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Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park

Kafue is Zambia's largest national park.

Explore Kafue's permanent rivers by boat...

Lions are widespread all over the park.

Leopards are common in the forest areas.

...or do a game drive that extends into the night.

Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park

Low on the radar of most visitors, yet populated with increasingly habituated wildlife, Kafue National Park is hugely underrated.

This is a national park on a grand scale, on a par sizewise with Wales or Vermont, and the largest of Zambia’s game parks. It is named after the Kafue River that forms part of its boundary as it flows towards the great Zambezi.

Falling within the park’s protection are so many diverse environments that it would be tempting to look no further than a Kafue National Park safari. Arguably the top choice is the tree-fringed area of Busanga Plains, teeming with wildlife in the dry season and a mecca for predators.

Where the Kafue River is widest, there are boat trips to be had, cruising silently between banks grazed by antelopes, the trees regularly munched by elephants on their way to or from their daily baths.

Then further south are the extensive Nanzhila Plains. For wildlife here, the perennial water of the Kafue is quite literally lifesaving. As the year progresses and the land dries up, even the deepest waterholes vanish and every blade of grass matters.

Welcoming visitors to this wilderness are just a handful of small, highly personal lodges, several of them still run by owners whose passion for Zambia’s Kafue National Park is lifelong. Others come on mobile safaris, guided by those whose knowledge and understanding of the area and its wildlife is born of years of experience. For this is a park to savour.

Kafue National Park

The best safaris visiting Kafue National Park

Choosing the best safari in Kafue National Park takes research, understanding and personal experience – and that’s where our Zambia team at Expert Africa excels.

Of course, the “best Kafue safari” depends on many factors. While seeing wildlife is a priority for almost everyone, the personality of those travelling, the style of accommodation and transport, the time of year, and of course the budget will have a big impact on that choice.

Given the size of Kafue National Park, spending a full week here is a great way to experience at least two contrasting habitats – without feeling rushed.

These could include the floodplains of the far north, where animals are increasingly drawn as the dry season progresses, and the riverine environment where the Kafue broadens as it flows further south.

These are just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you.


Itinerary image

Defassa Waterbuck Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$8,240 - US$8,670 per person

Itinerary image

Purple Roller Safari

8 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Explore the varied habitats and terrain of Kafue National Park with stays in two wonderfully remote bushcamps: sister camps that offer access to both the centre of the park and the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.

US$8,790 - US$9,320 per person

View all safaris

Most recent reviews of our safaris to Kafue

Feedback from our travellers is very important to us at Expert Africa. This is as important from those who have spent a holiday in Kafue National Park as in any of our destinations in Africa.

Not only do we welcome your comments, but they help to keep us fully up to date with any recent changes, and to inform future travellers, so helping them in their search for the right Kafue safari for them.

This feedback is also widely appreciated as genuine and accurate by our partners and lodges in Zambia, helping them to understand the views of their visitors.

Click below to browse all 72 reviews from Kafue National Park. All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


99%
72 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
67
Good
5
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Pete & Nancy from Stockton

Arrived 5 Oct 2023, 28 nights

"Our Oct 2023 trip"

"the best safari experience we’ve had. Expert Africa took care of all the details …" Read Pete & Nancy’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

J & J from York

Arrived 17 Oct 2023, 22 nights

"Our Oct 2023 trip"

"Absolutely loved each park …" Read J & J’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs W from UK

Arrived 8 Oct 2023, 13 nights

"My Oct 2023 trip"

"We have travelled with Expert Africa before... an absolutely wonderful trip …" Read Mrs W’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

MAH from St Albans

Arrived 2 Sep 2023, 13 nights

"My Sep 2023 Zambia trip"

"The itinerary put together after our brief was spot on...the holiday was superb. …" Read MAH’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr J & Ms D from UK

Arrived 11 Sep 2023, 14 nights

"My Sep 2023 trip"

".. as perfect as it could be.. advice and support from Lucy was excellent.. …" Read Mr J & Ms D’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

A&S from Northampton

Arrived 1 Sep 2023, 20 nights

"My Sep 2023 trip"

"whole trip was great and well organised …" Read A&S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs B from Singapore

Arrived 5 Aug 2023, 13 nights

"My Aug 2023 trip to Kafue & Lower Zambezi"

"a great itinerary... we are already looking forward to our next... …" Read Mr & Mrs B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr Paul from Doha

Arrived 18 Jun 2023, 12 nights

"My June 2023 trip"

"Overall a very enjoyable trip. …" Read Mr Paul’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Mr & Mrs C from Berwick

Arrived 17 Oct 2022, 21 nights

"Zambia two years late!"

"All arrangements went smoothly... overall we had a terrific time... …" Read Mr & Mrs C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr B from Kent

Arrived 18 Sep 2022, 15 nights

"My Sep 2022 trip"

"I've been on many safaris, this was the best game viewing & overall experience.. …" Read Mr B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Kafue National Park reviews

Where to stay in Kafue

Places to stay in Kafue National Park are almost entirely small and intimate, dotted around the park from north to south, and underlining the sheer scale of this large reserve.

Common to most is a riverside location, from the Busanga Plains that spread out from the upper reaches of the Lufupa River – a tributary of the Kafue – and continuing south along the Kafue River as it gradually broadens towards Itezhi-Tezhi Dam.

Although some Kafue accommodation is in outlying areas, we recommend focusing on three areas of the park: the Busanga Plains, the central area, and perhaps the more remote southern area.

Selecting Kafue National Park lodges from each of these three areas enables visitors to experience the changing scenery and the impact that has on wildlife in each area.


Musekese Camp

Musekese Camp

Musekese is a small owner-run tented camp, offering great guiding and a high degree of personal service in a stunning wilderness area, with modest game.


95% (39 reviews)
Busanga Bushcamp

Busanga Bushcamp

Busanga Bushcamp is a small but comfortable tented bushcamp (max 8 guests) which makes a great base for a wildlife safari to the Busanga Plains.


93% (20 reviews)
KaingU Lodge

KaingU Lodge

KaingU Lodge, in the centre of the southern part of Zambia's vast Kafue National Park, is in a great location for exploring this section of the Kafue River


91% (14 reviews)
Shumba Camp

Shumba Camp

Shumba is a high-spec camp built on a tree island in the magical Busanga Plains. It opens in May, when the birdlife is particularly amazing; as the dry season progresses, the game can become remarkable.


96% (14 reviews)
Ntemwa Busanga Camp

Ntemwa Busanga Camp

Ntemwa Busanga Camp is a simple but comfortable camp on the southern tip of the Busanga Plains which combines well with its sister camp, Musekese.


98% (12 reviews)
Chisa Busanga Camp

Chisa Busanga

Opened in mid 2021, Chisa Busanga Camp is a beautifully designed, small, intimate and rustic camp.


96% (5 reviews)
Mukambi Safari Lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge is a solidly built, comfortable property just off the main road from Lusaka, making it one of the most convenient camps in Kafue.


80% (3 reviews)
Mukambi Plains Camp

Mukambi Plains Camp

Mukambi Plains Camp is a rustic, tented property located in the middle of the vast Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park.


70% (2 reviews)
Fig Tree Camp

Fig Tree Camp

Fig Tree camp is in the centre of Kafue National Park, and in addition to having a stunning location is well placed to start or end your trip in the park.


100% (1 review)
Ila Safari Lodge

Ila Safari Lodge

Ila Safari Lodge is a comfortable lodge just outside Kafue National Park, with convenient access from Lusaka.


No reviews yet

View all places

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Kafue

Whenever our travellers set off for Kafue National Park, or to any other safari destination, we ask them to consider keeping a record of their key wildlife sightings.

Many find that this adds an extra dimension to their trip, while their feedback gives us unparalleled and growing information on where and when you are likely to see individual species.

Elephant in the Kafue, for example, have in recent years tended to congregate in certain areas, but the more we know about this, the more we can understand - and the more we can advise future travellers.

See our interactive map showing the best locations for individual wildlife species in Zambia. And to find out more, click on a species or read how this survey works.


Hippo

98% success

Elephant

92% success

Lion

87% success

Zebra

69% success

Leopard

62% success

Wildebeest

52% success

Roan antelope

51% success

Sable antelope

49% success

Buffalo

33% success

Cheetah

24% success

Spotted Hyena

17% success

Wild dog

10% success

Eland

7% success

Sitatunga

6% success

Pangolin

2% success

Aardvark

0% success

When to go to Kafue National Park

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Kafue in Zambia


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Zambia in January

At the peak of Zambia’s rainy season, you can expect heavy rainfall for a few hours most days, with sunny spells in between. Temperatures remain high, reaching over 30ºC, with high humidity. The rainfall is yet to make a significant difference to the Victoria Falls, and the flow of water here remains low. The landscapes are green and lush and the air crystal clear, but with the abundance of water the wildlife disperses, and the thick bush can restrict sightings. It severely limits walking safaris too. Migrant birds boost the species count at this time.

With seasonal rivers in flood and dirt roads and airstrips unusable, many camps in Zambia become inaccessible, and close. Only a few lodges in the central Kafue and the South Luangwa remain open. Few people visit in January, so the parks are incredibly quiet and the camps charge their lowest rates.

  • Peak of rainy season: hot & humid, with rain for a few hours most days
  • Majority of camps closed throughout the month
  • Bush incredibly green & lush, with clear air – great for photography
  • Big game dispersed & thick bush makes sightings difficult
  • Very few visitors: the cheapest time to visit

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in January

Zambia in February

February remains in the heart of the rainy season, with dramatic thunderstorms delivering a few hours of rain most days, interspersed with clear sunny skies. There is still an abundance of water in the environment, dispersing game and closing camps. With the thick bush, game viewing is limited and walking safaris restricted, but the swollen rivers allow some activities that would be unavailable in the dry season, such as boat trips on the Luangwa River.

After a couple of months of rain, water will once more be making its way to the Zambezi River, and the flow of water over the Victoria Falls will start to pick up.
Visitor numbers and costs at the few open camps remain low.

  • Peak of rainy season: hot & humid with rain for a few hours most days
  • Most camps closed throughout the month
  • Bush lush & green: good for photography but poor for game viewing
  • Very few visitors, & the cheapest time to visit
  • Water levels at Victoria Falls still low, but starting to pick up

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in February

Zambia in March

March is the last month of the rainy season in Zambia, and there are still heavy downpours most days. Water levels are at their highest making it difficult to get around the country. Temperatures still reach over 30ºC most days, too, with the rain causing high levels of humidity.

Many camps remain closed, and the thick bush limits game viewing and walking safaris. However, many animals are raising young at this time of year, with predators taking advantage of the easy prey, so sightings can be incredible, if sporadic. Wild dogs in the South Luangwa are particularly active at this time of year. With clear air and increasingly frequent blue skies as a backdrop, photography can be spectacular. The birding remains excellent as thousands of birds prepare for their winter migration.

  • Peak of rainy season, hot & humid, with rain for a few hours most days
  • Majority of camps closed throughout the month
  • Bush remains green & lush: good for photography but poor game viewing
  • High abundance of animals with young
  • Very few visitors, & the cheapest time to visit

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in March

Zambia in April

As the rains change from intense downpours to lighter and sporadic showers, April is very much a transitionary period in Zambia. The landscape remains exceptionally green and lush, with sparse viewing of larger wildlife.

Although camps start to reopen in April, most remain closed, and others that were open at the start of the year may shut to prepare for the coming dry season. This is the first month of the year when it’s possible to visit the Lower Zambezi.

The Zambezi River will be at its highest level with the Victoria Falls in full flow, but with huge amounts of spray kicked up views of the waterfall are often obscured.

  • Tail end of the rainy season; hot & humid with light rain most days
  • Some camps reopen; possible to visit the Lower Zambezi
  • Bush still green & lush: good for photography; poor for game viewing
  • Victoria Falls in full flow but with poor views
  • Very few visitors, & the cheapest time to visit

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in April

Zambia in May

May is typically the first month of the dry season. While there is the chance of an odd shower, the majority of days are clear and sunny. As winter approaches, temperatures start to drop, with most days reaching highs of around 26ºC.

As the landscape dries out, access to the parks improves, and all but the most remote bushcamps reopen. After five months of rain there is still a lot of standing water, but despite the thick bush May marks a distinct improvement in game viewing, and clear air is a continuing bonus for photographers.

The end of the month can be a popular time for visitors, taking advantage of typically good weather, improved game viewing, and the last of the low-season rates offered by the camps.

  • Start of the dry season in a typical year, with mostly clear & sunny
  • Majority of camps open
  • Bush still green & lush, with clear air for photographers
  • Game viewing starts to improve
  • Last month of low rates at the camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in May

Zambia in June

Zambia sees virtually no rainfall in June, with a strong chance of sunny days throughout. The humidity drops dramatically and, as winter approaches, temperatures reduce, falling to around 10ºC at night but still warming to 25ºC during the day.

The landscape remains lush but the bush starts to die back significantly, improving visibility for game viewing and walking safaris. All the camps in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi are open by the start of June. While some have a ‘shoulder season’, others start charging their highest rates.

The water coming over the Victoria Falls starts to recede, reducing the mist and spray kicked up, providing better views of the waterfall itself.

  • Reliably sunny days, but dropping temperatures, especially at night.
  • All camps in the South Luangwa, southern Kafue & Lower Zambezi open
  • Wildlife viewing continuing to improve
  • Increased visibility & cool weather perfect for walking safaris.
  • Viewing of the Victoria Falls at its best

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in June

Zambia in July

As the dry season continues, vegetation and long grasses have mostly died back and water starts to become scarce. Wildlife starts to cluster around the major sources of water and the game viewing approaches its best.

July is the first month of winter, and while daytime temperatures are in the 20s Celsius, temperatures at night can drop to single digits. Early morning and late evening drives in open vehicles are particularly cold, and blankets and hot water bottles are often provided.

Visitor numbers increase significantly and space at popular/small camps can get tight. Nearly all properties are now charging their highest rates. Even floodwaters on northern Kafue’s Busanga Plains have now receded, and all camps in Zambia are open.

  • Warm, dry days; cold, crisp nights
  • Significantly improved game viewing
  • Walking safaris are unrestricted by vegetation, with good temperatures
  • Approaching peak season, so significant increase in costs
  • Northern Kafue now accessible

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in July

Zambia in August

By August, the vegetation has died back and wildlife is now congregating around the remaining water sources, providing excellent game viewing. With virtually no chance of rain you are almost guaranteed sunny days, although dust and smoke in the air means a visible haze starts to appear on the horizon.

Temperatures can drop below 5ºC at night but climb to the 20s Celsius during the day. Jackets and gloves are recommended for morning and evening drives. This is one of the most popular – and most expensive – months to travel. European school holidays have little impact on travel within Zambia, but they do increase international flight costs, and all camps are charging their highest rates.

  • Very dry with warm days but cold nights
  • Excellent wildlife viewing, as animals congregate around water holes.
  • Haze developing on the horizon, potentially affecting photographs
  • Cool temperatures & clear sightlines: ideal for walking safaris
  • Peak season: camps & flights at their most expensive

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Zambia in September

September is the most popular, and arguably the best, time of year to travel. Rain is almost unheard of so humidity is low, and temperatures are starting to climb. Morning drives are more comfortable, with daytime temperatures normally in the low 30s Celsius.

Water is scarce, so wildlife clusters around the few remaining sources. Game viewing is very nearly at its best, with a good chance of seeing interactions between species. Camps are charging their highest rates and are at their busiest, with popular camps often fully booked more than a year in advance.

A significant haze sometimes appears on the horizon, impacting on landscape views and affecting photography. Depending on the rainfall in the wet season, the Victoria Falls can start looking dry, with more cliff face than waterfall on show.

  • Dry hot days with clear skies, & warm nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Dust & smoke creates a haze over the landscape
  • Peak season: camps are expensive & often full
  • Victoria Falls starting to look dry

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Zambia in October

As the dry season peaks, the landscape in October is brown and barren, with little ground-level vegetation, though the promise of rain may bring the occasional shower. Temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, reaching over 40ºC in the daytime and rarely dropping below 20ºC at night. This is particularly challenging on walking safaris and in camps without air conditioning.

A thick haze on the horizon sometimes turns photographic backgrounds grey-brown rather than sky-blue. The lack of water sees hippos and crocodiles cram themselves into the few remaining shallow rivers, with other wildlife carefully skirting around them in order to drink. Game viewing is at its absolute best, and you’re most likely to see hunts in October.

On the Zambian side, stretches of the Victoria Falls become a dry cliff face.

  • The best month for wildlife viewing
  • Very hot both night & day, with little chance of rain
  • Air can be very hazy with dust & smoke, so not great for photography
  • Victoria Falls largely dry on Zambian side
  • Camps less busy & some start to drop their rates

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Zambia in November

November typically marks the end of the dry season. Although the timing of the rains is always uncertain, temperatures remain reliably high and the humidity builds as the rains approach.

While you may avoid the rains in the first week of November, it’s not unusual to see some spectacularly heavy thunderstorms, followed by an explosion of green growth. Wildlife disperses rapidly after the rains, no longer restricted to limited waterholes closely monitored by predators. However, Kasanka’s bat migration is at its peak, and wildebeest gather on Liuwa Plains.

Many remote camps close, and those that remain open significantly drop their rates. The initial rains have little impact on the Victoria Falls, but do significantly reduce the atmospheric haze.

  • Typically the start of the wet season; very hot and humid
  • Increased chance of heavy rain as the month progresses
  • Greatly diminished game viewing once the rains arrive
  • Bat migration in Kasanka, and wildebeest migration in Liuwa
  • Camp rates lower, & visitor numbers reduced

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Zambia in December

December is typically the first month in Zambia’s rainy season, with heavy thunderstorms most days interspersed by sunny spells. Temperatures start to fall, but still reach over 30ºC in the daytime, with high levels of humidity.

As the rainfall increases it brings plentiful water into the landscape, encouraging the growth of thick green vegetation. Wildlife remains in the national parks and sightings are possible, but overall game viewing is poor. Access to the parks becomes problematic and all but a handful of camps around the entrance to the South Luangwa and the centre of Kafue national parks close. Those that do remain open charge their lowest rates and are very quiet.

The rain removes any smoke and dust from the air, returning the sky to a dazzling blue that is great for photographers.

  • Start of rainy season, with hot, humid & wet days
  • Poor game viewing as wildlife disperses & bush thickens
  • Majority of camps close; others charge their lowest rates
  • Landscape green with blue skies; photographic opportunities improve
  • Victoria Falls still dry

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in December

Kafue National Park: In Detail

A guide to Kafue National Park

Covering some 22,400km2, Kafue National Park falls into two halves, divided by a tarmac road, but defined throughout by the permanent Kafue River as it flows south towards the man-made Lake Itezhi-Tezhi - which itself borders the east side of the park.

For a safari, the north of the park is the most popular, an undulating plateau veined by tree-lined tributaries of the main Kafue River. Within this, the Busanga Plains are a particular highlight, its lush vegetation proving irresistible to huge herds of antelope, as well as buffalo, zebra and wildebeest – pursued by lions, cheetah and wild dogs.

With generally drier vegetation, the southern Kafue is less attractive to large herds of game, except alongside the Kafue River itself. South of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, elephants tend to cluster around the park headquarters at Ngoma, while further south again is the vast expanse of the Nanzhila Plains.


Safaris to Kafue National Park

Safaris to Kafue National Park

There are three practical options for getting to Kafue, then getting around once you’re there. Firstly, you can fly in, and stay at one of the better camps or lodges; the team from the camp will then walk, drive and boat you around the park. Secondly, you can arrange for a safari company from outside to drive you in here, and drive you around. Or thirdly, you can drive yourself into and around the park in a 4WD.

Most of Expert Africa’s trips take the fly-in approach. Getting to Kafue by air is certainly one of the most relaxing, especially if your time is relatively limited, or you like the idea of a safari holiday here rather than an expedition. There are no scheduled flights into the park, but several charter companies will fly you in or out on request. There is also a well maintained tarmac road between Lusaka and the Kafue, which means road transfers to camps in the centre of the park (approximately 4 hours) are also a realistic option, which can be considerably cheaper than chartering a plane.

Environment of Kafue National Park

Established in 1924, and one of the world’s largest wildlife parks, the Kafue is exceptionally varied.

Travelling from the north of the park to the south, you can see the landscape transform from flat open grasslands to miombo woodland interspersed with huge granite hills.

The permanent Kafue River also transforms as it makes its way through the park, starting as a wide sluggish channel in the north, and changing to rapids crashing around hundreds of granite boulders in the south before emptying into the man-made Lake Itezhi-Tezhi.

Surrounding the whole area are no fewer than nine game management areas (GMAs), which provide a valuable buffer zone for the park’s wildlife.

Northern Kafue: the Busanga Plains

The northern section of Kafue National Park is a slightly undulating plateau, much of which is a mosaic of miombo and mopane woodland, with the occasional grassy dambo. The area is veined by rivers, all tributaries of the main Kafue River, and lined with hardwood riverine forest.

In the far north of this sector, the Lufupa River flows into the Busanga Swamps. During the rains, this floods out over the adjacent Busanga Plains; when the waters recede, they leave behind a carpet of lush vegetation that is irresistible to many herbivores.

These flat plains are dotted with photogenic “islands” of wild date palms, sausage trees and fig trees. You'll often also find huge herds of red lechwe and puku, as well as buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and other antelope.

The prides of lion residing here are known for their tree-climbing antics; it's Zambia's best area for cheetah and one of its best for wild dogs, and is certainly the best game area in Kafue National Park.

The south side of Kafue National Park

With a little less rain than the north, the game in the south can be quite patchy, and tends to cluster around areas where it has historically been protected. These areas have been expanding in recent years, though, and with the park managed since 2022 in partnership with African Parks, the situation is set to continue improving.

The southern half of the park is perfect for those who love exploring, and a little patience can be rewarded with some fantastic game viewing. With such a vast area to explore, and a low number of visitors, the southern Kafue offers a great safari experience for those who value a true feeling of wilderness as much as the game-sightings.

Wildlife of Kafue National Park

Kafue has a superb range of antelope – and their attendant prey. In the northern sector, where there's a good range of mixed bush environments, kudu, bushbuck, eland, reedbuck, common duiker, grysbok and defassa waterbuck are all frequently seen.

Rarely far away are lion, which are relatively widespread in Kafue National Park - and on the Busanga Plains, prides stalk nightly through nervous herds of puku and lechwe. Similarly widespread and regularly - if not often - seen are spotted hyena.

Leopard are common in all the main forested areas, whereas cheetah are most frequently sighted on the open plains of the northern Kafue, where they seem to be thriving. Occasional sightings of wild dogs occur all over the park.

Although elephant thrive throughout the park, they congregate in greater numbers in the south. buffalo, too, favour this area - though not to the exclusion of the north - and hippos are of course attracted to the perennial rivers.

Birdlife of Kafue National Park

With more than 500 bird species recorded, Kafue National Park has the richest birdlife of any Zambian park. This reflects the Kafue's wide range of habitats, with rivers, woodlands, extensive wetlands and – in the north – seasonal floodplains.

The wetlands and floodplains have the full range of herons (including the black heron), storks and ibises, plus crowned and wattled cranes. Denham's (or Stanley's) and kori bustards occur, along with secretary birds, and geese (spur-winged and Egyptian) by the thousand.

Long, verdant stretches of riverine vegetation harbour Ross's turaco, Narina trogons and olive woodpecker, while on the river itself you may be treated to a sighting of the African finfoot, or a nesting colony of African skimmers.

Relative rarities inhabit Kafue’s extensive miombo woodlands, from the pale-billed hornbill and Sousa's shrike to Chaplin’s barbet, one of Zambia’s two endemic birds. The other - the black-cheeked lovebird - is relatively common in the south, on the Nanzhila Plains.

Map of Kafue National Park

A quick glance at our Kafue National Park maps shows that the park is neatly divided in two by a tarmac road that runs west from Lusaka, a drive of around four hours. A cluster of lodges lines this road, making it a good jumping off spot to explore the park, or for a short stopover.

For these and other places to stay in Kafue National Park, click on the orange markers, and follow the links to read more details and reviews. Scroll in for a feel for the rivers that bring life to this vast wilderness; scroll out to reveal the sheer scale of this under-visited park - and its location due north of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls.


Reference map

Ideas for safari holidays in Kafue National Park

From the rich range of possibilities, we have put together a couple of suggestions for a Kafue National Park safari, both incorporating the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains but also casting the net further so that you can get a real feel for the park’s diversity.

Perhaps you’d like to focus on one place, or to indulge in a hot-air balloon ride; take a leisurely cruise on the Kafue, or even paddle an inflatable canoe. There are plenty of options.

As all our trips are tailormade, contact us and we will help you to create a Kafue safari that fits around you.


Showing 1-2 of 2
Name
Duration
Cost
Most popular
Itinerary image

Purple Roller Safari

8 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Explore the varied habitats and terrain of Kafue National Park with stays in two wonderfully remote bushcamps: sister camps that offer access to both the centre of the park and the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.

US$8,790 - US$9,320 per person

Itinerary image

Defassa Waterbuck Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$8,240 - US$8,670 per person

Showing 1-2 of 2

Our top 10 lodges and safari camps in Kafue National Park

While many Kafue safari lodges have been in operation for years, others are relatively new, yet all are intrinsically involved with the park, its wildlife, and its conservation.

From the Kafue accommodation available, we have selected just a handful of game lodges, based on their location, their standards of guiding and accommodation, and our experience of each camp.

To the north, visitors will find a clutch of camps on the Busanga Plains, each unique - yet each very welcoming. Among these are Busanga Bush Camp, Musekese, Mukambi Plains, Chisa Busanga Camp and Shumba, with - a little further south - the new Ntemwa Busanga.

In the centre of the park, with easy access by road, are the long-established Mukambi Safari Lodge, along with the newer Fig Tree Camp and Ila Safari Lodge, while to the south, KaingU Lodge is ideal for exploring the boulder-strewn Kafue River as it broadens on its way to the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam.


Showing 1-10 of 10
Name
Traveller's rating
No. of reviews
Musekese Camp

Musekese Camp

Musekese is a small owner-run tented camp, offering great guiding and a high degree of personal service in a stunning wilderness area, with modest game.


95% (39 reviews)
Busanga Bushcamp

Busanga Bushcamp

Busanga Bushcamp is a small but comfortable tented bushcamp (max 8 guests) which makes a great base for a wildlife safari to the Busanga Plains.


93% (20 reviews)
KaingU Lodge

KaingU Lodge

KaingU Lodge, in the centre of the southern part of Zambia's vast Kafue National Park, is in a great location for exploring this section of the Kafue River


91% (14 reviews)
Shumba Camp

Shumba Camp

Shumba is a high-spec camp built on a tree island in the magical Busanga Plains. It opens in May, when the birdlife is particularly amazing; as the dry season progresses, the game can become remarkable.


96% (14 reviews)
Ntemwa Busanga Camp

Ntemwa Busanga Camp

Ntemwa Busanga Camp is a simple but comfortable camp on the southern tip of the Busanga Plains which combines well with its sister camp, Musekese.


98% (12 reviews)
Chisa Busanga Camp

Chisa Busanga

Opened in mid 2021, Chisa Busanga Camp is a beautifully designed, small, intimate and rustic camp.


96% (5 reviews)
Mukambi Safari Lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge

Mukambi Safari Lodge is a solidly built, comfortable property just off the main road from Lusaka, making it one of the most convenient camps in Kafue.


80% (3 reviews)
Mukambi Plains Camp

Mukambi Plains Camp

Mukambi Plains Camp is a rustic, tented property located in the middle of the vast Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park.


70% (2 reviews)
Fig Tree Camp

Fig Tree Camp

Fig Tree camp is in the centre of Kafue National Park, and in addition to having a stunning location is well placed to start or end your trip in the park.


100% (1 review)
Ila Safari Lodge

Ila Safari Lodge

Ila Safari Lodge is a comfortable lodge just outside Kafue National Park, with convenient access from Lusaka.


No reviews yet
Showing 1-2 of 10
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Frequently Asked Questions

Kafue National Park FAQs

As with any holiday, questions tend to crowd in at the planning stage, and even the most obvious points can be overlooked.

In this section we have tried to answer some of these questions, from where exactly is the Kafue, and how you get there, to whether or not Kafue National Park is a good place for a family safari in the Kafue, and how to explore the park by boat.


Where exactly is Kafue National Park?

Where exactly is Kafue National Park?

Covering an area of some 22,400km2, Kafue National Park lies in the western area of Zambia – the largest wildlife park in Zambia, and one of the largest in all of Africa.

East of the park, a drive of some 3–4 hours, is the Zambian capital, Lusaka; to the north is the industrial heartland of Zambia and to the south are the Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River - a charter flight from Livingstone takes around two hours. Despite its size, the heart of this national park of vast plains, rivers and dense forests is surprisingly accessible.

How do you get to Kafue National Park?

For a safari in Kafue National Park, the choice is to fly or drive in. Most of Expert Africa’s trips take the fly-in approach and it’s certainly the most relaxing option. There are no scheduled flights into the park, but several charter companies will fly you in or out on request. Fly-in visitors tend to stay at one of the better camps or lodges, where you will explore on foot, by 4WD or by boat with a guide from the camp.

Cheaper than chartering a plane is to drive into one of the camps in the centre of the park, a journey of around four hours on a good tarmac road from Lusaka.

Most of those driving themselves in opt to stay in the centre of the park. To explore further a 4WD is essential, ideally on a guided safari rather than self-drive.

Is Kafue National Park good for a family safari holiday?

With a plethora of small camps and lodges, Kafue National Park can work well for a family - especially for those with older children - though given the presence of dangerous animals throughout the park, it’s important that children are under constant supervision. Distances, too, are considerable, so sticking to one of the lodges in the centre of the park will avoid the need for several flights or long drives.

Some of the Kafue’s safari lodges are sufficiently small that a larger family group could find themselves in exclusive residence, with plenty of activities to choose from. Alternatively, consider a mobile safari, when you and your family will have the chance to experience the wilderness from an even more natural perspective. Whatever your choice, do be aware that anti-malarials are essential.

Can I go on a boat trip in Kafue National Park?

Exploring the Kafue River by boat is a magical way to experience Kafue National Park. Options range from a leisurely cruise to weaving your way between boulders on a smaller motorboat – or even to a canoe trip, heading south with the current.

In the centre of the park, drifting down the wide Kafue River at sunset from one of the lodges is to be accompanied by a constantly changing panorama of elephants, puku, and a plethora of colourful birds.

Further south, at KaingU, taking to the river at dawn is to see a light foam on the surface, a natural phenomenon that dissipates as the day advances. Here, small islands break the flow of the river as it rushes around giant boulders, with countless birds in attendance. For the more adventurous, there’s even the option of paddling in an inflatable canoe.

Other areas in Zambia

A safari in Kafue National Park can be complete in itself, but it also combines well with Zambia's top-class South Luangwa National Park and Lower Zambezi National Park.

If walking is your priority, consider the North Luangwa, whose handful of small camps are focused on exploring this little-visited park on foot. And if even this isn't sufficiently remote, Liuwa Plain National Park is a must.

Big game aside, Zambia has some extraordinary wildlife surprises up its sleeve, from the fruit bat migration in Kasanka National Park to the extraordinary shoebills of the Bangweulu Wetlands. Then you can hike in total privacy at Mutinondo Wilderness, or come face to face with an English stately home in the bush at Shiwa Ng'andu. And for many, the icing on the cake is the majesty of the Victoria Falls.


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