|Kafue is Zambiaís oldest park and by far the largest. It was proclaimed in 1950 and is spread over 22 400 square kilometres - the second largest national park in the world and about the size of Wales.
Despite the Parkís proximity to both Lusaka and the Copper belt, it has remained underdeveloped until the most recent years. Despite the depravations of poaching and lack of management, the Park is still 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, fed by the emerald green Lunga, Lufupa and Kafue Rivers, 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 Pelís 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. Musungwa Lodge in the south hosts an annual fishing competition in September on Lake Itezhi Tezhi.
WHEN TO GO:
Game is best sighted in the dry season from April to October, but the beauty of the park is at its best after the rains in the first half of the year. Many of the parks internal roads are inaccessible between November and April.
The roads are not well graded and the Park is best visited by air charter or robust 4WD vehicle. There are light aircraft airstrips at Ngoma, Puku Pan, Chunga, Hippo, Moshi and Lunga camps.
By Vehicle, Kafue can be reached from all four sides of the country:
From Lusaka take the road to Mumbwa, about 60 kilometres of which is due for resurfacing. If planning to visit the northern camps, take the northern road out of Mumbwa. A 4WD is recommended on this route.
To reach the southern section of the park, continue through Mumbwa on the main road. Sixty six kilometres from Mumbwa is a left turning to Itezhi Tezhi Dam and the southern lodges. This previously appalling, once tar road has recently been graded back to gravel and is a lot better. It still requires a strong vehicle, although not necessarily a 4WD.
To reach the Busanga plains and nearby camps, take the road that goes through the park until you reach the Kafue River Bridge, shortly after the bridge is a gate on the northern side. This leads to Kafwala and Lufupa camps. There is no private camping allowed in the Busanga area. One must access the plains through an operator. Itís very easy to get lost here. Lufupa and Chunga are accessible without a 4WD in the dry season only. But 4x4 power is necessary for most other areas. Note that the road indicated on the map from Chunga to Ngoma on the left side of the River, clearly indicated on all maps, is no longer in existence and should not be attempted under any circumstance.
From the west, take the Mongu-Lusaka road which dissects the park.
From the north, coming from the Copper belt, take the road to Solwezi and then to Kasempa. (It may be useful to note there is a very good hospital at Kasempa). From here, a reasonable graded track for 98 kilometres will take you to the Lunga Pontoon. To reach the northern Kafue gate, take the left turning 16 km before the pontoon.
From Livingstone travel to Kalomo on the road to Lusaka and turn left, shortly after this take a left turn towards Ndumdumwense gate at the southern edge of the park.
WHERE TO STAY:
There are many places to stay varying from luxurious safari camps to budget chalets and self-catering.
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