The Kafue National Park is so often overlooked, but tourists are finally starting to see what all the fuss is about. And rightly so. Kafue is vast and, covering around 22, 400km², it is one of the largest parks in Africa.
And here are four reasons why you should add it to your bucket list of safari destinations:
1. Pristine wilderness
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, wattled cranes, saddle-billed storks, Pel’s fishing owls, African finfoots, goliath herons, hornbills, vultures and eagles, your birding list can grow extensively and it will be difficult to put your binoculars down!
There are also 20 different species of antelope in the park ranging from puku, bushbuck and impala, to sable, roan, sitatunga, blue duiker, reedbuck and oribi.
With all these antelope on offer, there is naturally also a lot of big game such as lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog to look out for.
And don’t forget the more elusive hunters such as the genets, servals and honey badgers. The list goes on. And to top it all off, the landscapes are equally stunning with huge open plains, shallow wetlands, teak and miombo forests, competing with the sight of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi.
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. The 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. It is also a major tributary to the Zambezi River, which it joins in Chirundu at the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.
Just like its national park, the Kafue River is also very diverse with sections of fast flowing rapids as well as slower sections with sandy banks where you can find nesting bee-eaters, pods of hippos, basking crocodiles, monitor lizards and otters. Fish eagles call and soar overhead, whilst kingfishers and herons make the most of the abundance of fish in the water.
You can take stunning sunset cruises along the river whilst relaxing and enjoying the scenery or you can opt for a gentle canoe ride, taking in the sights and sounds at your own pace. And whether you are a beginner or a keen angler, you can go fishing for Kafue’s five species of bream, fresh water pike and barbell.
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.
Pioneer Safaris offers trips across Zambia and one of our favourite places, for all of these reasons, is Kafue. We have a great relationship with the operators in the park and a genuine passion for what it has to offer.