Lion will likely feature on your luxury Kafue safari.

Luxury safaris in Kafue National Park

The only flat thing in remote Kafue National Park is the terrain – your spirits will soar as you discover its incredible diversity of habitats on your luxury Kafue safari. Its sense of seclusion is enhanced by the fact that areas such as the Busanga Plains are inaccessible for part of each year, due to seasonal flooding.

From miombo woodland to dense riverine vegetation along the Kafue River and its perennial tributaries, to the ‘dambos’ or grassy floodplain areas, Kafue’s landscapes would be the stars of the show were it not for the huge herds of antelope and their attendant predators.

The classic Kafue scene is of vast herds of puku and lechwe warily watching one of the big cats or wild dog, approach – before fleeing through shallow water. Lion, especially, have had to overcome their aversion to water to swim after their prey.

Game viewing by vehicle gets you close not just to the herds, but the myriad other species in the park. Birdlife (resident and migratory species) is especially prolific, making Kafue a wonderful birdwatching destination.

Boating, on the other hand, enables you to navigate between pods of hippo, and some of the largest crocodile you’ll see anywhere.

My top tip for Kafue, however, would be to take to the skies in a hot-air balloon over the Busanga Plains – you can skim just above the channels and floodplains, spotting game as you go. Landing in the perfect spot for a Champagne breakfast underscores just how exclusive an experience this is.

When to Go

This is the ideal time to visit Kafue, when luxury lodges reopen after the annual inundation. Water levels are still high at the start of this season, meaning game (including predators) is very concentrated and generally easier to spot. Rain is very unlikely, and fresh mornings and evenings are balanced by warm days. Although this is considered to be the peak season, Zambia’s ‘below the radar’ status means that you’ll never be in a crowd. Note that temperatures begin to rise significantly towards October, as the onset of the rains approaches.

As the rains arrive, black cotton soils in some parts of Kafue become saturated, making roads inaccessible. Most luxury lodges (especially those on Busanga Plains) close at this time, as rising water levels bring a temporary end to safari operations. This gives Kafue an opportunity to recover from any human impact (although this is minimal due to low visitor numbers), and is a period of renewal and renaissance for the park.

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