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.

Kafue National Park is one of the largest parks in Africa. For self-drive visitors, the park is the most accessible in Zambia, with a number of quality lodges just off the Lusaka-Mongu Road, which bisects the park. Wildlife viewing is great, with leopard sightings a major feature. Animals can be quite shy, though, compared to animals in some of the more popular parks. Four of the Big Five are easily seen with rhino absent and the park hosts a wide variety of antelope.

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

Pros and Cons

  • Great wildlife viewing with four of the Big Five present
  • Big diversity of antelope species
  • Remote and undeveloped
  • Great night drives, walking safaris and boat safaris
  • Great accessibility for self-drive visitors
  • Limited accommodation
  • Animals, especially elephants, are quite shy
  • It gets very hazy in the Dry season

Kafue 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 large park has a wide range of habitats. The Kafue River and its tributaries are the main features. Rivers are lined with riparian forest. Away from the rivers, patches of miombo woodland mix with swamp areas. The vast Busanga Plains are in the far north of the park. These floodplains are inaccessible in the Wet season but support an enormous amount of wildlife the rest of the year.

Weather & Climate

Kafue’s tropical location means there’s not much deviation in daytime temperatures throughout the year, except for the spike in October just before the rains arrive. The region’s Dry season (May to October) sees the groundwater slowly dry up and the days remain warm. The Wet season (November to April) gets hot, with afternoon downpours the norm.

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 as they head for local water sources, and the sunny days will put an extra spring in your step. Busanga Plains can only be visited at this time of year, before the rains of the Wet season (November to April) make the area inaccessible.

Want to Visit Kafue NP?

Kafue Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
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...

Latest User Review
5/5

Road on the way was not so bad,and in the park, we saw a lot.
Camp site was also exiting, so close to wildlife and unexpectedly clean and comfortable.
Food was also nice, thanks to our nice guide who knows a lot about nature.