Tabanids are haematophagous flies feeding on livestock and wildlife. In the absence of information on the relationship of tabanid flies and protozoan parasites in South Africa and Zambia, the current study was aimed at characterizing tabanid flies collected in these two countries as well as detecting protozoan parasites they are harbouring. A total of 527 tabanid flies were collected whereby 70·2% were from South Africa and 29·8% were from Zambia. Morphological analysis revealed a total of five different genera collected from the sampled areas namely: Ancala, Atylotus, Haematopota, Philoliche and Tabanus. DNA extracted from South African Tabanus par and Tabanus taeniola tested positive for the presence of Trypanosoma congolense (Savannah) and Trypanosoma theileri whilst one member from T. par was positive for Trypanosoma brucei species. DNA extracted from Zambian tabanid flies tested positive for the presence of Besnoitia species at 1·27% (2/157), Babesia bigemina 5·73% (9/157), Theileria parva 30·11% (30/157) and 9·82% (14/157) for Trypanosoma evansi. This study is the first to report on relationship of Babesia and Theileria parasites with tabanid flies. Further investigations are required to determine the role of tabanids in transmission of the detected protozoan parasites in livestock and wildlife in South Africa and Zambia.