Named after Kafue River, Kafue National Park is the second largest park in Africa. It is located about 322 km west of Lusaka. It covers an area of about 22,400 sq km. Adventurous travelers flock Kafue to spot it’s over 55 species of mammals, 320 bird species, and 35 reptile species.
The park established in 1924 is a paradise for nature’s lover. It has distinct biological biodiversity of universal value. It is also the oldest park in Zambia. The national park is dominated by the miombo and riverine woodlands dotted with occasional grassy pans.
Kafue River is home to large numbers of hippopotamus, crocodiles and water monitors. Other species found in the Park include the rare and secretive yellow-backed duiker, warthog, bush pig, serval, hyena, kudu, grysbok, vervet monkey, reedbuck, oribi, puku and impala porcupine, civet, genet waterbuck, herds of tsessebe, hartebeest, zebra, and buffalo. There are equally numerous mongoose species.
Even avid big-game enthusiasts eventually become captivated by Kafue’s birds. Bird watching particularly along Kafue River is spectacular. Notable bird species here are the wattled crane, purple crested lourie and Pel’s fishing owl. Over 320 species of birds have been recorded throughout Kafue National Park.
When to go
The game is best sighted in the dry season from April to October, but the beauty of the park is at its best after the rains in the first half of the year. Many of the parks internal roads are inaccessible between November and April.
Major access to the park is via the Great West Road from Lusaka to Mongu which crosses the park north of its center. From Lusaka take the road to Mumbwa, about 60 kilometers of which is due for resurfacing. Travelers heading to the northern camps such as Hippo Camp, Mc Brides or Lunga Cabins, are advised to use the Mumbwa northern route.
Other Attractions in Kafue National Park
- Busanga Plains – this is undoubtedly Kafue’s most appealing spot for the diversity of its big game
- Kafue River
- Itezhi Tezhi dam
- Thousands offered lechwe
Accommodation at Kafue
Kafue offers a true African wilderness experience. It is an adventure filled yet a relaxing retreat. Kafue accommodation is available at Lufupa River Camp, Lufupa Tented Camp, Mayukuyuku Camp, Nanzhila Plains Safari Camp, Shumba Bush Camp, Kapinga Bush Camp, Kaingu Safari Lodge, and Busanga Bush Camp.
Safaris to Kafue are relatively uncommon when compared with other Zambia safaris. You can take a boat trip along the Kafue and Lafupa Rivers; you’ll be rewarded with sights of hippos, crocodiles, and elephants cooling themselves on the banks. Guided tours are also arranged for visitors to get closer to predator animals such as lions, monkeys, buffalo, antelope, zebra, warthogs, and bush pigs. You may also be lucky enough to spot the elusive impala, cheetah, or leopards that roam the area.
If you have to go on a safari in the park, it’s plausible to be accompanied by an armed guard where necessary. Alternatively, your lodge will provide the guide especially for game drives and walks within the park. A safari 4WD is recommended for any safari visits to the park.