The country’s largest park, Kafue, has a strong mammal list and boasts the greatest diversity of antelope in Africa, including important populations of defassa waterbuck and red lechwe.
With an impressive list of more than 500 species of bird, the park is also Zambia’s richest haven for twitchers. And northern Kafue is the best spot in southern Africa for a balloon safari (between June and November).
The park receives far fewer visitors than either the Zambezi or Luangwa valleys, which is particularly attractive. The northern sector, accessible by chartered aircraft or helicopter, is great for first-timers for its better game conditions and a handful of excellent safari camps.
However, the massive southern conservation area appeals more to wildlife experts.
The permanently flowing Kafue River is the lifeblood of this massive and gently undulating plateau, where wet fringes give rise to a wide variety of woodlands and open grasslands, thus creating many diverse habitats for this rich ecosystem.
In the extreme northwest of the park, the wet Busanga Swamps – with their adjacent floodplains – are a designated Ramsar site. While much of this northern sector is permanently waterlogged, the dry season (from May to November) becomes increasingly productive, as large herbivores are attracted to rich feeding grounds on the Busanga Plains. Lions here are known for their tree-climbing habits. Cheetah sightings can be good and the wild dog population is thriving but they’re only occasionally seen. Leopards are prevalent in the forested areas.
For first-timers, we suggest a trip starting and ending at Victoria Falls with the essential inclusion of the Luangwa and/or Lower Zambezi. For seasoned travellers, a combination of Busanga with the southern areas of the park is recommended.
John and Trish Berry loved travelling around their native Zambezi Valley so much they started Zambezi Safari and Travel. Nearly 21 years later the company prides itself on its specialist knowledge of the region’s national parks. To read their personal advice and to find out more about Kafue, click here www.zambezi.co.uk/destinations/zambia/kafue
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