KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Kafue National Park is Africa's third largest National Park and covers an area of over 22,000 square kilometers in Western Zambia. It is very large by any standards and although it is Zambia's oldest Park it is still relatively undeveloped and always gives a feeling of true wilderness.
During the 1950s, the Kafue National Park was in the process, as a result of its proximity to Lusaka, of developing by default into Zambia's premier wildlife tourism destination. It was at this time that Norman Carr (who was the Kafue's first Warden) identified and started to promote the potential of the South Luangwa. With the help of his influence, infrastructure was established in the Luangwa enabling that region to develop into the spectacle that it is today. Investment has returned to the Kafue in recent years and there are now several operators hard at work re-establishing the Park's great reputation.
The Kafue National Park has three main rivers - the Lunga, Lufupa and the Kafue Rivers that combine and feed into the Itezhi Tezhi Lake in the south.
In the north, the astounding Busanga Plains is an area of swamp, some 750 sq km, that is totally inaccessible in the rains. But by May, as the water recedes, the birds flock in, the puku and thousands of red lechwe and other species including zebra and buffalo, move back with the water line and the wide open plains become a great wildlife attraction. The predators here are not only the famous tree climbing lions but also the cheetah which is a rare sighting in Zambia.
These habitats host antelope species which are mostly not seen elsewhere in Zambia. Included are sable, roan, blue wildebeest, Lichenstein's hartebeest, oribi, duiker, defassa waterbuck, tsessebe. So having stayed in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi you are unlikely to have seen any of these, hence including a visit to Kafue, for the wildlife enthusiast, is most rewarding. And for any birder, again there will be species you have not yet picked up including wattled crane, purple crested lourie and possibly the Pel's fishing owl.
Further south from the plains the game will be harder to see but game drives are still most rewarding. Leopard, lion and cheetah continue to be seen throughout most of the park.
For the casual or keen fisherman, there is a chance for superb fishing in the rivers with good bream, barbell and fresh water pike.