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The acentric Kafue national park is Zambia’s largest and oldest national park Spanning an area of 22400km. The park attained its national park status (formation) in the 1950s. A huge fraction of the national park still remains uncharted thereby giving more access to the continuous development of the rich wildlife, plant and bird species. Kafue national park also derives its attraction and uniqueness from its size and the wild game that is holds.
First established as a National Park in the 1950’s by the legendary Norman Carr, Kafue is one of the largest national parks in the whole of Africa. Despite its size and prominent location only two hours drive from Livingstone, it remains little-known and largely unexplored with vast tracts of its virgin bush still untouched. Thanks to its size and variety of habitat types the Kafue holds a fantastic diversity of wildlife .
In recent years the Park has seen a well-managed growth in the number of Safari Camps and Lodges that operate in and around the Park. This new interest has brought with it more visitors and investment to the area, notably in infrastructure with a number of well-graded roads and airstrips.
As a consequence of the increasing interest and benefits in terms of investment this brings, the wildlife is beginning to enjoy an increased level of protection by the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), always aided and supported by the operators in and adjoining the park.
The dominant vegetation type of the Kafue is called ‘Miombo’ which is typified by a semi-deciduous woodland comprising a number of three dominant genera of tree (Brachystegia, Julbernadia and Isoberlina), interspersed with seasonally flooded areas, often adjoining the main rivers and tributaries, locally called ‘Dambos’. These Dambos are a huge feature of the Kafue with most holding water well into the dryer months, creating lush fodder and a hive of activity for the grazers.
Miombo woodland has over time developed a degree of fire resistance in response to generations of widespread fires occurring and passing through the park in the dryer months. The park also has prominent stands of less common but aesthetically appealing Teak forests and belts of Mopane woodland, particularly in the central and southern sections of the park.
Temperature-wise the Kafue is wonderfully mild due to it’s altitude, averaging 1100m above sea level; it is generally cooler compared to the Luangwa or Zambezi valley’s in October and November and in fact the Kafue goes sub-zero in winter (June-August) in some areas. The park is well serviced by a number of all-year-round airstrips, notably at Chunga, Ngoma and Lufupa- these enable tourists to make the most of the park in any of it’s ever changing seasons.