Overview – Kafue NP

Alan Murphy
Expert
By Alan Murphy

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and authored the Lonely Planet guidebook to Zambia.

Alan has authored the Lonely Planet guide to Zambia.

You have to stand in the middle of Kafue National Park to understand just how big this place is. It’s one of the largest parks in Africa. You also have to stay here for at least a few nights to realize how wonderfully peaceful it is. Fortunately, it’s not hard to experience all this, as the park is an easy drive due west from Lusaka. The animals can be quite shy, but you’ll still see loads of wildlife. Four of the Big Five are easily found, only rhino is missing.

Best Time to Go July to October (animals are easy to find)
High Season July to October (higher rates apply; it's not busy)
Size 22,400km² / 8,649mi²
Altitude 1002-1,299m / 3,287-4,262ft

Pros & Cons

  • Great wildlife viewing
  • Lots of antelope species
  • Remote, with so much to explore
  • Great night drives, walking safaris and boat safaris
  • Easy to get to if you're driving
  • Not much accommodation
  • The animals, especially elephants, are quite shy
  • The view is hazy 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. Elephants tend to be shy, but are common. Lion and leopard are easily spotted as well. What makes Kafue a great destination, though, is its wealth of antelope species. Huge herds of red lechwe – in the thousands – can be found in the swamps. Puku, greater kudu, oribi and waterbuck are all common, and the rare roan antelope is present in very sizable herds as well.

Scenery

The Kafue River and the streams that flow into it are lined with forest and make for a beautiful view on a boat cruise. Away from the rivers, there are patches of miombo woodland and swamps. The vast Busanga Plains are in the far north of the park. You can’t explore these floodplains in the Wet season, but for the rest of the year you can enjoy the wildlife here.

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 region’s Dry season (May to October) sees the groundwater slowly dry up and keeps the days warm. 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 watching in Kafue. The movements of the animals are more predictable because they all head for local rivers and waterholes. And who wouldn’t enjoy those sunny days? Busanga Plains can only be visited at this time of year, before they’re cut off by the rains of the Wet season (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