Kafue National Park is the largest national park in Zambia, covering an area of about 22,400 km². It is the second largest park in Africa and is home to over 55 different species of animals. The park is named for the Kafue River. It stretches over three provinces: North Western, Central and Southern. The main access is via the Great West Road from Lusaka to Mongu which crosses the park north of its centre.
Seasonal dirt roads also link from Kalomo and Namwala in the south and south-east, and Kasempa in the north. Kafue has a superb range of antelopes as well as large herds of red lechwe and puku, with smaller groups of zebras and blue wildebeest in the Busanga Plains around June, when it starts to dry out. Across the northern half of the park, there’s a good range of mixed bush environments. Kudus, bushbucks, elands, reedbucks, duikers, grysboks and defassa waterbucks are all frequently seen in Kafue.
Lions are relatively widespread all over the park, but the larger males are increasingly uncommon, with inevitable consequences for numbers as a whole. Prides stalk through nervous herds of pukus and lechwes nightly, using the natural drainage ditches for cover with deadly efficiency on the Busanga Plains. The Kafue River and its tributaries themselves are a hive of activity and home to pods of hippopotami and a few of the largest crocodiles in southern Africa. Elephants are commonly seen particularly along the Kafue River and around Lake Itezhi-tezhi.
Leopards remain very common throughout the main forested areas of this park, though they are seldom seen on the open plains. Spotted hyenas are seen regularly, though not often, throughout the park. Cheetahs are not common anywhere, but they are most frequently seen in the north of this park, where they seem to be thriving. Occasional sightings of Cape wild dogs occur all over the park which is one of Zambia’s best strongholds for them.