KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Kafue National Park is one of Africa’s most unique wildernesses. It is one of the biggest National Parks on the continent (roughly the size of Wales at more than 22,000km²), and its vast size includes a variety of different wildlife habitats to be explored. One of Africa’s best kept secrets, the park has evaded mass tourism and been left untouched and unspoiled, as it should be. This allows guests to experience excellent game viewing with a rich diversity of wildlife, stunning landscapes and uninterrupted interactions with nature. The park is named after the mighty Kafue River that meanders through it for 250km. It enters the park in the North-East and forms beautiful Lake Itezhi-Tezhi in the south, a natural draw for large herds of antelope and elephant. Other well-known rivers which run through the park are the Lunga and Lufupa Rivers, both feeder tributaries to the Kafue River. The intricate water systems and lake dominate the landscape in the North and East sections of the park where the majority of the safari camps are located.
Kafue National Park is Zambia’s biggest and most established National Park and is easily accessed from both Lusaka and Livingstone, only a 3 to 4 hour drive away. There are also a number of airstrips, including Mukambi’s newly built airstrip, just 5 minutes downstream from the lode, making the park a good option for safari charters.
Mukambi Safari Lodge
Mukambi Safari Lodge is the gateway to the Kafue National Park in Zambia. Surrounded by one of the largest areas of unspoiled wilderness in the world.
Busanga Plains Camp
Busanga Plains Camp is our first seasonal wilderness camp, situated deep in the heart of the famous Busanga Plains, a stunning and unique wetland area in Kafue National Park.
Fig Tree Bush Camp
Mukambi Fig Tree Bush Camp is a unique location in a undiscovered part of Kafue National Park and has been chosen after years of admiring its wilderness and beauty.
The beautiful Busanga Plains are situated in the Northern part of the park. The jewel of the Kafue, the area is famous for its extensive floodplain which drains after the rainy season, attracting large numbers of game and fantastic birdlife. ‘One Fig’, a huge fig tree in the middle of the plains, is a prominent landmark. The well-known National Geographic documentary, ‘Swamp Lions’, was filmed exclusively on the Busanga Plains and it’s also no surprise that Getaway Magazine rated Busanga as one of the ‘top 10 secret gems of Africa’. The plains are seasonal due to the flooding in the wet season and small safari camps like our own Busanga Plains Camp operate solely in the dry season.
The Nanzhila Plains in the south of the park, although not frequently visited, are well worth exploring. The open grass plains and dambos (shallow floodplains) are speckled with a large variety of antelope, including zebra, reedbuck, impala, kudu, eland, and waterbuck. There is a plethora of extraordinary birdlife too. Look out for wattled cranes, Dickinson’s kestrels, martial eagles, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, and chattering flocks of black-cheeked lovebirds.
The Kafue River, a life source for much of Kafue’s fauna and flora, flows throughout the year. Some sections are wide and slow flanked with spectacular riverine forests, while others stretches are fast flowing and interspersed with islands. Boat cruises and fishing trips are a must for guests with most safari lodges and camps situated along the riverbank.
The Kafue River flows into the Itezhi-Tezhi dam, Zambia’s second biggest dam, after Kariba. With a surface area of 370km², it provides the perfect opportunity for boating and fishing trips. The shores vary from grassland to rocky bays, with the open plains around the lake attracting a large diversity of animals and birds.
The wildlife of Kafue is some of the richest in Africa. After years of poaching and neglect in the 1980s and 1990s, the breeding herds of elephant have recuperated and settled down and the large predators are back in their numbers. These include several prides of lion, cheetah and the ever elusive leopard. If you’re lucky, you may even see packs of the endangered wild dog. Other common sightings in the park include buffalo, zebra, hippo and various antelope species like impala, puku, sable, hartebeest, bushbuck, roan and waterbuck. The Kafue National parks boasts the largest number of different antelope species, 20 in total.
The diversity of habitats in the Kafue National Park make it one of the best locations in Africa for birding. The Kafue River, wetlands, savannah and woodland boast an impressive 478 of Zambia’s 733 recorded bird species. Among them are the African Finfoot, the African Wattled and Crowned Crane, Fish Eagle, Woolly-Necked Stork, Saddle Billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Ground Hornbill, African Fin Foot, Pel’s Owl, Purple-Crested Lourie, and Chaplin’s Barbet.
Zambia: The friendly destination
Zambia is known for her warmth and vibrance, and it’s no surprise why. Acknowledged as one of the safest countries to visit in Africa, her people will welcome you with open arms and vibrant smiles. Here you will also experience some of the finest safaris in Africa and could easily combine a trip to the Victoria Falls in Livingstone.
The Kafue National Park used be one of the most famous national parks when commercial safaris first began. Since 2000, after 2 decades of neglect and poaching from the 1980s, it has steadily regained its former reputation. With the introduction of conservation programmes, low impact tourism and a close cooperation with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and African Parks, Kafue National Park has truly revived with Mukambi Safari Lodge serving as your gateway to the renewed wilderness.
You surely won’t be disappointed… The writer of ‘Out of Africa’, Karen Blixen’s famous last words were ‘if there was one thing I could do again, it would be to go on safari’. And you can do just that in Zambia. Experience raw and romantic Africa at its best in Kafue National Park – with its remoteness, untouched wilderness, incredible rivers, open plains, woodlands and array of animal and bird life. And all within reach.