanctuary brings together world-class luxury in a world of rare wildlife and extraordinary landscapes. Madagascar is like nowhere else on the planet. A land of lemurs and chameleons, turtles and terns, where unknown species are still being discovered to this day. Miavana is the ultimate destination for modern-day explorers, an adventure playground offering an unrivalled range of activities that span the horizons of land, sea and air, celebrating the very best of this remarkable region.


    South Luangwa

    Just a one hour flight from Lusaka, the South Luangwa is known for its big cat sightings and often referred to as the Valley of the Leopard. It is in the South Luangwa that the legendary Norman Carr pioneered the walking safari and conservation-based tourism in Africa. Zambia's outstanding reputation of guiding is ever prevalent in our team with some of our guides having trained with Norman himself.  Our guides offer guests a raw, authentic safari experience and don't let the finer details in these vast spaces pass you by. 


    Liuwa Plain

    Liuwa Plain’s vast savannah is one of the oldest conservation areas in Africa, yet it’s one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. With its golden grasslands and shimmering lagoons, Liuwa Plain transforms with the arrival of the rains from a vast grass plains to a watery wonderland.


    Lower Zambezi

    Nestled between the imposing mountain escarpment to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the south, the Lower Zambezi Valley has a variety of activities that few, if any, other destinations can offer. It has been described by guests as their "happy place" because of its beautiful scenery, peaceful riverside woodlands and abundant wildlife. The Lower Zambezi is just a short 30 minute flight from Lusaka and offers guests the thrill of tiger-fishing to peaceful wildlife sightings on the banks of the river while canoeing or boating. Our guides strive to make each guest feel like they are part of the landscape and not a mere spectator.

    This is the most magical place you're ever likely to experience. Nestled under a grove of imposing Albida trees, it is clearly favoured by the many elephant who graze on the Albida pods. Their presence adds an incredibly special energy to the camp. 
    Charles, Guest at Time + Tide Chongwe Camp
    The lodge is stunning and all the staff are utterly wonderful. The views from the lodge are outstanding, lovely Liuwa wilderness. My bedroom was incredibly comfortable, very stylish, hitting a difficult combination of minimalist yet luxury. Incredibly comfortable bed and many relaxing areas to rest. 
    Mandy, Guest at Time + Tide King Lewanika
    Our family had the most joyful time at Chongwe, really everything was perfect and every detail taken care of. The team ensured we had the best time at every activity (even tiger fishing!). We felt privileged to spend a few days here and look forward to returning.
    Richard, Guest at Time + Tide Chongwe
    We love safaris and this was an excellent camp with a real authentic bush feel, which we always enjoy. The service was excellent and the team are so attentive. Really superb guiding which made for a tremendous experience.
    Cate, Guest at Time + Tide Mchenja
    Chinzombo is a stunning lodge in a beautiful location of the South Luangwa. The rooms are luxurious and spacious, with a deck and plunge pool overlooking the Luangwa River. There is always an abundance of wildlife around the rooms, we had a banded mongoose, bushbuck, elephants and hippo's - just to name a few.
    Michael, Guest at Time + Tide Chinzombo