Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park is in the Kafue River Basin of Zambia. It is approx. 22,400 square km and is one of the largest parks in the country and the world. It's geography varies considerably from flood plains in the north to desert regions in the south.
A huge Baobob tree is at "Treetops" Conservation School Camp not far from the Busanga Flood Plains. The school accepts small numbers of children in the dry season for short stays to help educate them about the Park's wildlife. It became very rundown but was renovated by a group of schools from Lusaka because educating the next generation of Zambians about the country's remaining widlife is vital for future conservation of the Park.
Flora and fauna
Kafue is extremely rich in animal life. Hippo abound in the rivers with good sightings of huge crocodiles. Many species of birds, large and small are abundant. Elephant too are on the come-back after extensive poaching and are frequently seen along the river banks and even venture into the camps and lodges. Hoofed animals are also thriving in the park especially Puku, Kudu, Red Lechwe, Impala, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Oribi, Blue Duiker, Burchells Zebra and many others. Also to be seen are Warthogs, Mongooses, Nile Monitor Lizards, Porcupine, Cerval, Civet, Terrapin, Vervet Monkeys and Bush Babies as well as Cape Buffalo, Blue Wildebeest, Lion and Leopard. These are the main animals which live in the park but of course there are many more. The two animals of the "big five" which are missing from the northern areas are the Rhino and Giraffe. The Rhino was poached out and is the subject of debate as to whether to re-introduce it.
Baobob, Mahogan, Sausage, Sycamore Fig, Ilala Palm, Wild Date and Acacia are just a minute few of the varied trees and bushes that grow profusely in Kafue, many to a huge size in the northern areas because of the high rainfall.
The northern area receives more rain than the south so it is best visited in the winter months from July to October when the rainy season is over as many areas are impassable and flooded during the summer. The lodges only open in the winter months as the plains are totally awash and many roads are under water. The rivers too, rise to high levels, the evidence of which can still be seen after they've gone down, by the water-weed hanging high from the branches of the trees and by the damage to the road surfaces and small bridges, many of which need urgent repair before the area can be accessed again.
Getting there and getting around, the traveller has three choices. Firstly, you can fly in and and stay at one of the better lodges where the staff will walk, drive or boat you around that area of the park. Secondly, you can drive yourself into and around the park. Thirdly, arrangements can be made with an outside agency or company to drive you into and around the park.
Go for daily boat trips along the Lufupa and Kafue Rivers near Lufupa Lodge with a long serving, very knowledgeable skipper. Watch enthralled, as he invites a totally wild Fish Eagle (nick-named "Wilbur"), to swoop down to scoop up the fish he throws to land on the water not yards from the boat. Whilst out on the water, try a spot of fishing and have your catch served up to you for lunch or dinner.
Take early morning and late afternoon/early evening game drives to be shown an abundance of wildlife that abounds in the area, by experienced and very knowledgeable spotters and drivers.
Enjoy a dip in the pool at Lufupa Lodge when the heat of the day is enticing you to do so.
Food in the many lodges is very good but mostly basic. Camping visitors can bring their own food and/or join in nearby lodge dining arrangements. There are no laws against alcohol being consumed and lodges operate a bar system which is usually settled at the end of the stay.
Camp site fees vary from camp to camp but are very reasonable.
Unless noted all fees are per person per night. ZAWA park and bed night fees are not included.
Pinnon Safari Lodge is the newest lodge in Kafue National Park. Owned and run by the Pinches family from the UK, Pinnon Lodge is small, intimate charming lodge straight on the banks of the Kafue river. Currently comprising of 2 luxury tented chalets both with en-suite bathrooms and a river facing veranda. The restaurant and bar are also on the river facing west providing fantastic sunset drinks opportunities daily. Camping available as well for backpackers.