Kafue National Park Budget Travel Guide

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Kafue National Park, the oldest and largest national park in Zambia, encompasses diverse vegetation and animal life. The game park is fed by wide tropical rivers, including the Lufupa, Lunga and the blue-green Kafue River; which runs the length of the park making it the life source of this wilderness area.

The size of Wales, the 22 400 km2 ​reserve is a short two hour drive from Livingstone. This part of Africa is still very wild and undeveloped, with vast areas completely unknown and unexplored. The park is rapidly recovering from neglect and rampant poaching of the 90's, fast becoming well-known as one of the premier reserves in Africa. It is without a doubt a nature lover's dream and an adventurer's paradise.

The Landscape

Kafue is characterised by mostly flat open landscapes, typified by savanna grasslands with miombo woodland areas. The gentle contours result in seasonal flooding in many places, creating various lakes and wetlands (also known as 'dambos') which spread throughout the park and can cover up to thirty percent of the area.

The Busunga Plain is a highlight of the park, often compared to the Serengeti, with its wide floodplain teeming with wildlife for long periods of the year after the annual floods. Thousands of grazing animals migrate to the green plains and are inevitably followed by plenty of predators. This area of the park is off the beaten track and should not be missed. In the dry season the 1 900km long Kafue River becomes the lifeblood of the park with animals gathering on its banks to drink.

Kafue Wildlife & Birds

Kafue boasts spectacular wildlife, including 158 mammal species with healthy populations of elephants, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, hippopotamus, crocodile, zebra and a variety of antelopes. The sheer expanse of the park makes it more difficult to sight animals, but this also heightens the anticipation and thrill when you do see them. Due to the vast size of the park you are also less likely to encounter other visitors, making for a more private safari where you have the African bush to yourself.

There are no rhinos or giraffes in Kafue. None of the lodges and camps are fenced off, so the wildlife is able to roam freely through these areas, a great reminder that you are in another world - untamed and unaffected by human activity.

Kafue is considered as an important bird conservation site, with the river and its tributaries attracting scores of incredible bird species, including the African Finfoot, Pel's fishing owl, Bohms bee-eater, half collared Kingfisher, hornbills, vultures and rollers, to name but a few. Bird-watching is at it's best during the wetter summer months, when the migratory birds are also on display. Once the rain has subsided, the park is green and lush, making it perfect for bird watching.

Things to do at Kafue

Not to be missed when visiting Kafue is a houseboat charter, a magical experience with unforgettable sunsets and sunrises over the water, and extraordinary nights under the stars and the moon. Other activities include game drives, night drives, walking safaris, canoeing, boating and fishing. For something different ballooning safaris over the Busunga Plain are available.

Climate & when to visit

The weather is characterised by endless balmy nights and perfect hot days. One can expect hot and wet summers and cool dry winters. Rainfall often comes in the form of splendid thunderstorms and temperatures vary between 20-35ºC in summer and 10-25ºC in winter. October and November can be very hot and humid, and the much-needed rains bring respite from this. 

The best time to visit the Park is from April to November during the dry season. During the very rainy season (December to March) the flooding roads make many areas inaccessible and numerous lodges close over these months. Kafue National National Park is a malaria risk area.

Kafue National Park is a 250 km drive from Lusaka on good tarred roads. Accommodation in the park range from camping to luxury lodges, so there is really something for every budget and preference. 

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Tours Focused on Kafue National Park

Zambia Exclusive Kafue Camping Safari

Duration 15 Days, Travel Style Exclusive Small Group Camping Safaris
Priced from pps R102956 $7130 £5477 €6346 A$10120 C$9566 NZ$10478 Full pricing info
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Kafue safari vehicle A truly outstanding (and well-priced) small group safari to Zambia's wild Kafue National Park. This fully-inclusive, non-participatory safari explores Kafue extensively with two clients per vehicle and guide, camping in rooftop tents in the heart of African bush!

Trip Style Kafue National Park Budget Safari Packages