Kafue and western Zambia
Kafue is Zambia’s largest national park and a real unspoilt gem. The huge variety of landscapes gives rise to exciting game viewing with impressive populations of lion, leopard and cheetah. Further west, towards the Angolan border is Liuwa Plain, not just a national park but a Lozi kingdom. Famed for its blue wildebeest migration, it remains largely the preserve of the most intrepid safari aficionado.
Kafue National Park is in essence an enormous floodplain covering 22,500 square kilometres – similar in size to Wales or Belgium – making it the largest national park in both Zambia and Africa as a whole. Thanks to the wide variety of environments ranging from riverine woodland, swamps and the Kafue River itself, the park is able to support a multitude of species, thought to be one of the most diverse spots for wildlife in the whole of Africa.
The southern area of the park, which is traversed by the Kafue River, is a magnet for bird life as well as rarer antelope species including red lechwe, roan, sable and oribi. The floodplains are also the perfect hunting ground of cheetah and a steadily increasing population of wild dog – Africa’s most endangered predators.
The northern reaches of the park are home to the Busanga Plains which during the dry season from June-November are covered in lush vegetation which is home to tree-climbing lions, leopards and cheetah. On the whole, the northern part of Kafue receives fewer visitors and has higher densities of game – one of the best ways to appreciate its beauty is on a hot air balloon safari early in the morning.
Liuwa Plain National Park in the far west of Zambia is the perfect choice for those after a truly unique safari with a strong sense of wilderness. A remote area which receives few visitors, a safari here is for aficionados in search of something different. Home to the second largest wildebeest migration on earth where vast herd of blue wildebeest, lechwes and zebra traverse the park in search of fresh grazing. Liuwa Plain is also relatively unique in its predator hierarchy – despite there being a growing population of lions (headed by the famous Lady Liuwa), the tall grass being the perfect environment for cheetah and an ever- growing pack of wild dog (documented in The BBC series ‘The Hunt’), the apex predator is in fact a 50 strong clan of hyena.