Established in 1924, the Kafue covers over 22,400km2 of very varied terrain, and is one of the world’s largest parks. Naturally, its geography varies considerably. A safari from the north side of the park to the south, or vice versa, is an incredible diverse and rewarding journey. Kafues landscape transforms from flat open grasslands to miombo woodland interspersed with huge granite hills. The permanent Kafue River also shifts as it makes its way through the park, starting as a wide sluggish channel in the north, and changing to rapids crashing around hundreds of boulders in the south before emptying into the man-made Lake Itezhi-Tezhi.
Covering such a large area, with a variety of habitats, the National Park is rich in wildlife. Kafue has a superb range of antelope and large herds of red lechwe and puku, with smaller groups of zebra and blue wildebeest in the Busanga Plains around June. Kudu, bushbuck, eland, reedbuck, common duiker, grysbok and defassa waterbuck are all frequently seen while out on safari game drive in the northern area of the park.
Lion are relatively widespread throughout the park, but the larger males are increasingly uncommon. On the Busanga Plains, prides stalk through nervous herds of puku and lechwe nightly, using the natural drainage ditches for cover with deadly efficiency. Leopards remain very common throughout the forested areas and, on rare occasions, can be seen slinking across the open plains. Cheetah are not common in Kafue, and when they are spotted, it is mostly in the north side of the park. Wild dog can be seen occasionally as well. Kafue National Park is currently one of Zambia’s greatest strong holds for the declining canine. Kafue also boasts over 495 species of birds, which is believed to be the highest of any Zambian National Park. There have also been around 495 species recorded here, suggesting that the park has probably the richest bird life of any Zambian park.
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