Lion at sunset, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Kafue National Park

This enormous expanse of wilderness covers a large tranche of central Zambia, with a number of rivers cutting through it.

Unspoilt and still relatively overlooked, this magnificent park is home to a diverse range of landscapes and wildlife. The remarkable Busanga Plains fill the lush northern reaches, whilst grasslands, miombo forests, rock-strewn river valleys, reed-lined lakes and teak woodlands coat the central and southern regions.

The range of wildlife is fantastic, with an incredible array of plains game found on the floodplains and grasslands. More than 20 species of antelopes can be found here, making Kafue one of the foremost parks in Africa for plains game.

Hippo yawning, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia
Kafue National Park, Zambia

A little more about Kafue National Park

Predators, including wild dogs, lions, cheetahs and leopards, also stalk this wild landscape. The elephant population, as with many parks, has seen a rapid decline in recent decades. However, it is now said to be in recovery, with large herds once more roaming the park.

The vast array of landscapes and the watery nature of Kafue combine to support an incredible wealth of avifauna. Almost 500 species of birds can be found here, including a number of unusual species, such as wattled cranes, crested guinea-fowls, black-cheeked lovebirds and slaty egrets.

Kafue Flats lechwe running in the water on the plains
Lechwe, Kafue Flats

Why Visit Kafue National Park?

“Allowing for a multitude of extraordinary experiences and photographic opportunities, the Kafue River offers an exceptional diversity of wildlife – both at its banks and in its waters. It is possible to spot pods of hippos, crocodiles, nesting bee-eaters and a variety of other birds. Despite this, it is uncommon to see more than three boats at any given time while on the waters, ensuring that a boat safari on the Kafue River instils a sense of peace and tranquillity, as well as anticipation.”

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Lion at dawn, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia
Kafue National Park, Zambia

What to do in Kafue

  • Spot red lechwes grazing on the floodplains of Busanga, in the north
  • Track packs of wild dogs on the southern edge of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi
  • Take boat cruises down the slow-moving Kafue River
  • Explore the variety of landscapes that make up this vast park
  • Spend several days canoeing down the beautiful Kafue River
  • Take a hot air balloon trip above the mesmerising Busanga Plains
African Wild Dogs, Zambia, Southern Africa
Kafue National Park, Zambia

When to go to Kafue

Kafue National Park is generally best visited in the dry season, which runs from July until October. Not only is it easier to spot wildlife during this time, but it is also the best time to access the park.

The floodplains of the north are almost entirely inaccessible during the rains, with camps closing between November and May. Camps further south may stay open a little longer, but still tend to close during the wettest part of the year.

Experiences

Tell us what you love doing and we’ll curate a journey that’s perfect for you.

Kafue River Sunset

Canoe the Kafue River

Spend several days canoeing down the beautiful Kafue River.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Balloon over Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Take a hot air balloon trip above the mesmerising Busanga Plains.

Suggested Holiday Idea

African Wild Dogs, Zambia, Southern Africa

Wild Dogs in Kafue

Track packs of wild dogs on the southern edge of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Busanga Bush Camp Front view of Camp, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Busanga Floodplains

Spot red lechwes and pukus grazing on the floodplains of Busanga, in the north.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

KaingU Lodge £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Positioned on the beautiful slow-moving Kafue River, KaingU Lodge is situated on the eastern edge of Kafue National Park. Traditionally styled, this small camp centres on a thatched boma. Beside this, a redwood deck looks out over the river, shaded by overhanging trees. At night a stone fire pit warms the deck, which is the perfect place for dining, sipping sundowners or simply relaxing. Six Meru-style thatched chalets, with canvas walls, dot the surrounding area. All feature en-suite facilities, as well as stone-built outside showers that face the waters of the Kafue River. The tented chalets sit on raised private decks and are lit by solar-powered lights.

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Shumba Camp £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Shumba Camp sits at the heart of the Busanga Plains – an area rich in plains game. This beautiful camp stands upon a slightly raised island, encircled by fertile grasslands. A canopy of fig trees shades the tents, with the camp afforded stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape.

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Konkamoya Lodge £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Konkamoya Lodge lies on the southern shores of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, positioned on a quiet promontory that juts out into the lake’s calm waters. Looking out towards the sunrise, the camp blends into a patchy sea of mahogany and ebony trees, dotted with ancient baobabs and African spear plants.

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Busanga Bush Camp £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Dubbed the remote rustic camp that has everything, Busanga Bush Camp provides the best lion viewing in Africa from its position in the heart of the Busanga Plains – a vast expanse of grassy seasonal floodplains. The camp, hidden in a well-vegetated tree-island of sycomore fig trees, consists of four twin-thatched huts with open-air, hot and cold water showers and toilets. The comfortable huts are well spaced for privacy.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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