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Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park

About Kafue National Park

Situated in the central part of western Zambia, Kafue National Park covers an expansive area of about 22,400 km2. Approximately equivalent to the size of Wales, it is the biggest national park in Zambia and one of the largest in Africa.

Established in the 1950s, Kafue is also the oldest Zambia National Park. It features a variety of diverse landscapes such as savannahs, wetlands, and riverine forests. These varied landscapes along with the rich habitat support a staggering diversity of wildlife including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and over 500 species of birds. Kafue provides enough wildlife sightings opportunities for safari enthusiasts that make it one of the Best Places to Visit in Zambia.

But, despite the massive size or proximity to two of the prominent cities of Zambia, Kafue remains untouched, unexplored, and little-known. So, if you want to experience the untamed wilderness of the country, Kafue National Park Safaris are your best bet. As a matter of fact, it won’t be wrong to say that Zambia Safaris would feel incomplete without traveling to this epic Zambia Destination- Kafue National Park.

Best time to visit

The Best Time To Visit Kafue National Park is during the middle and end of the dry season which extends from July to October. With dried-out vegetation and animals heading to rivers and gathering around water resources, the dry season becomes the best and most reliable time for wildlife viewing. Apart from this, the Busanga Plains which occupy the northwest area of the park are best visited during August and October. Get more about Best Time To Visit Zambia.

Wildlife

Kafue National Park Wildlife, Hippos and big crocodiles are abundantly present in its river and can be sighted easily. Also, there has been an increase in the number of elephants after an extensive history of poaching. These elephants can be seen along the river banks and located venturing out of the camps and lodges area. Kafue is also well-known for sheltering a wide variety of antelopes. Hoofed animals such as puku, kudu, impala, waterbucks, bushbucks, etc. thrive in the park. One of the Big Five namely, rhinos is absent inside the national park. Get more about Zambia Wildlife.

What To Experience

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TRAVEL GUIDE FOR Kafue National Park

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Kafue National Park History

An influential British Rhodesian conservationist, Norman Carr established the Kafue National Park in the 1950s. Let’s look at the sequence of events that took to the establishment of Kafue National Park.

Before the Establishment of the National Park in 1924-1950

Before the establishment of the park, the area was inhabited by some indigenous tribes such as the Lozi, Tonga, and Luvale. These people lived in peace and harmony with the local wildlife till the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century. Thereafter, the region’s ecology changed over time with hunting, poaching, and agricultural development activities.

These illegal hunting activities led to the degradation of the local ecosystem and many wildlife species were hunted down to the point of extinction. In 1924, the Kafue Game Reserve was established to address the decreasing wildlife within the region.

Thereafter, several proposals were discussed for turning the game reserve into a national park. The proposed national park area included both Kafue Game Reserve and the Cordon Conservatory Area. The government of Northern Rhodesia (formerly Zambia) worked in tandem with other conservationists to establish the national park in the region in 1950. Thus, Kafue National was officially created in 1950.

Post Establishment Scenario (1950-1991)

From 1954-1960, all the villages within the park were removed to the outside of the park. Some of those people included Chief Kaingu of Kantinti, Chief Kasonso of Kusagan Plain, and Chief Kabulwebulwe of Katobo.

In the year 1972, Kafue National Park along with 17 other Zambia National Parks was officially gazetted. Later, a motion was passed by the national assembly for the same on 23rd November 1991.

Since, its establishment, Kafue National Park has been managed by Zambia Wildlife Authority. The park has faced numerous challenges over the years including poaching, human encroachment, and climate change. However, the government and local conservation agencies work together to mitigate the concerned issues.

An Insight: For better administration of Kafue National Park, the command of the park was divided into two. The northern command is located at Ngoma and the southern command is located at Chunga.

Map And Geography

The Kafue National Map represented below gives all the details of the various gates of the park. Besides that, the location of all its lodges is also shown.

Kafue National Park

Geography

Located in central and western Zambia, the Kafue National Park is situated at an average altitude of 1200 meters above sea level. As the national park covers a massive area of 22,400 km2, it is all but natural that the terrain and geography of the place will vary considerably. Some of the primary geographical features of the national park include the following.

Busanga Plains

The beautiful Busanga Plains are located in the northern part of the Kafue and are characterized by its extensive floodplains which are flooded seasonally and attract a large number of wild animals and amazing birdlife. The plains are also home to large herds of antelopes, such as puku, red lechwe, and buffalo. Predators such as lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs can also be sighted during Kafue National Park Safaris.

Central Region Of The National Park

This region is always regarded as the heart of the national park and is dominated by miombo woodlands, riverine forests, and wetlands. It is home to a diverse range of wildlife including elephants, buffalos, leopards, zebras, and a variety of antelopes.

Nanzhila Plains

These plains in the southern region of the park, are less visited but worth a try during your Safaris to Zambia. These grasslands are dotted with islands of vegetation and often with baobabs or ebony trees.

These open grass plains and shallow flood plains are dominated by a variety of antelopes like zebras, reedbucks, elands, kudus, and waterbucks. This part of the park is also speckled by an extraordinary variety of birds too.

Kafue River

The permanent Kafue River follows a well-defined course throughout the park. The river widens in a few places where harder rocks near the surface force the river water into shallow and rocky rapids. The Kafue River and its tributary like the Lufupa River are important habitats for a variety of aquatic habitats, such as hippos and crocodiles.

Most safari lodges and camps you will visit during Kafue National Tours are situated along the river banks. The guests to the park can also indulge in boat cruises and fishing trips during their Travel to Kafue National Park.

Itezhi-Tezhi Lake

The park also includes several other water bodies such as the Itezhi-Tezhi Lake which borders the eastern side of southern Kafue. The lake serves as an important source of water for the animals in the dry season. And its dam regulates the water levels of the Kafue Gorge Hydro-electric Dam and generates some electricity too.

Climate And Vegetation

Kafue National Park Climate

Kafue National Park is located in the subtropical zone and experiences a humid and tropical climate (mostly equivalent to Zambia's Climate). The temperatures generally range from warm to hot. The park experiences two main seasons, namely the dry season and the wet season. It is important to consider these seasons when planning Kafue National Park Safaris.

The Dry Seasonstarts in May and extends to October and receives little to no rainfall. The temperatures are cool and moderate. The highest and lowest temperature experienced in the national park is around 25ºC degrees and 10ºC, respectively.

The Wet season typically starts in November and ends in April in Kafue. The wet season receives heavy rainfall with the average being 1000 mm of rain. The park receives are hot and humid with an average high temperature recorded at 29ºC and an average low temperature recorded at around 17ºC.

Kafue National Park Vegetation

The Kafue National Park is a vast area that encompasses a wide range of vegetation. With tropical rainforests in the north and the savannah grasslands in the south, you will experience significant variation in the terrain when traveling from north to south.

This diversity in the landscapes is reflected in the vegetation too. Most of the Kafue is dominated by a mosaic of miombo woodlands and dambos. Within this, you may locate smaller patches of munga woodlands and riparian forests and thickets along the rivers.

This diverse vegetation inside the national park also supports a wide range of wild animals ranging from herbivores like elephants and buffalos to large predators like lions and leopards which you are going to encounter during your Zambia Safari Tours.

When To Visit Kafue National Park

Travelers generally experience two main seasons on Zambia Safaris to Kafue National Park. They are namely – the dry season and the wet season. While the dry season starts in May and ends in October, the wet season extends from November to April.

Dry Season- May To October

May

With the advent of May, the rains stop and the dry season in Zambia begins. Many seasonal camps might be still closed as some tracks and roads might be still inaccessible because of remaining flood waters.

June – July 

The safari season only begins after May, during June and July. Up till now, rains are a forgotten scenario and the bush has dried. Most areas are accessible to the public. The daytime temperatures are pleasant and are perfect for going out on Kafue National Park Safaris. The temperatures during daytime are averaged around 25 degrees but nights are cold, with temperature reducing to as low as 0 degrees.

August-September

With daytime temperatures, around 31 degrees, the bush turns very dry. Still, animals gather around permanent water resources and are easy to spot. But, visiting Kafue during this time has got its share of drawbacks. Hazy skies with smoke from fires and arid landscapes are to name a few.

October

October is often considered a peak safari month for many safari enthusiasts who know how to deal with heat. But, high temperatures ranging from 33 degrees to 38 degrees can be a downside for many who hate heat. Even, the dull and hazy sky can be turn-down for many.

Now, that we have gone through the dry season months individually, let’s look at some pros and cons of Kafue National Park Tours during this season.

Pros

Cons

Best time for game-viewing because of dried grass and animals confining themselves to water resources.

The late dry season, especially in October is very hot.

All the camps are open during the peak dry season.

June and July are very cold, especially during late nights and early mornings.

Weather is predictable and activities won’t be canceled/postponed.

The hazy and dull sky and the reduced visibility during the late dry season are a big turndown.

Sunny days with almost no rain.

Prices may skyrocket in some accommodations during the peak season.

Busanga plains are only accessible during the dry season.

Few mosquitoes are around, hence the risk of malaria is low.

Wet Season- November To April

November

With November, true rains arrive at the Kafue. These rains bring instant relief after a hot and dry October month. The daytime temperatures range around 30 degrees which are still manageable.

December- March

The weather is hot and wet from December to March in the Kafue National Park. Although wet, it doesn’t rain the entire day. Instead occasional sunshine and heavy downpours are what you will witness if you arrive in Kafue during this time.

April

April in Kafue National Park is all about lush and green landscapes with clear skies. The rains start to disappear away, but some game-viewing tracks remain still inaccessible.

The pros and cons of traveling to Kafue National Park during the wet season are given below.

Pros

Cons

The lush and green landscape during the emerald season is visually stunning.

Most of the roads (except all-weather roads) are impassable.

With fewer tourists around, the camps offer cheaper rates.

Most accommodations are closed. The Busanga plains area is completely inaccessible.

Birding safaris are best with the arrival of migratory birds.

The weather is hot and humid.

Lots of newborn animals can be seen around.

Malaria is a big concern during the wet season.

Clear blue skies devoid of smoke and haze.

Game-viewing is impossible due to the tall length of the grass.

Getting To And Getting Around Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is snugged between two of Zambia’s prominent cities, Livingstone and Lusaka. This makes the national park very accessible to visitors. If you plan on visiting the national park via road, you can choose to drive from Livingstone or Lusaka which will take only about 3-4 hours.

Two Zambia Airports, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (14 km/9 mi from Lusaka) and Harry Mwanga Nkumbla National Park (in Livingstone) are mostly used by travelers to enter the country. These two airports lie close to Kafue National Park and come in handy for visitors traveling to the park.

Note: For smoother Kafue National Park Tours, high-budget travelers can book daily charter planes and can land at any of the three airstrips- Ngoma, Chunga, and Lufupa. Those travelers opting for Zambia Safari Packages and choosing to stay at luxurious lodges or tented camps can avail of this option.

For travelers on Zambia Safari Tours to Kafue National Park, there are three basic options to get in and get around once there. The three choices are explained below

  • You can either fly or bus in or stay at one of your chosen accommodations where the team from the camp/lodge will walk, drive or boat you around the park premises.
  • Secondly, you can also choose the self-drive option and choose to get around the park in your 4×4 vehicle.

Thirdly, arrangements can be made with an outside agency or company to take you in and around the park.

Kafue National Park Fees And Permits

Category Of Fees

Fees

Foreign Travellers

International Visitors

Us $ 20 Per Person Per Day

Sadc Nationals

Us $ 15 Per Person Per Day

Vehicle Fee Per Day (Foreign Registered)

Us $ 15 Per Vehicle Per Day

Camping Fee (Non-Residents)

US $ 5 Per Person Per Day

Zambian Citizens

Camping Fee (Residents And Citizens)

Kwacha 31.5 Per Person Per Day

Zambian Citizens

Kwacha 33.6 Per Person Per Day

Vehicle Fee Per Day (Zambia Registered)

Kwacha 25.5  Per Vehicle Per Day

Note

  • Here, a day refers to the period between 6:00 and 18:00 hours.
  • Children below the age of 5 years are not required to pay any national park fees. And, children aged between five and thirteen shall pay 50 % of the above rates.

Kafue National Park Wildlife

Kafue Wildlife Safaris are all about the immense diversity of species that you are going to encounter inside the national park. Many of the species exhibit local variation which is a reflection of the diverse habitats that are present around the place.

The national park provides shelter to about 158 mammal species, 70 species of reptiles, 58 species of fish, 36 species of amphibians, and over 500 species of birds.

Besides containing an impressive diversity of large mammals, this ecologically diverse park is also popular among safari enthusiasts for its highest diversity of antelope species in a single park in Africa. Be ready to spot around 20 different antelope species on Kafue National Park Safaris.

Let’s look at some prominent Kafue National Park animals that thrive inside the national park premises:

Antelopes

A trip around the vast national park during Zambia Safaris will provide travelers the unique opportunity to locate the superb range of antelopes that are spread throughout the park. A list of some of the common antelopes that can be located in different habitats of Kafue National Park is given below.

Habitats of Kafue

Antelope Species

Busanga swamps

Sitatunga

Busanga Plains

Red lechwe, puku, roan and sable antelopes

Northern Region (excluding Busanga swamps and plains)

Kudu, bushbuck, eland, reedbuck, common duiker, grysbok and defassa waterbuck

Kafwala area

Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and sable

Southern Region

Impala and bushbuck

Itezhi-Tezhi

Impala, puku, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, and warthogs

Large Predators

Lions are widely spread over the Kafue premises. Especially Busanga Plains is quite popular for hosting a pride of lions who are noted for climbing trees. Leopards are commonly spotted throughout the forest areas of the park and can be seen during night drives during Kafue National Park Safaris.

Cheetahs are most frequently located around the Nanzhila area towards the south. Other predators that are present in the park include African wild dogs and cheetahs.

Other Large Animals

Herds of elephants occur throughout the Kafue. But, their density can vary widely within the park. Visitors to the national park on a Zambia Wildlife Safari can observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat as move around and socialize.

Buffaloes are also frequently located in the national park, mainly around the Busanga plains. Black rhinos have been completely poached out from the national park.

The Kafue River and its Lunga tributary are full of hippos and crocodiles. They occur in huge numbers and are one of the primary highlights of Kafue National Park Tours. Other common notable animals present in the park include vervet monkeys, yellow baboons, porcupines, mongooses, civets, and pangolins.

Birdlife

With over 500 recorded species of birds, the place is a haven for birdwatchers coming on Safaris to Zambia. The outstanding array of habitats of Kafue National Parks supports a plethora of birdlife. The wide range of habitats of Kafue starting from miombo woodlands, rivers, wetlands, and the seasonal floodplains host a unique variety of birds. The list of different habitats of Kafue and the bird species that thrive in the particular area are listed below.

Different Habitats Of Kafue National Park

Species Of Birds

Wetlands And Floodplains

 Herons (Black Heron), Storks, Ibises, Plus Crowned And Wattled Cranes, Denham’s And Kori Bustards, And Secretary Birds.

Verdant Stretches Of Riverine Vegetation

Ross’s Turaco, Narina Trogons, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Brown-Headed Apalis, And Pel’s Fishing Owl.

Miombo Woodlands

Endemics Such As Pale-Billed Hornbill, Miombo Pied Barbets, Sousa’s Shrike, And Spotted Creeper.

Nanzhila Plains

The Black-Cheeked Lovebird (Near-Endemic Species)

Where To Stay At Kafue National Park

Travelers coming for Kafue National Park Safaris can choose to stay either at luxury lodges or basic campsites depending on their budget and preference.

The north of the park has got several luxurious accommodations that are included in the Zambia Safari Package. The central and southern part of the park has more affordable options. These accommodations can shut down during heavy rains.

Here are some accommodation options that are available travelers can avail of during Kafue National Park Tours.

  • Luxury Lodges: Several lodges in and around the national park offer luxurious accommodations. These lodges generally offer all-inclusive safari packages with accommodations in high-end spacious hotels with special amenities, meals, and safari activities.
  • Mid-range Lodges: For those who want something in between comfort and luxury can choose to stay in mid-range luxury lodges. These lodges offer comfortable accommodations, meals, and activities at a more affordable price as compared to luxurious accommodations.
  • Basic Lodges and Campsites: Budget accommodations in Kafue offer a more rustic experience along with providing basic amenities such as rooms with beds and shared bathroom facilities.

A list of Zambia Accommodations options offered for travelers coming for Kafue National Park Safaris and their highlights are listed down.

Accommodation Options

Type of accommodations

Activities on Offer

Busanga Bush Camp

Mid-range

Game drives (day & night), game walks

Ila Safari Lodge

Mid-range

Game drives (day and night), game walks, bird-watching, and boat cruises.

Kaingu Safari Lodge

Affordable

Boat cruises, fishing, birding, canoeing, and river trails.

Shumba Camp

Luxury

Game drives, guided walks, boating, and

Hot-air ballooning.

Fig-tree bush camp

Mid-range

Game drives, morning walking safaris, boating, and fishing.

Leopard Lodge

Luxury

Boat cruises, fishing, game viewing, and bird watching.

Things To Do At Kafue National Park

There are plenty of Kafue National Park Activities that guests coming to Zambia’s oldest park generally take part in to get the real feel of an authentic African Safari. These activities are sometimes on offer by your safari operator or are organized by your lodges/camps that you have booked to stay in during Kafue National Park Tours.

Some of the activities that are offered by us and included in Zambia Safari Packages when visiting Kafue National Park:

Walking Safaris

A short/ long excursion to the African bush with a guide or armed ranger allows you to experience the intense wilderness of the area. These safaris are usually conducted during the night. Also, you are going to get astounded by the level of knowledge that these guides will share with you.

Balloon Flights

Balloon flights over the vast areas of Kafue National Park are the best way to explore the wilderness of the place. These flights offer you extensive knowledge about the terrain and wildlife while simultaneously providing a truly magical experience by giving an aerial perspective of the area.

Boating Safaris

Kafue Safari includes boating excursions over the Kafue River and its tributaries. You can both take a speedboat or an e-boat and enjoy your trip down the river. Stretch your legs and soak in the spectacular views around you while getting a closer look at the leopards hanging out on banks.

Game Drives

Game drives are the most popular activity among travelers arriving at the park during their Zambia Safari Tours. These drives are usually organized during the early morning or late afternoon/ early evening and give the safari-goers a unique opportunity to experience the diversity of wildlife that Kafue has to offer.

Bird-Watching

Bird-watching activities are a highlight for anyone who wants to go on birding during Zambia Safaris. With a stunning number of around 500 species of birds, safari enthusiasts are going to tick off a few from their checklist.

Canoe Trips

Canoe trips over the Kafue River are an amazing activity that offers guests to the park a unique chance to explore the park waters while watching the birdlife thriving at the banks. You also get the chance to silently watch the wildlife arriving at the shores to quench the thirst and also get the rare chance to view huge numbers of crocodiles and hippos in the water.

Fishing

Travelers on Kafue National Park Safaris tend to go on fishing trips over the Kafue River. Some of the fish species of Kafue that make these trips rewarding are bream, barbell, and freshwater pike.

Kafue National Park Facts

Here are some Kafue National Park Facts about Africa’s largest and most diverse wilderness areas.

  • Kafue National Park is not only the largest national park in Zambia but also one of the second-largest in the African continent. The Park covers an area of over 22, 480 square kilometers (8600 square miles).
  • Being situated at the world’s largest Trans frontier conservation area, the Kavango Zambezi, the Kafue is one of the world’s most important natural heritage sites.
  • This National Park was established in the 1950s and is named after the eponymous Kafue River, which flows through the park and acts as a major source of water. The Kafue River is a major tributary of the River Zambezi and stretches around 1600 km (990 miles).
  • Although little-known among safari-goers, the park has got the potential to be a popular destination in Zambia Safaris because of its immense diversity of wildlife.

This is because the national park has a record number of 158 mammal species and over 500 species of birds. Besides, around 70 species of reptiles, 58 species of fish, and 36 species of amphibians call Kafue their home.

  • The terrain of the national park is characterized by savanna grasslands with Miombo woodlands scattered across the plains. Around 60% of the area is dominated by these woodlands which are characterized by various tree species like Brachystegia, Julbernardia, and Isoberlinia.

The southern part of the park is dominated by rocky outcrops, stony hills, and mopane woodlands with diverse vegetation including evergreen forests, savanna grasslands, and mixed forests.

  • The Kafue National Park can be easily accessed from two of the important cities of Zambia, Lusaka, and Livingstone. Several lodges and campsites are available around for the visitors to stay when visiting the park.
  • The park offers a wide range of activities for its guests, including game drives, walking safaris, fishing activities, canoe rides, and cultural experiences.
  • The Busanga Plains located in the northern region of Kafue National Park are dominated by flat grasslands dombos which are flooded during the wet season and dry up during the dry season. These areas are only accessible during the dry season.

Kafue National Park Safaris are incomplete with visiting these wild wetlands and witnessing its top-notch predator action and colorful birdlife.

Kafue National Park Safari Highlights

Wildlife Of Kafue National Park

  • Best places in Africa to find the elusive leopards in forested areas of Kafue.
  • Great wildlife spotting opportunities with cheetahs, wild dogs, hippos, and crocodiles.
  • The grassy seasonal floodplains in northern Kafue are breeding grounds of red lechwe, puku, buffalos, and wildebeests.
  • Southern Kafue is home to large concentrations of elephants.
  • Busanga Swamps, a Ramsar site in the extreme northwest of the park are extremely popular for bird-watching safaris.
  • Lions of Busanga are popular because of their unique ability to climb trees.

Kafue National Park Activities

  • Explore the wilderness on foot with walking safaris organized especially in the winter months.
  • Boating Safaris are conducted along the Kafue River during the summer rainy months.
  • Guided tours in open-sided safari vehicles for a great view of the park’s wildlife.
  • Self-drives are permitted inside the national park. But, it is important to carry the map and other necessary supplies along.
  • Guided fishing trips along the river to catch species such as bream, catfish, and tigerfish.

Conclusion

Out of all the best things about Kafue National Park, its variety, diversity and the fact that it isn’t overpopulated by visitors are some of its key highlights. A visit to the national park will ensure you a wild and unusual safari experience and excellent game-viewing. Besides, you are also bound to get mesmerized by the spectacular Busanga Plains and the large Kafue River which hosts the primary wildlife of Kafue.

These Kafue National Park Safaris can also be combined with other popular destinations such as majestic Victoria Falls or the thrilling South Luangwa or the tranquil Lower Zambezi for a truly magical experience during Zambia Safaris. So, come to visit Kafue and witness Africa’s unexplored wilderness and virgin bush while taking loads of memories back with you.

best month to Visit Kafue National Park

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Peak

Low

Mixed

Kafue National Park in January

January is the height of Zambia’s summer rainy season and most guide books will tell you it’s the worst time to visit. By January, heavy downpours have turned Zambia’s dirt and gravel roads to an impassable mush, rivers break their banks, and many camps and lodges close completely, only reopening once the waters have subsided. Daytime temperatures average about 30°C, with nights around 20°C across most of the country.

Kafue National Park in February

February in Zambia is much the same as January, with short, fierce afternoon thunderstorms, swollen rivers and washed-out roads. It can be a difficult time to visit in Zambia, unless you’re flying into a specialist lodge that operates throughout the season. These usually offer their best safari deals from January to April and will sometimes have discounts for families and children. Expect day-time temperatures around 30°C and nights falling below 20°C by the end of the month.

Kafue National Park in March

Zambia’s wet season is nearing its end in March, but there’s still plenty of rain, especially in the north. Up north, the season lasts longer, but gradually the rains retreat from the south, first from Livingstone and then Lusaka. Hot days remain around 30°C, but the nights get slowly cooler – down to around 15°C by the end of March.

Kafue National Park in April

Although not considered prime game-viewing season, April is an excellent time to Safari In Zambia . Rates tend to be lower, the weather drier and slightly cooler, and the atmosphere clear and crisp and scattered with fluffy clouds. It’s an ideal month for photography enthusiasts and for those who want to see the greener side of Southern Africa without the afternoon downpours. Hot days will still touch 30°C, with colder nights falling to between 10°C and 15°C. By mid-April the rains have almost completely left the south, but may linger in the north into the first few weeks of May.

Kafue National Park in May

May is arguably Zambia’s most beautiful month, with the vegetation at its lush best and Victoria Falls in full flow. By May, all of Zambia’s southern camps and lodges have reopened after the rains and across the south the dirt roads are drying, allowing self-drivers back into the parks. May is not yet prime time for wildlife viewing – the thick vegetation makes animals harder to spot. That said, Zambia’s guides are experts and guided game drives can still produce great sightings.

Kafue National Park in June

June marks the start of Zambia’s prime safari season, but many lodges still offer reduced ‘shoulder season’ rates so it’s one of the best months to visit. Later in the season conditions can get very hot, but June is cool and pleasant, with daytime highs not much over 25°C and nightly lows around 10°C. Pack thick socks and a warm jacket for early morning walks and game drives. And prepare yourself for one of Zambia’s best months for a walking safari.

Kafue National Park in July

July to October is peak season in Zambia, when game-viewing is at its finest, but lodges and camps also charge their highest rates. This is this the best time to go on Zambia Safari, with the thinning vegetation making wildlife easier to spot. It’s also the coldest month to visit Zambia, with daytime temperatures around 25°C in the south. Hot days can still reach 30°C, especially in the north, but expect some chilly nights and take a fleece, or better yet a windproof jacket, for early morning walks and game drives.

Kafue National Park in August

Zambia’s peak season extends into August and the combination of cool, dry weather and increasingly thinning vegetation makes it one of the best months to go on Zambia Safari. Across the country, surface water is rapidly drying and by the end of the month the animals begin to mass along the rivers, congregating near permanent water in ever increasing numbers. As pools dry, fish are trapped, and a variety of birds, including the supremely ugly marabou stork, descend for an easy meal.

Kafue National Park in September

By September things are hotting up in Zambia, as temperatures rise and the increasingly water-stressed animals compete for resources. As more pools dry, fish are exposed – an easy meal for hungry eagles, storks and scavengers. Both predators and prey stay close to the rivers and lion sightings are more common as their range decreases and their movements become more predictable. By the end of September hot days can easily reach 35°C, with nightly lows of between 15°C and 20°C.

Kafue National Park in October

October is peak safari season in Zambia – but it’s hot! Known locally as ‘suicide month’ the relentless heat hits the low-lying regions hardest, especially the Luangwa and Zambezi valleys where temperatures in the shade can reach well above 40°C. This includes Livingstone and Victoria Falls where white-water rafting is no longer just about the world-class rapids, for many it’s simply a great way to cool down. A stint on Lake Kariba is ideal at this time of year. It’s arguably the best month to catch giant tigerfish and in the deeper waters it’s also safe to swim.

Kafue National Park in November

November is the spring ‘shoulder’ season in Zambia when many lodges offer reduced rates or close completely, mostly on account of the unpredictable weather. Nobody knows exactly when the rains will begin, but they usually start in the north of Zambia first, then slowly move south over the course of the month. Lodges with fly-in access are more likely to stay open, but even some of these shut down for the wet season. As soon as the rains set in most dirt roads become impassable and lodges replying on road transfers generally close by mid-November at the latest.

Kafue National Park in December

December is the start of Zambia’s rainy season – generally cooler than the previous few months, but nevertheless still hot and humid. Expect daytime averages of roughly 30°C and nights down to only around 20°C. Rainstorms can be fierce, with heavy downpours rapidly turning the dirt roads to mud. Camps and lodges without fly-in access close completely and many close anyway due to flooding. Few safari operators continue through the wet season, but those that do stay open usually offer lower rates. It can still be a rewarding time to visit, especially for bird lovers, as the migrant species return in full force and the breeding season begins in earnest across the dambos and swamps.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Tourists to Kafue National Park will get experience the most intense African bush by going on walking safaris.  Other prominent activities that most tourists experience on their Zambia Safaris include balloon safaris, specialized safari tours, and boat safaris.

No, Kafue National Park is not the largest national park in the world. But, this nation is the biggest and oldest national park in Zambia. Although, it’s not the largest it is still a significant and impressive park that offers a variety of wildlife sightings and other scenic attractions for travelers arriving at the national park.

The best time to visit the Kafue National Park is during the dry months running from June-October. The cool and pleasant temperature during the day is ideal for Kafue National Park Safaris.

Moreover, the thin and dried-out bush around this time provides ample game viewing opportunities as the animals head to the rivers and water holes to drink fresh water.

The answer is unfortunately yes! As Kafue National Park is a malaria risk area, travelers coming to the park during Zambia Safari Tours  are always advised to take necessary precautions before starting their journey. You can also visit your local doctor before your trip to take all the vaccinations and consult about any health recommendations.

A word of advice: Do pack some long-sleeve comfortable clothes to cover your skin. You can also use mosquito repellants to avoid any mosquito bites.

You should dedicate at least 48 hours to Kafue National Park Tours during Safaris To Zambia. Anything less that would not be sufficient to catch a glimpse of everything that the park has got to offer. With so much going around, travelers to the park would need a minimum of two days to soak in everything that goes around various corners of the park.

Moreover, if you have got time in hand, then plan to stay in the national park for 4-7 days which allows time to experience the different terrains of the expansive park.

The roads within the national park premises are in good condition. However, you need to be an experienced driver to take on these roads in your vehicle. Visitors to the park generally hire a 4×4 vehicle to drive around the national park.

Also, you need not worry about roads leading to the national park area as these main roads that reach the national park start from Lusaka and Livingstone. They are in good condition which will ensure that your journey is smooth and hassle-free.

The best possible way to explore the wilderness of Kafue when visiting the park is by going for daily game drives or sunset boat cruises along the Kafue River. Both these activities will allow you to add some new list of animals and birds to your sightings list while giving you a proper feel of African Safari in its truest sense.

Common sightings during Kafue National Park Safari include several prides of lion, elusive leopards, and cheetahs. Apart from that, visitors to the park also can view packs of African wild dogs. Other popular animals in the park include buffaloes, zebras, hippos, and some antelopes like sable, hartebeest, puku, impala, bushbuck, roan, and waterbucks.

No, Kafue National Park has got no giraffes residing inside the park premises. It has also got no presence of rhinos.

On 1st July 2022, after the African Parks signed a twenty-year agreement with the Government of Zambia, the management of the national park falls under the ambit of the government.

The number of travelers that arrive in the park for Kafue Safaris is around 10,000. This means that you are sharing the park with an average of around 27 people. And, looking at the vast area the park covers, the number is minuscule. This also implies despite owning large diversity of wildlife, Kafue is little-known and largely unexplored.

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