Travel Guide Zambia: Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park is Zambia's largest and oldest national park and home to an abundance of fascinating wild animals. The following blog reveals more about this impressive area
With around 22.400 km², Kafue National Park is Zambia's largest national park. The oldest protected area in the country is characterised by secluded, untouched and diverse expanses of land which are home to an abundance of wild animals. With elephants, buffalos, leopards and lions, four of the Big Five can be found here, as well as wild dogs, hippos, cheetahs, more than 20 different antelope species and nearly 500 bird species.
The landscape is characterised by the numerous arms of the Kafue River, wetland biotopes, Miombo forests, vast savannahs, thickets and floodplains – including the spectacular Busanga floodplains. Game drives, bush walks and boat trips allow you to explore this special place up close.
Kafue National Park
In southwestern Zambia, at the Lufupa and Lunga River
approx. 22,400 km² (Zambia's largest national park)
Lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, warthogs, zebras, various antelopes - such as impalas, wildebeests, waterbucks, kudus - rarely elephants or buffalos, almost 500 bird species
Among others: KaingU Safari Lodge, Nanzhila Plains Safari Camp
Depending on accommodation: day and night game drives, foot safaris, boat and canoe tours, island expeditions, bird and fishing tours, cultural excursions
Best travel time
May to November
The animal-rich Busanga Plains, the heart of the national park • incredible biodiversity • multi-faceted landscapes • a real insider tip • not even a third of the number of visitors that comes to South Luangwa National Park at twice the size
Visiting Kafue National Park
Huge Kafue National Park is located in southwestern Zambia, about 200 km west of the city of Kafue. It is crossed by the Lufupa as well as the Lunga River, two tributaries of the Kafue. With extensions of around 200 kilometres in length and 90 kilometres in width, it is the largest national park in Zambia.
Landscape and animals
A variety of habitats is characteristic of Kafue National Park. In the rather dry and sandy south you will find wide, extensive plains, picturesque Miombo forests and wet dambos. The centre of the park is mainly characterised by beautiful river landscapes and riverside forests. In the north one finally comes across the spectacular Busanga Plains. The open grasslands, idyllic Lufupa forests and impressive floodplains of the vast wetland will amaze any safari guest.
In addition to the impressive, varied landscape, the park also impresses with its diverse animal population. You can admire predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyaenas and jackals as well as a variety of about 20 antelope species such as kudus, wildebeest, waterbucks, sable and roan antelopes and oribis. Zebras, warthogs and primates also are at home here. The stocks of buffaloes and elephants are comparatively small. But the number of birds is all the greater: almost 500 different species can be spotted here; most of them can be found in the north of the park. When the floods in the Busanga Plains reach their peak between March and May, numerous hippos and crocodiles can also be observed here. The animal population is not as extensive as in South Luangwa National Park, but it is characterized by an enormous variety of species.
Accommodation and activities
Kafue National Park has over a dozen camps and lodges that offer guests unforgettable safari experiences through a variety of activities. Depending on the camp, classic game drives can be undertaken in the park, not only during the day, but also at night to spot nocturnal wildlife. There are also bush walks as well as boat and canoe trips, including island expeditions, where visitors can get very close to the impressive animal world. Due to the immense variety of birds and attractive water worlds, birding and fishing tours are also possibilities to explore the park. The activities offered always depend on the accommodation and the region.
The best time to visit Kafue National Park is between May and November. The dry season takes place during this period. Animals that come to the waterholes and riverbanks for drinking can now be observed particularly well by guests of the park. Although Kafue National Park is open all year round, it is difficult to reach during the rainy season. But once you arrive, the lush green vegetation and the immense birdlife will amaze you.
Kafue National Park is a real insider tip. Due to strong poaching activities up until the 80ies/90ies, the animal population was strongly decimated. This led to the area being forgotten for a long time. However, after conservation initiatives have been started, wildlife populations are gradually recovering. In Kafue National Park, the focus is not so much on the number of animals as on their diversity. Despite the fact that it is slowly maturing into a real jewel, the park still has comparatively low visitor numbers. Guests can expect a particularly intimate, secluded and thus highly authentic safari experience!
Whoever explores the vastness of the park will be able to enjoy a wide range of species. Kafue is one of the richest antelope areas in Africa with impala, puku, sable antelope, cow antelope, roan antelope, bushbuck, waterbuck, sitatunga, wildebeest and oribi. A variety of predator sightings can also be enjoyed here. Last but not least, the nearly 500 bird species of the park will inspire you.
The Busanga floodplains in the north of the national park are considered to be the area that promises the best animal sightings. The breathtaking area is characterised by its vast expanse and is one of the most important wetlands in Zambia. The immense wilderness extends over more than 750 km² and is flooded during the rainy season by countless rivers and waterways. Numerous hippos and crocodiles can now be found here, and a wealth of other animals are attracted by the nourishing waters.
Take part in our nine-day private safari in Zambia and let Kafue National Park's breathtaking wildlife and magnificent scenery enchant you
Explore the spectacular wilderness of Zambia's South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Park as part of our eleven-day luxurious camping safari
Discover the pristine nature and awe-inspiring wildlife along Zambia's Luangwa River when joining our nine-day private camping safari