Kafue National Park is the largest in Zambia covering over 22,000 km² (8,500 miles²). Bordered on the east by the Kafue River, it is one of the largest national parks in the world, twice the size of Yellowstone. While Livingstone International Airport is closer to the park’s southern region, Zambia’s capital of Lusaka is more accessible to its northern region. The long, narrow strip of reserve is home to over 150 native mammals and nearly 500 bird species. One of the highlights of Kafue is its cheetah population. The cheetah is not found in Lower Zambezi or Luangwa parks.
The few state roads traversing the park cover diverse terrain from plains to wooded forest. Guided safaris in Kafue originate from any one of the two dozen bush camps and lodges in the park’s north region and eastern borders. The southern camps are located near the shores of the Kafue River. Big game poaching is a problem throughout the region but is more noticeable in the south. Although efforts are in place to curb illegal hunting, safaris in the south are notoriously light for large animal watching. The Busanga Plains in the north are best for animal viewing.
Zambia has a rainy season from October to April. The dry season is both hot and cool, but never very cold nor extremely hot. Although the rainy season begins in October, until December it its often considered hot and dry. The rains come in after the new year. Camps and lodges are often full, especially during the dry season. Most are open year round, but nearly every camp and safari is located on a seasonal floodplain. The more predictable option is to plan a safari during the dry season, which is June through October.