Kafue is Zambia’s oldest park and by far the largest. It was created in 1950 and is spread over 13,920 square miles (22,400 km) – the second largest national park in the world. Despite the Park’s proximity to both Lusaka and the Copper belt, it has remained underdeveloped until the most recent years. Despite the past depravations of poaching, the park is now a raw and diverse slice of African wilderness with excellent game viewing, bird watching and fishing opportunities.
From the astounding Busanga Plains in the North-western section of the Park to the tree-choked wilderness and the lush dambos of the south, the park sustains huge herds of a great diversity of wildlife. From the thousands of red lechwe on the Plains, the ubiquitous puku, the stately sable and roan antelopes in the woodland to the diminutive oribi and duiker. The solid-rumped defassa waterbuck, herds of tsessebe, hartebeest, zebra and buffalo make for a full menu of antelope.
Large prides of lion, solitary leopards and cheetahs are the prime predators. There is a host of smaller carnivores from the side-striped jackal, civet, genet and various mongoose. Bird watching – especially on the rivers and the dambos is superb. Notables include the wattled crane, purple crested loerie and Pel’s fishing owl. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded throughout the park. The Kafue and Lunga Rivers offer superb fishing opportunities, especially good bream, barbel and fresh water pike. Most lodges have fishing tackle, rods, boats and bait available.
Park Size: 13,920 square miles – 22,400 square kilometers
Ecosystems: Riverine forest, Kafue River, open woodland with mature teak and miombo trees, grassy plains, swamps
Wildlife: Lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, hippo, hyena, crocodile, side-striped jackal, civet, genet, mongoose, sable antelope, red lechwe, wild dog. Over 400 species of birds, including wattled crane, purple crested loerie and Pel’s fishing owl
When to go: May through October – most camps closed during rest of year.
Highlights: Game drives in open 4×4, night game drives, walking safaris, mokoro, canoeing, fishing