KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Kafue National Park
Kafue’s secret lies in the River, the lifeblood of this Park. Running like a main arteriole through the majority of the length of the Park, it provides the lifeblood to all that makes this place home, to both animal and man.
My first visit to the Park was in July 2014, and the River made an immediate impact on me. Those crisp early mornings, getting out on the river with the steam rising off the water, created a memory which has drawn me back ever since. One of my favourite parts of the river is around Kaingu Lodge, where it creates a venous network, split by small and large islands, massive rock beds, creating a warren of river channels to explore. A birders paradise, as well as a playground for the adventurous.
Further north lies, what must be one of the continents hidden gems, the Busanga Plains. Driving through the Miombo woodlands, after following the Kafue River for a short while, takes you to the far northern section of the Park, where the Lufupa River creates a type of wetland, sometimes hidden below a carpet of grass, providing a habitat that can only be described as breathtaking! Breaching the Miombo treeline and heading out on to the grassy plains, one realizes the scale of these grasslands, forming an ocean of grass. Where the Lufupa river meanders through the grassy islands, the wildlife is astounding – Red Lechwe by the thousands, hippo and elephants. There are not many nights where the silent chewing of the buck is not broken by the loud roar of the lion, sometimes loud enough to really get the adrenalin going, if they happen to pass through camp. The foggy winter mornings produce some amazing viewing at sunrise, even while sitting on the camp deck enjoying your morning tea before heading out for a drive.
Heading south finds another grassland area that provides for incredible viewing, the Nanzhila Plains. Less populated than the north, one feels you have the area to yourself. Although drier, the scattered dambos (natural waterholes) create islands of game activity that offers for amazing game viewing. One does not even have to leave camp, as the animals will venture to these waterholes sometime during the day.
The diversity offered by the Kafue National Park makes this one of the most under-estimated destinations in Zambia. Fewer Lodges mean less people, but this only enhances your experience as you will often have a wildlife experience all to yourself. Not only is the game viewing exciting, but there are also some incredible Lodges within the Park, taking a safari experience to the next level and making it a trip you will never forget.