Kafue is the largest national park in Zambia and second largest in all of Africa. It is a pristine wilderness with a wide variety of game and an astonishing 495+ species of birds on record. Though the entirety of the park is roughly the size of Massachusetts, the jewel of Kafue is undoubtedly the Busanga Plains up in the north. Spanning various lion pride territories, the Plains are said to provide some of the best lion viewing in Africa. The area also boasts large numbers of plains game like puku, red lechwe, hartebeest, oribi, buffalo, elephant and wildebeest. Cheetah and wild dog may also be seen, while a special treat is the ‘resident’ herd of rare roan antelope. A seasonal floodplain, Busanga is underwater from December-June and best explored by boat and mokoro. From July-October, game drives are on offer and hot air balloon flights are available in August and September. Direct daily flights from Lusaka connect the area with other components of a Zambia safari but a flight from Livingstone is also an option on certain days of the week.
In the Central Kafue, boating and fishing on the Lufupa River can be enjoyed throughout the year as well as game drives and bush walks. Wildlife is varied and in high quantities here but more widely dispersed, meaning that game drives might feel disappointing for first time safari-goers. Ila Safari Lodge is reached by a 4-hour drive from Lusaka and is a luxurious entry to Central Kafue. A 3-hour drive further north takes you to Musekese, a true gem for anyone looking for pure wilderness and charismatic guiding by the camp’s owners.