​Overview – Kafue NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip has traveled through Zambia several times and is the author of more than 20 guidebooks to various African destinations.

Philip is the Zambia expert for SafariBookings and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Philip is our Zambia expert and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Kafue National Park is one of the largest parks in Africa. It’s larger than some small countries and bigger than Kruger National Park. Although Kafue is very accessible on a good road from Lusaka, it feels remote and wild. Animal densities are quite low compared to South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, but the diversity of wildlife is unparalleled.

Best Time to Go July to October (Animals are easier to find)
High Season July to October (Higher rates apply; busier)
Size 22,400km² / 8,649mi²
Altitude 1,002-1,299m / 3,287-4,262ft

Pros & Cons

  • Great wildlife viewing
  • Four of the Big Five are present (rhino is missing)
  • Lots of antelope species
  • Remote, with so much to explore
  • Great night drives, walking safaris and boat safaris
  • Easy to get to and relatively close to Lusaka
  • The animals, especially elephants, are quite shy
  • Lots of harmless but annoying tsetse flies
  • Hazy skies in the Dry season

Kafue NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Kafue has a lot of wildlife, but animals aren’t always easy to find. Elephants are very common in some areas and lions are often spotted as well. What makes Kafue a great destination, though, is its wealth of antelope species. Huge herds of red lechwe can be found in the swamps. Puku, greater kudu, oribi and waterbuck are all common, and the rare roan and sable antelope are present as well.

Scenery

The Kafue River and its tributaries are lined with riverine forest, best appreciated on boat cruises. Away from the rivers, the main vegetation is miombo woodland interspersed with open plains and wetlands. Termite mounds, big and small, dot the landscape throughout the park. The vast Busanga Plains, in the far north, offers Kafue’s most productive wildlife-viewing area in the Dry season.

Weather & Climate

Kafue’s tropical location means that daytime temperatures don’t change much throughout the year, except for the rising heat in October just before it rains. The middle of the region’s Dry season (May to October) experiences warm days and cool nights. The Wet season (November to April) gets hot and you can expect afternoon downpours.

Best Time to Visit

You can’t beat the Dry season (May to October) for wildlife viewing in Kafue. As water dries up in the bush, animals gather around rivers and waterholes. Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, in particular, becomes a magnet for big herds of elephant. Busanga Plains can only be visited at this time of year, before it’s cut off by the rains of the Wet season (late November to April).

Want to Visit Kafue NP?

Kafue NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Mike Unwin  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Sleeping giant
4/5

I am always surprised that Kafue seldom crops up in discussions of Africa’s top destinations. The park is vast – at 22,500 sq km, it is Zambia’s largest – and its variety of wildlife competes with any on the continent. The reason...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Guillaume d'Autichamp  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Oct 31, 2018
5/5

We stayed 3 nights at the Mawimbi Bush cam and had the camp for ourselves and an extraorinary guide and staff. This park is huge. We unfortunately missed the Busanga plains that were too far away but we just saw 2 other tourist cars in 2...

Full Review