One of the largest parks in Africa, Kafue National Park is also one of the most accessible parks in Zambia for self-drive visitors. There are many quality lodges located just off the Lusaka-Mongu Road. One of the major features in the park is leopard sightings. Keep in mind that animals here can be shy. Expect to see four of the Big Five, with the exception of rhino. The park is home to a wide variety of antelope.
Kafue National Park boasts a wide range of habitats. The main features are the Kafue River and its tributaries. Rivers are lined with riparian forests. Patches of miombo woodland are mixed together with swamp areas away from the rivers. The Busanga Plains are located in the far north of the Kafue National Park. Beware that these floodplains are difficult to reach during the wet season. However, the floodplains are home to an enormous amount of wildlife in the dry season.
There is a large variety of animals that can be easily spotted in Kafue National Park. Giraffe and rhino are the only two absentees. You will have a chance to see all big cats, as well as wild dogs. Crocodile and hippo can be found in the rivers. Elephant bulls are known to be aggressive, while elephant and buffalo are quite shy.
There are also a lot of antelopes present. Expect to find wetland species like red lechwe which can be usually spotted in big herds. Travelers will also see puku and the shy sitatunga antelope. Oribi, roan antelope and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest prefer drier grounds are move around in pairs.
Best Time to Visit
Thanks to its tropical location, Kafue National Park doesn’t experience much deviation in temperatures throughout the year. The only exception is right before the rains arrive in October. Days are warm during the Dry season which lasts from May to October. The Wet season brings hot and humid weather.
May to October –Dry Season
- Animals gather at water sources which make the conditions for wildlife viewing ideal.
- There is little rain and days are sunny for most of the time
- The risk of getting infested with Malaria is minimal because there are fewer mosquitos around
- If you wish to visit Busanga Plains, it is only accessible during the dry season.
- Rates are high during this time of year.
- Bush seems parched and the sky can be cloudy.
- It’s extremely hot in October.
- Warm clothing is recommended, as mornings are cold.
November to April –Wet Season
- This is called the “Emerald Season”. The scenery looks fresh and green.
- Rates are low and there are fewer tourists.
- Migrants are present, which means this is the best time for bird-watching.
- A number of newborn animals can be spotted
- Busanga area is unreachable and many lodges get closed
- Game drives are limited and most roads are in poor condition
- It can get both hot and humid.
- The risk of Malaria is higher in the Wet Season.
Lusaka is located 360km/223mi from Kafue National Park. It is relatively easy to reach the park via the Lusaka-Mongu Road by car. There are a couple of lodges located close to the highway. In case you wish to venture any distance into the actual park, a good 4×4 is recommended. A couple of safari operators can be found in Lusaka and they offer trips to Kafue.
Most visitors who are staying in premium lodges in the park usually fly by a chartered airplane to Kafue. You will see several airstrips in the park. The main airport in Zambia also known as Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) is located 14km/9mi from Lusaka which is also the main entrance point to the country. Travelers can also reach the park from Livingstone Airport (LVI) (Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport)
Airlines & Ticket Prices
In order to find out which airlines transfer passengers to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and about prices, please check Expedia and Skyscanner.
In most cases, chartered flights between parks are part of the safari package. The tickets for these flights are usually booked by the operator who is arranging the safari trip.
There are no scheduled flights to Kafue. However, you can book tickets for scheduled flights between Mfuwe, Lusaka, and Livingstone. The only domestic service that offers scheduled flights is Proflight.