Kafue National Park Zambia’s Sprawling Game Sanctuary
Kafue National Park is Zambia’s oldest
and by far the largest. It was created in 1950 and is a sprawling 22,400 square kilometres. The park is the second largest national park in the world and is about the size of Wales in Britain and twice the size of Yellowstone National Park in the USA.
The park is located in the central-western of Zambia and boasts excellent game viewing, bird watching and fishing. Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, is close to the park. Kafue National Park has a diverse landscape that range from the magnificent Busanga Plains in the northwest to the flourishing wilderness forest in the south. In the southern section of the Kafue National Park is another plain called Nanzhila Plains.
Zebras in the Park
Despite the Park’s proximity to both Lusaka and the Copperbelt, it has remained underdeveloped until the most recent years. The Park still show raw and diverse African wilderness with excellent game viewing, bird watching and fishing.
The primary wildlife interests are found in the Busanga Floodplains and the Nanzhila Plains. Kafue is considered to be Africa's best reserve for antelope. The Defassa waterbuck and red lechwe are a speciality of the Kafue.
The antelope species fill the astounding
in the north-western of the Kafue National Park. They literally cover the entire park right to the tree-choked wilderness and the lush dambos of the south.
Multi-animal Species in Busanga Plains - Kafue National Park
The Lunga, Lufupa and Kafue Rivers feed the park. And this sustains huge herds of great diversity of wildlife. The antelope species include thousands of red lechwe on the Plains, the ubiquitous puku, the stately sable and roan antelopes in the woodland, the diminutive oribi and duiker. The solid-rumped defassa waterbuck, herds of tsessebe, hartebeest, zebra and buffalo are all antelope species.
Other species found in the park include the rare and secretive yellow-backed duiker, common duiker, kudu, grysbok, warthog, bushpig, serval, hyena, jackal, baboon, vervet monkey, porcupine, civet, genet and many species of mongoose.
Elephant Sighting on 4x4 Tour
Elephant, buffalo, zebra, hartebeest and wildebeest frequent Itezhi Tezhi Dam. In the southern sector Nanzhila Plains are well known for its roan, sable, oribi, eland, Lichtenstein's hartebeest. Cheetah is often seen.
The waters of the Kafue River are home to large numbers of hippopotamus, crocodiles and water monitors.
The prime predators are lions commonly seen in large prides. Others are the solitary leopards and cheetahs. There is a host of smaller carnivores such as the side-striped jackal, civet, genet and various mongooses.
Bird life is also rich and superb, especially on the rivers and the dambos. Over 400 species of birds that include cranes, the purple crested loerie and Pel’s fishing owl have been recorded throughout the park. Another notable is the wattled crane. Common birds found at Lake Itezhi-Tezhi are fish eagles, cormorants, spoonbills and the stately goliath heron
The Kafue and Lunga Rivers offer superb fishing opportunities. The commonly caught fish is good bream, barbel and fresh water pike. Generally lodges have fishing tackle, rods, boats and bait. In September at Lake Itezhi Tezhi there is an angling competition organised by the Musungwa Lodge. Itezhi Tezhi is in the south central of Kafue National Park
When To Visit
The best time to see game in Kafue National Park is during the dry season from April to October. However, for sheer beauty, the park avails great and wonderful sights just after the rains. During the rainy season from November to April many park roads are impassable. So the Four-wheel-drive vehicles are king for traversing some park routes.
Most of the park is dominated by miombo woodland and broad grassy "dambos." There are riverine forests along the sides of Kafue River as it runs southwards through the park. Kafue pass through Lake Itezhi-tezhi on its way to meet the Zambezi some 250 kilometres down stream.
How To Get There
The easiest way to visit the park is to let one of the lodges fly you in from Lusaka, Livingtone or Mfuwe airpots.
However there are numerous directions from which one can get into the park. By road from virtually every corner of Zambia since the Kafue is centrally located. The roads aren’t the very best but then this a game park. So contact your tour operator they will give advice and directions that will take away the worry of planning the trip.
Where to stay
There many lodges found in the Kafue National Park. They range from campsite /self catering chalets to deluxe lodges some of which only accessible by air charter. The extreme remoteness of this area only highlights excellent service and very stylish facilities which include a steam room, massage facility and a well equipped conference area found in some of the lodges. Most of these accommodations tend to located along the Kafue River which covers a very large part of the game reserve.
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