Zambia is home to some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders and wildlife. Located in southern Africa, the country is famous for its rugged terrain and for being an awesome safari destination. Home to the biggest waterfalls, the biggest lake and the big five, the African Nation is big on attractions. So, whether you are planning a trip or are just curious to learn more, here are some of the most interesting facts about Zambia.
7 Interesting Facts about Zambia
1. Zambia is named for a river
The Republic of Zambia takes its name from the Zambezi river which flows along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa after the rivers Nile, Congo, and Niger. As of 2021, the population of Zambia is almost 19.2 million. The capital city is Lusaka, which has 2.7 million inhabitants.
2. Zambia has no coast
Zambia is a landlocked country and its eight neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the north, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique to the east, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south and Angola to the west.
3. More than 72 languages are spoken in Zambia
The official language of Zambia is Engish, however, there are over 72 languages spoken in the country. The seven local languages taught in schools and used in official communications are Bemba, Konde, Lozi, Luna, Luvale and Nyanja and Tonga. The most widely spoken and understood of these languages are Bemba and Nyanja.
4. Zambia is home to one of the world’s biggest waterfalls
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. It is located in both Zambia and Zimbabwe and is the largest curtain of falling water in the world standing at an altitude of about 915 metres above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.) and is 1,708 metres wide. Scottish explorer David Livingstone named the waterfall after Queen Victoria. The local name in the Kololo and Lozi languages is Mosi-oa-tunya, which means “the smoke that thunders”. UNESCO inscribed Victoria Falls on its World Heritage list because of both its geological and ecological importance due to it being a breeding site for four species of endangered birds and migratory bird species too, including the Taita Falcon and Black Eagle.
5. Zambia has the largest man-made lake in the world
Lake Kariba is the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the world by volume. It is 226km long and up to 40km wide in some places. Located along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it provides electricity to both countries. There’s a thriving commercial fishing industry on Lake Kariba, but, apart from fish, you’ll also find Nile crocodiles and hippopotami living in the lake.
Bonus fact: In Zambia, you’ll also find Lake Tanganyika, which is the second-largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world.
6. Zambia is home to the Big Five
You’ll find all of Africa’s Big Five animals in Zambia. The Big Five animals are lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceros and Cape buffalos. South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia is a protected area for these animals. The park is also home to over 400 species of birds. Zambia is also home to wild dogs, one of the most endangered species in the world. Zambia is one of only six countries where wild dogs still live. You’ll also see the critically endangered black rhinos and shoebill storks. The wonderful wildlife living in Zambia is why safaris are so popular here.
7. Zambia’s flag is full of meaning
On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom and it was on this day that officials raised the Zambian national flag for the first time. The flag is green with an orange coloured eagle flying over a rectangular block of three vertical stripes in red, black, and orange. These symbolise patriotism and the nation’s wealth. The red colour represents the struggle for freedom. The black represents the people of Zambia. Orange symbolises the nation’s mineral wealth and green, its natural resources. The flying eagle represents the freedom in Zambia and the ability of the country to rise above its problems.