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Kafue National Park takes its name from the 1,900 kilometre long, emerald-green Kafue River, which is fringed by riverine vegetation. During the dry season from May to November, the river is the park’s lifeblood, attracting all manner of wildlife and providing a plentiful supply of water for many different species.

Enormous crocodiles lurk in the river, and the birdlife is prolific, with specials including the Pel’s fishing owl and African finfoot. Defassa waterbuck, sable, hartebeest, blue wildebeest, Cape buffalo and Burchell’s zebra graze the grassy dambos. The prominent ilala palm is abundant in the area, and attracts elephants who rattle the fruits to the ground before throwing them into their mouths.

The northern section of the park is dominated by the vast, rolling Busanga Plain fed by the Lufupa River system, which recedes in the dry season, stranding large herds of hippos in shallow pools. This is one of the Kafue’s richest wildlife areas, attracting a diverse range of antelope that includes many thousands of red lechwe and – deep in the swamps – the reclusive sitatunga. This profusion of game attracts numerous lion, leopard and cheetah, while for birders the park is a not to be missed destination offering the colourful spectacle of more than 500 recorded species.

As well as being one of the largest parks, Kafue is also one of Zambia’s oldest parks. Although it wasn’t awarded national park status until 1950, Kafue was established as a protected area under British colonial rule as early as 1924. 

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, defassa waterbuck, lion, red lechwe, sable
  • Where: North Western Province, Zambia

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Best of Zimbabwe & Zambia

This upmarket flying safari combines three of southern Africa’s most fruitful wildlife areas: Hwange and Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, and the vastness of the Kafue in western Zambia. Staying in delightful tented camps in the best locations, enjoy day and night game drives and boat trips to see the abundant wildlife.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £9,295 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Distinctive Zimbabwe & Kafue

This trip focusses on the essence of Zimbabwe and Zambia – neighbouring countries that boast some of Africa’s finest wildlife areas. From the stunning Mana Pools and its aquatic wildlife, fly to the remote Busanga Plains in Zamiba’s Kafue National Park for vehicle safaris to see plains game and their predators.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,395 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Scenic Splendour & Wildlife Wonders

This safari travels to Busanga Plain in the northern sector of Zambia’s Kafue National Park, home to huge herds of lechwe and puku and an exceptionally high density of lion, before taking in the mesmerising Victoria Falls. The final stop is wildlife-rich Hwange, Zimbabwe’s largest national park.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Scenic Wonders of Kafue & Hwange

This journey takes in some of Africa’s finest wilderness: Kafue is one of Zambia’s best kept secrets and it is home to an incredibly diverse range of wildlife, and Hwange National Park in neighbouring Zimbabwe teems with impressive fauna and flora. The mesmerising Victoria Falls provide a suitable end to this stunning trip.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,695 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Busanga Bush Camp

Located right in the centre of Kafue National Park’s Busanga Plains, this bush camp accommodates eight people in four en suite tents. Activities include game drives, walking safaris and night drives, led by qualified experienced guides who are extremely knowledgeable about the area and its wildlife.

Musekese Camp

Taking its name from the local Kaonde name for the monkey-bread tree, Musekese is a small camp situated on the Kafue River, with superb views over the floodplain. Four chalets are surrounded by the sounds of the bush, with leopard coughing at night, hippo snorting and the eerie call of the scops owl.

Shumba Camp

Located on a huge private concession in the centre of the Busanga Plains, Shumba is a luxurious camp named after the area’s large prides of lion. It comprises six spacious safari tents raised on platforms with spectacular views of the varied landscape of estuaries, grassy plains and island thickets.