Open May to November
Kafue is Zambia's oldest park and the second largest national park in the world (22400 sq. km and about the size of Wales) and yet it is not a park with a success story. For many years the park was mostly unvisited and it is only recently that camps have started to develop. Any undeveloped wildlife area will attract poaching and thus the game has been reduced but it is still exceptional - more in diversity than in numbers.
The park has three main rivers - the Lunga, Lufupa and the Kafue Rivers that combine and feed into the Itezhi Tezhi Lake in the South. In the north the astounding Busanga Plains is an area of swamp, some 750 sq km, that is totally inaccessible in the rains. But by May, as the water recedes, the birds flock in, the puku and thousands of red lechwe and other species including zebra and buffalo, move back with the water line and the wide open plains become a great wildlife attraction. The predators here are not only the famous tree climbing lions but also the cheetah which is a rare sighting in Zambia. The plains are edged by miombo woodland that cover most of the park - broken by the open dambos which become prolific in the south.
These habitats host antelope species which are mostly not seen elsewhere in Zambia, and if are then rarely. Included are sable, roan, blue wildebeest, Lichenstein's hartebeest, oribi, duiker, defassa waterbuck, tsessebe. So having stayed in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi you are unlikely to have seen any of these, hence including a visit to Kafue, for the wildlife enthusiast, is most rewarding. And for any birder, again there will be species you have not yet picked up including wattled crane, purple crested lourie and possibly the Pel's fishing owl.
Further south from the plains the game will be harder to see but game drives are still most rewarding. Leopard, lion and cheetah continue to be seen throughout most of the park. For the casual or keen fisherman, there is a chance for superb fishing in the rivers with good bream, barbell and fresh water pike.
The Kafue river runs into the Itezhi Tezhi Lake - a dammed lake of some 370 sq.km at the south end of the park. This is a popular destination for fishermen as it is teaming with bream and the variable shore line of submerges trees, grass lawns, rocky outcrops makes for interesting walking and birding.
Camps that we most regularly book
- Busanga Plains - the camps here are operated by Wilderness Safaris at their usual high standard and include the premier camps Shumba and Kapinga and the more rustic Busanga Bushcamp.
- Lufupa River Lodge is in the central / north part of Kafue and is also run by Wilderness Safaris and they have recently upgraded the camp. This is an option for our more budget conscious traveller.
- Map of Zambia with Kafue Camps