Kafue National Park
The Kafue National Park in Western Zambia is the third largest national park in Africa at 22,500 km². It is easily the largest in Zambia. Yet, despite its beauty and diversity, the comparative inaccessibility of Kafue means that it remains gloriously untamed! In the modern world, under-development can make an environment as vulnerable as over-exploitation, thanks to poaching and land pressure. So in the last few years massive efforts have been made to transform the fortunes of this unique safari park and its local communities.
The Kafue National Park offers a unique range of habitats from the memorable Busanga floodplains to the verdant vegetation of the south. It supports a rewarding variety of wildlife including cheetah, which are rarely seen in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks. So Kafue is ideal for the experienced safari enthusiast or birder.
Kafue Lodges on the Busanga Plains
The Busanga Plains, in the far north of the Kafue National Park, are some of the most significant wetland areas in Zambia. This is Kafue’s best area for game-viewing. During the wet season the Lufupa river floods creating a wetland paradise. As the dry season begins, the waters recede leaving lush nutritious vegetation. These plains become home to thousands of red lechwe, the ubiquitous puku, stately roan and sable as well as the diminutive oribi and duiker. The Defassa waterbuck, herds of tsessebe, hartebeest, zebra and buffalo make up a full set of antelope. Naturally this wealth of game is a big attraction for predators, including leopard, wild dogs, cheetah and prides of lion up to 20 strong.
In the central areas of the Kafue National Park lies the Lufupa river, characterised by miombo and riverine woodlands. Though the game is not as rich as on the Busanga plains, there are plenty of antelope. These include the rarer species of roan, sable, oribi and defassa waterbuck. Predators include lion, cheetah and leopard, as well as a good number of wild dog. Indeed this is Kafue’s best area for leopard sightings. On the north-east of Kafue lies the Lunga river which offers excellent birding along its permanent channels. (The Kafue National Park boasts over 450 bird species, including endemics such as Chaplin’s Barbet.)