Kafue has a fantastic diversity of Wildlife
Kafue National Park is an icon amongst Zambia’s National Park
A huge tract of wilderness in central Zambia, the Kafue National Park covers some 22,400 km2, making it about the size of Wales. It’s the second largest National Park in Africa, behind only the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia.
Despite its prominence, easy access from Lusaka (it’s the only park in Zambia realistically accessible by road from the capital), superb game viewing and proliferation of excellent camps and lodges, it still remains very much on the “untouched” side of Zambia, with most visitors choosing to head east towards the South Luangwa and south to the Lower Zambezi. In some respects, this is a great shame, but on the other hand it means that visitors who do make their way here enjoy an incredible tailor made Kafue safari experience with relatively few other visitors spotted during their safari.
The park varies greatly from north to south, with visitors spending their time either around the Busanga Plains in the north of the reserve or in the central area where the Kafue River meanders through the park. There are some camps in the more open southern section of the park which isn’t so rich in wildlife but is a good stopping point en-route from the central area down to Livingstone which can be done by road.
The Busanga Plains are the best-known and most spectacular part of the park, made up of a huge tract of Zambezi grassland which never fully drains, even in the dry winter months. Of course, the floodwaters mean that for much of the year it cannot be accessed, with the majority of the camps here operating between June and October. It’s a superb area for seeing wild dog, lion and elephants amongst others, whilst the standing water means Busanga is a great place to see semi-aquatic red lechwe antelope, which live in large herds on the plains. The morning mists here really are a sight to behold and the flat, open terrain makes it an ideal area for ballooning, which a couple of the camps here are able to offer.
The central area around the Kafue River is dominated by large tracts of miombo woodland and open grasslands, making it a more “traditional” safari area. It has a greater concentration of camps, with the more benevolent conditions meaning that some stay open throughout the year, especially those on the Kafue River. With access to this area possible by road from Lusaka, it can be a very cost-effective area to visit, as well as being ideal for visitors not looking to travel in light aircraft. Big cat sightings are very good in this area, with leopard more common than on the open Busanga Plains. Game drives, guided walks and even boat trips are possible here, making it a wonderfully rounded safari experience.
A great draw of a luxury Kafue safari is that you can have two very contrasting experiences within the same park by combining the central area and Busanga Plains. A rare opportunity not to be missed.
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