Zambia's Best Safari Parks & Camps

Safari In Kafue National Park

Safari In Kafue National Park
By Mazuba Kapambwe

Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest national park, covering an area of 22,400 sq/km and stretching over three provinces; North Western, Southern and Central.

It is also the oldest national park in the country, established in 1924 by conservationist Norman Carr. The park is named after the Kafue River which flows through the park for more than 250km.

Safari in Kafue National Park

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Kafue National Park sunset scene

Sunset at Kafue National Park

The best safaris in Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is so vast that the safari options vary based on the location of each camp.

For a different safari experience, head to the Busanga Plains in the North West corner of Kafue National Park, which is the only place in Zambia where you can take a hot air balloon safari. The season runs from August till the end of October. From the hot air balloon, guests can see the red lechwe (a medium-sized type of antelope), wildebeest, lion, zebra and hippo. The lions in the Busanga Plains are famous for their ability to climb trees and were featured in the National Geographic documentary Swamp Lions. Busanga also has the largest herd of buffalo in the park, with around 600 thundering around. Guests staying at Shumba and Busanga bush camps get a complimentary hot air balloon ride.

Game drives are offered in the morning and evenings in all parts of the park during the peak season (July to October). Walking safaris can also be done in the park through lodges and camps. Boat rides can also be done.

Kafue National Park is a haven for bird watchers with almost 500 species of birds which include the fish eagle, the saddle-billed stork and more.

When to visit Kafue National Park

Peak wildlife viewing season in Kafue National Park is between July and October. At this time, the rates are highest. Note that the Busanga Plains are inaccessible during the rainy season (November-April) while the Itehi-Tezhi part of the park is accessible year-round.

Due to Kafue National Park’s being 1100m above sea level, it is cooler than the national parks located in the Luangwa and Zambezi valleys, particularly in the winter months (June-August). If visiting during that time, warm clothing should be packed.

Zambia Kafue NP leopard2

Leopard in Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park best safari camps and lodges

Most properties in the Kafue National Park are located on the banks of the Kafue River.

During the rainy season, some parts of the park become inaccessible, such as the Busanga Plains. All year lodgings are available at Mayukuyuku Camp.

Mukambi Safaris runs three camps in the Kafue National Park; Mukambi Safari Lodge, Fig Tree Bushcamp and Busanga Plains camp.

Other high-end lodging options include the Musekese camp and Ntemwa-Busanga bush camp.

Budget accommodation can be found at the Musungwa Lodge.

Kafue National Park Puku calves

Puku calves in Kafue National Park

How to get to Kafue National Park

It is possible to drive from Lusaka to Kafue National Park, with the journey length depending on which lodge or camp is being visited. The closest part of the park to Lusaka is the Northern section which takes between 4-5 hours to drive to.

If you’re heading deeper into the park to places like Busanga, consider a private charter flight. These land at airstrips such as Chunga, Lufupa and Ngoma.

Kafue National Park is also accessible by road via Livingstone, with the drive taking a long twelve hours.

Safari In Kafue National Park

Mazuba Kapambwe

Mazuba is a freelance writer from Zambia whose travel writing has appeared on CNN Travel, Unearth Women, Culture Trip and several in-flight magazines. Her travel podcast Mwende Bwino (Go Well) was recently featured on Conde Nast Traveler’s website and listed as one of the top five Zambian podcasts. Mazuba co-wrote the Lusaka Arts and Culture guide produced by the National Arts Council of Zambia.

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