The oldest and largest national park in Zambia, Kafue National Park lies in the Kafue River basin and stretches 22,400 square kilometers over northwestern, central, and southern Zambia. This massive park—about the size of Wales or Massachusetts—is the second largest in all of Africa and rich in wildlife and species of birds, both large and small. More than 55 different animal species make their home here, making for one of the most diverse safari experiences on the continent. Despite its size, wildlife, and prominent location near Livingstone, Kafue National Park remains a lesser-known and seldom-explored habitat where vast stretches of bush still remain untouched.
While the Big Five certainly roam within its boundaries, Kafue National Park is less about the quantity of wildlife and more about the journey of varied discovery. Permanent water sources throughout the park ensure amazing animal encounters, with kudu, impala, zebra, red lechwe, buffalo, puku, wild dog, and many other denizens canvasing the terrain in unbelievable numbers. Kafue is also regarded as one of the best places in Africa to spot leopard, especially on night drives and afternoon boat cruises along the Kafue River when the big cats come down for a drink. Another rarity for Zambia is the cheetah, which can be found preying on puku and impala in the mixed woodland and riverine areas. Elephant, too, are frequently seen along the riverbanks and even wander into some of the surrounding camps and lodge areas nearby.
Kafue National Park might still be considered a hidden gem on the safari circuit, but that hasn’t stopped a significant growth in luxury camps and lodges in and around the park. With these added developments come a number of supplementary amenities such as well-marked roads and private airstrips, as well as some of the finest safari guides in Zambia. Morning and night game drives are all permitted within Kafue, as are Zambia’s classic walking or “foot safaris” which bring visitors as close to nature as possible.