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Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park, Zambia’s oldest and largest national park, is a hidden gem in the heart of Africa. Established in 1924, it covers a vast expanse of approximately 22,400 square kilometres, spanning three provinces: North, Western, Central, and Southern. While Kafue may enjoy a different level of fame than its counterparts, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, it offers a unique and diverse wildlife experience that deserves your attention.

Wildlife of Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park may not boast the sheer volume of wildlife seen in other Zambian parks, but it is a sanctuary for a remarkable array of species. The park is home to four of the Big 5, including lions, leopards, and the elusive cheetah, a rarity in other Zambian parks. Lions, in particular, roam the park’s expanse, often seen stealthily stalking herds of red lechwe and puku near the natural drainage ditches.

For those fascinated by leopards, Kafue offers a chance to spot these elusive cats in their natural habitat, making it one of Africa’s premier leopard-watching destinations. Beyond the big cats, Kafue proudly claims the largest population of African wild dogs compared to any other national park on the continent. These remarkable predators thrive on both sides of the Kafue River, from dense woodlands to riverine and dambo areas.

Additionally, Kafue’s wilderness holds a treasure trove of unique and lesser-known species, including pangolins, bush pigs, aardvarks, wildcats, and even the tenacious honey badger.

lions in kafue national park

Birdlife of Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, boasting an impressive 497 bird species, equivalent to the birdlife of the entire European continent. Among these species are critically endangered and endangered birds, such as the white-backed vulture, hooded vulture, hottentot buttonquail, and grey crowned-crane. Birdwatching in Kafue is an opportunity to witness the vibrant avian diversity of Zambia.

Vegetation of Kafue National Park

The park’s landscape is characterised by open plains and expansive Miombo woodlands, which provide sustenance and shelter for a wide range of wildlife, including antelopes, lions, and elephants. In the north, you’ll encounter the Zambezian flooded grasslands, including the renowned Busanga Swamps, where herbivores and their predators thrive year-round, creating a paradise for game-viewing enthusiasts.

kafue national park

Activities in Kafue National Park

  • Game Drives: Numerous lodges and camps in Kafue offer game drives led by knowledgeable guides, providing insights into the park’s ecology and wildlife. Day and night drives offer distinct perspectives on the park’s inhabitants.

  • Walking Safaris: Immerse yourself in the African bush through walking safaris, often conducted overnight, allowing for an unforgettable camping experience in the wild.

  • Balloon Flights: Seasonally, you can explore the park from the skies, offering breathtaking views of the landscape and wildlife below.

  • Boat Safaris: Cruise along the Kafue River, home to hippos and crocodiles, providing a unique vantage point for observing animals as they come to the water’s edge to drink.

Is Kafue National Park good for you?

Kafue’s allure lies not only in its wildlife but also in its remote and exclusive nature. If you seek a destination off the beaten path or are a repeat visitor to Zambia, Kafue National Park is the perfect choice. While it may not promise big animal sightings at every turn, it offers a unique blend of wilderness, serenity, and exclusivity that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

Kafue National Park entry fees

Citizens (ZK): K33.60
Residents/SADC Nationals (USD): $15
Non-residents (USD): $20

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Where to stay in Kafue

Busanga Bush Camp | Wilderness Safaris

A hidden gem tucked away among sycamore fig trees and date palms. The camp is in the heart of the Busanga Plains, with magnificent views of both sunrise and sunset.

Shumba Camp | Wilderness Safaris

Shumba is luxurious and spacious with an ‘African bush’ feel, situated in the heart of the gorgeous Busanga Plains. Enjoy plenty of sightings of the big cats, the lodge is named after.

Ila Safari Lodge | Green Safaris

Built using sandbags and entirely powered by the sun, electric powered game drive vehicles and boat. An incredible example of sustainable tourism.

Tours including this destination

Three Rivers – Wild & Authentic

16 days / 15 nights

Three Rivers Luxury

16 days / 15 nights

The Instagrammable Itinerary

17 days / 16 nights

The Kafue Explorer

15 days / 14 nights

Wild Zambia

20 days / 19 nights

Bookings and Enquiries

Get in touch with our team of dedicated professionals

Kafue National Parks FAQs

How much is the entry fee for Kafue National Park?

Citizens (ZK): K33.60
Residents/SADC Nationals (USD): $15
Non-residents (USD): $20

What is Kafue National Park known for?

Kafue National Park is known for its diverse wildlife, including four of the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo), African wild dogs, cheetahs (rarely seen in other Zambian parks), and an abundance of bird species. It is also renowned for its unique and remote wilderness, making it a prime destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience.

What is the best time to visit Kafue National Park?

The best time to visit Kafue National Park largely depends on your interests. From May to October, the dry season is ideal for wildlife viewing as animals gather around water sources, and vegetation is less dense. June to September is considered peak season. The wet season, from November to April, offers lush greenery and excellent birdwatching opportunities but may have some travel limitations due to rain.

Is Kafue National Park the largest in the world?

No, Kafue National Park is not the largest national park in the world. It is the oldest and largest national park in Zambia and one of the largest in Africa, covering an area of approximately 22,400 square kilometres. However, it does not hold the title of the largest national park globally. The title of the largest national park in the world is often attributed to parks like Northeast Greenland National Park in Greenland or Wrangel Island Reserve in Russia.

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