About the same size as Wales, Kafue is Zambia’s largest national park, protecting a wide variety of environments on an undulating plateau veined by rivers. covering an area of about 22,400 km² It is the second largest park in Africa and is home to over 55 different species of animals. The park is named for the Kafue River. This park protects expansive wilderness and wide variety of environments on an undulating plateau veined by rivers.
The Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Zambia covering an area of about 22 400 km² which is about 35% of the country total national park estate. The park is located in the south-central part of Zambia. The Kafue River is a major drainage system and forms one of the major features of the park.
In the early 1920s, the Kafue Game Reserve was formed in an effort to control the progressive attrition of wildlife populations. At the time there was no infrastructure or conversation agency to administrator it in relation to wildlife management. The objective of controlling the attrition of wildlife population was not achieved. The proposals for the establishment of a national park were brought into discussion in 1948. The areas under consideration were Kafue Game Reserve and the Cordon Controlled Area covering about 14 500km² and 12690km² respectively. On 20 April 1950, the proposed national park was formally proclaimed as Kafue National Park.
After it’s proclamation, Len Vaughan, the Game Officer based at Namwala was in charge of the Kafue National Park. Norman Carr who served as a Game Ranger from 1951 to until 1956 was appointed the first Wildlife Warden for the Park on the 9 August 1957.
In August 1956, the northern part of the park opened to visitors. Visitors brought their own food, crockery and cutlery. In August 1958, the southern part also opened to visitors with accommodation facilities. Ngoma lodge was the only one that offered full board facilities with self-contained double chalets and only catered for European visitors. The Kafue National Park now has one lodge and ten camps with visitor capacity of 155 beds while six lodges and two are located just outside the park with visitor capacity of 137 beds. The park has four airstrips inside the park located at Ngoma, Chunga, Moshi, Hippo Camp and almost 700 kms of management and tourist roads.
The park is rich in animal and natural diversity and forms one of most important terrestrial ecosystems in Africa. Although the park’s historical path included human settlements and associated land uses, its abundant and varied natural attributes and character remain fairly unspoilt.
Unlike many tourist destinations, Kafue is still largely untouched. It is a pristine wilderness with stunning landscapes, game viewing and a diversity of bird species. The flora and fauna of Kafue is incredibly diverse with a wide variety of game, plants, birds, trees and fish to be found in the national park. Boasting 500 different species of birds including bee-eaters, rollers, kingfishers and many more.
Everyone who works in Kafue National Park has a passion about where they are and what they are trying to achieve. They truly believe in what Kafue has to offer and, as more and more people are slowly starting to experience this, their hard work is paying off.
3. Kafue River
The Kafue River follows a course of approximately 960 kilometres and plays a large role in Zambia’s eco- system, supporting the wildlife of the national park, as well as being a source of water for farmers, irrigation and hydroelectric power. The river’s source is in the Congo, and it is the largest and longest river lying entirely within Zambia.
Wherever you go in Kafue National Park, you feel as though you are the only people there. The remote nature of the lodges combined with the vastness of the park allows you to feel completely at one with nature and privileged to be enjoying such wilderness.
Visitors are collected on arrival at O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and aided with transferring to an international flight to Lusaka. From Lusaka, visitors are connected onto a light aircraft to Kafue National Park in north-western Zambia. You will be driven to camp from the resident airport in a 4X4 vehicle by a camp ranger.
Though you will be facing quite a limited of the park roads all through your stay at Kafue, visitors are chartered directly to the parks’ resident airport upon arriving in Zambia, and for that reason the capital’s busy roads are sidestepped. Visitors are transported on arrival at one of the light aircraft strips to the lodge in a 4×4 drive vehicle.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit would be during the dry season from June to October, when most of the park is accessible. The weather plays an integral park to visiting Kafue, as during the wetter summer season from November to April the plains are flooded, which makes a large part of the park inaccessible. The wet season does, however, transform the area, and its lush greenery is rather spectacular to see. Luckily there are camps that do stay open all year round.
July is usually the coldest month with mean maximum temperature ranging between 22°C AND 28°C and the mean temperature ranging between 5°C and 7°C. October is usually the hottest month with mean maximum temperature ranging between 31°C to 35°C and mean minimum temperature ranging between 15°C to 18°C.
Kafue National Park is situated within a high malaria risk area, and anti-malaria safeguards ought to be consulted with your personal medical practitioner when you are scheduling your tour to Southern Africa. Further than that, make sure that all your regular vaccinations are up to date.
Health & Safety
Crime is virtually non-existent, however as precautionary it is advisable to keep your valuables locked away or camp / lodge management may be consulted for enhanced securing of any valuables.
With its diversity of habitats, Kafue is Zambia’s best birding destination – more than 480 species have been recorded here. The rivers, wetlands, floodplains and miombo woodland offer a variety of environments for different species. The most sought-after species are the near-endemic black-cheeked lovebird, which is quite easily seen in the south of the park, and Zambia’s only endemic, the elusive Chaplin’s barbet. Migrants are present from November to April.
Boating / Canoeing
Share the water with hippos and crocodiles whilst canoeing on the Kafue River. A canoe safari is one of the quietest and relaxing way of viewing Africa’s wildlife glide through the water quietly and pass elephants and buffalo almost undetected. The Kafue River is the major source of water for the animals, so the concentration of game along the banks of the river makes game viewing and birding excellent. Watch crocodiles slides quietly into the water and steer nervously around a pod of hippo.
Escape the constraints of a vehicle on a game drive and head out on foot into the Kafue National Park with our highly experienced guide. There is really no better way of truly experiencing African wildlife and their habitats than being on foot and for many people a walking safari is the ultimate safari experience. Then feel the excitement and hear your heart beating as creep closer to a herd of elephants drinking at the river or a herd of buffalo grazing on the grasslands. This is the best way to experience the Kafue National Park.
From the back of our open game viewing vehicle with our highly experienced guide you will have a chance to see some of Africa’s big game and do some excellent birding. The Kafue National Park is well known for its high diversity of game which is very visible. Heading out on a game drive in the early morning or late afternoon is very rewarding.
Hot Air Balloons
Take to the skies in real style and float lazily above one of Africa’s most stunning wilderness areas on a hot-air balloon safari. Gaze over the scenic wonderland of Kafue and watch as hippos puff and grunt their loud calls in the river far below, and vultures soar past at eye level.
Night drives in Kafue offer something different – a window into the nocturnal world of the wilderness, where a diverse range of species can be spotted. After sunset drinks in the bush, your guide will power up the spotlight and it’s all eyes peeled for genet, civet, mongoose, porcupine, owls and even elusive leopard on your return to camp.
What is the flight time to Kafue?
The flight travel time from Johannesburg will be approximately 3 and a half hours.
Are there any special health requirements?
Zambia is a malaria area. You should consult your personal physician if you are planning a trip to Kafue.
Are there tsetse flies in the park, and does the ‘sleeping-sickness’ occur?
Yes, in the past 50 years only one case of Human African Trypanosomiasis has taken place.
Can I drink the water in Zambia?
It is recommended that you do not drink water from the tap. Bottled mineral water will be readily available at all accommodations.
Is it safe?
Yes, Kafue is very safe to travel in.
Is there WiFi?
Yes, in other lodges WiFi is available and most have a small internet cafe.
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