Fish of the Zambezi River & Lake Kariba

Fishing on the Zambezi River is one of the best experiences you can have as a fisherman. The sheer beauty of the shores along the river will leave you breathless and it will keep you coming back for me. When you go fishing anywhere on the Zambezi, you will have an idea of what you will be catching. Well, we hope you do… The ferocious Tigerfish, tasty tilapia or the giant vundu, there is a fish for all seasons. Below is a list of all the fish you will find in the Zambezi River (Upper & Middle of the Zambezi) and Lake Kariba.

Zambezi Fish Species

Family Clupeidae

  • Lake Tanganyika Sardine (Limnothrissa miodon) [introduced]

Family Mormyridae

  • Zambezi Parrotfish (Cyphomyrus discorhynchus)
  • [Upper Zambezi] Parrotfish (Cyphomyrus cubangoensis)
  • [Zambezi] Bulldog (Marcusenius macrolepidotus)
  • [Upper Zambezi] Bulldog (Marcusenius altisambesi)
  • Cornish Jack (Mormyrops anguilloides)
  • Eastern [Zambezi] Bottlenose (Mormyyrus longirostris)
  • Western [Upper Zambezi] Bottlenose (Mormyrus lacerda)
  • Upper Zambezi Stonebasher (Pollimyrus marianne)
  • Upper Zambezi Churchill (Petrocephalus longicapitis)
  • Slender Stonebasher (Hippopotamyrus ansorgii)
  • Upper Zambezi Stonebasher (Hippopotamyrus szaboi)

Family Anguillidae

  • African Mottled Eel (Anguilla bengalensis labiata)

Family Kneriidae

  • Northern Kneria (Kneria polli)

Family Cyprinidae

  • Large-scaled Yellowfish (Labeobarbus marequensis)
  • Upper Zambezi Yellowfish (Labeobarbus codringtoni)
  • African banded barb (Barbus fasciolatus)
  • Copperstripe Barb (Barbus multilineatus)
  • Red-eye or Beira Barb (Barbus radiatus) 
  • Orangefin Barb (Barbus eutaenia) 
  • Barotse Barb (Barbus barotseensis) 
  • Hyphen Barb (Barbus bifrenatus) 
  • Dashtail Barb (Barbus poechii) 
  • Spottail Barb (Barbus afrovernayi) 
  • Blackback Barb (Barbus barnardi) 
  • Sicklefin Barb (Barbus haasianus) 
  • Redspot Barb (Barbus kerstenii) 
  • Line-spotted Barb (Barbus lineomaculatus) 
  • Thamalakane Barb (Barbus thamalakanensis) 
  • Slender Barb (Barbus unitaeniatus) 
  • Upper Zambezi Labeo (Labeo lunatus) 
  • Purple Labeo (Labeo congoro) 
  • Manyame Labeo (Labeo altivelis) 
  • Redeye Labeo (Labeo cylindricus) 
  • Leaden Labeo (Labeo molybdinus)

Family Characidae

Striped Tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) Striped Robber (Brycinus lateralis) Silver Tetra/Robber (Micralestes acutidens) Okavango/Slender Robber (Rhabdalestes maunensis)

Family Distichodontidae

  • Nkupe (Distichodus mossambicus)
  • Chessa (Distichodus schenga)

Family Citharinidae

  • Dwarf Citharine (Hemigrammocharax machadoi)
  • Multibar Citharine (Hemigrammocharax multifasciatus)
  • Broadbar Citharine (Nannocharax macropterus)
  • Banded Neolebias (Nannocharax lozii)
  • No English name (Nannocharax dageti)

Family Hepsetidae

  • African Pike (Hepsetus odoe)

Family Claroteidae

  • Zambezi Grunter (Parauchenoglanis ngamensis)

Family Schilbeidae

  • Silver/Butter Catfish (Schilbe intermedius)
  • Yangambi Catfish (Schilbe yangambianus)

Family Amphiliidae

  • Common Mountain Catfish (Amphilius uranoscopus)
  • Spotted Sand Catlet (Leptoglanis rotundiceps)
  • Chobe Sand Catlet (Leptoglanis dorae)

Family Malapteruridae

  • Electric Catfish (Malapterurus shirensis)

Family Clariidae

  • Giant Cat-fish or Vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis)
  • Sharp-toothed Catfish (Clarias gariepinus)
  • Blunt-toothed Catfish (Clarias ngamensis)
  • Blotched Catfish (Clarias stappersii)
  • Okavango Catfish (Clarias dumerilii)
  • Snake Catfish (Clarias theodorae)
  • Broadhead Catfish (Clariallabes platyprosopos)

Family Mochokidae

  • Pongola Rock Catlet (Chiloglanis emarginatus)
  • Neumanns Rock Catlet (Chiloglanis neumanni)
  • Limpopo Rock Catlet (Chiloglanis pretoriae)
  • Leopard Squeaker (Synodontis leopardinus)
  • Largespot Squeaker (Synodontis macrostigma)
  • Largemouth Squeaker (Synodontis macrostoma)
  • Clouded Squeaker (Synodontis nebulosus)
  • Spotted Squeaker (Synodontis nigromaculatus)
  • Bubblebarb Squeaker (Synodontis thamalakanensis)
  • Upper Zambezi squeaker (Synodntis woosnami)
  • Finetooth Squeaker (Synodontis vanderwaali)
  • Brown Squeaker (Synodontis zambezensis)

Family Aplocheilidae

  • Kafue Killifish (Nothobranchius kafuensis)
  • Caprivi Killifish (Nothobranchius sp.)

Family Poeciliidae

  • Meshscaled Topminnow (Aplocheilichthys hutereaui) Johnston’s Topminnow (Aplocheilichthys johnstonii) Striped
  • Topminnow (Aplocheilichthys katangae) No English name (Aplochelichthys sp.)

Family Mastacembelidae

  • Shorttail Spiny Eel (Mastacembelus frenatus)
  • Ocellated Spiny Eel (Mastacembelus vanderwaali)

Family Cichlidae

  • Banded jewel cichlid (Hemichromis elongates)
  • Threespot Tilapia (Oreochromis andersonii)
  • Kariba Tilapia (Oreochromis mortimeri)
  • Greenhead Tilapia (Oreochromis macrochir)
  • Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) [introduced]
  • Zambezi River Bream (Pharyngochromis acuticeps)
  • No English name (Pharyngochromis sp.)
  • Southern Mouthbrooder (Pseudocrenilabrus philander)
  • Rainbow Bream (Sargochromis carlottae)
  • Green Bream (Sargochromis codringtonii)
  • Pink Bream (Sargochromis giardi)
  • No English name (Sargochromis greenwoodi)
  • No English name (Sargochromis sp.)
  • Humpback Largemouth (Serranochromis altus)
  • Thinface largemouth (Serranochromis angusticeps)
  • Longfin Largemouth (Serranochromis longimanus)
  • Purpleface Largemouth (Serranochromis macrocephalus)
  • Yellow-belly Bream (Serranochromis robustus)
  • Brownspot largemouth (Serranochromis thumbergi)
  • Northern Redbreast Tilapia (Tilapia rendalli)
  • Sparrman’s Bream (Tilapia sparrmanii)
  • Okavango Tilapia (Tilapia ruweti)

Family Anabantidae

  • Manyspined Climbing Perch (Ctenopoma multispinis)
  • Blackspot Climbing Perch (Microctenopoma intermedium)
Bream Fish

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