Spanning over 22,400 square kilometres, Kafue National Park in Zambia is one of the largest and most diverse national parks in Africa, situated about 200km and further north of Livingstone, this region is known for its diverse wildlife, exquisite scenery and sense of solitude – thanks to its generous size.
The Miombo woodlands, savannas, mountains and wetlands of Kafue are home to abundant African wildlife, including elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and zebra. It has more species of ungulate than any national park south of the Congo Basin and includes species such as puku, sitatunga, red lechwe, blue duiker, yellow-backed duiker, Sharpe’s grysbok, oribi, impala, roan antelope, sable antelope and hartebeest. Kafue is also home to rare and endemic species, such as the African Wild Dog, and is the habitat of one of the last viable populations of cheetah.
Kafue National Park offers outstanding opportunities for premier game viewing, birding and wildlife photography. It contains over 158 species of mammals and over 500 bird species. It’s not unusual to see great flocks of pelican, open-billed storks and egrets.
For those who are adventurers at heart, it’s a prime destination for canoeing and fishing. Boat cruises on Kafue River and on its tributaries will reveal prolific pods of hippos, as well as crocodiles that languish on the riverbanks.
As with most African safaris, the dry season – from May to October – is the best time to visit as this is when animals tend to quench their thirst and bathe at water sources, making them easy to spot.
Unlike many other wilderness areas within Africa, Kafue is known for its mild, cooler temperatures, due to being at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level. Fishing opportunities are plentiful and are only restricted from November to March, which allows for undisturbed spawning and breeding.
Over and above the resident large mammals, smaller African game such as pangolin, bush baby, aardvark, bushpig, mongoose, civet, serval, caracal, wild cats, otters and the fearless honey badgers will delight visitors.
Regardless of whether one visits the park in the dry or wet season, there is still much to see. The dry season – from June to October – is preferred for game viewing. The Busanga Plains area is only accessible during the dry season as it is a floodplain. Despite making some of the areas of the park inaccessible, the wet season – from November to April – showcases the green, lush elements of Africa’s landscape.
For those who like to fly, Kafue National Park has several airstrips which allow for visitors to view the park from a birds-eye perspective.