Kafue, Busanga & Liuwa

Kafue is Zambia’s oldest and largest national park. It sees fewer visitors than the other parks. In the north of Kafue is the game-rich Busanga Plains and in the south, Nanzhila Plains. West of Kafue is the wild, untamed Liuwa Plains National Park - this is for safari connoisseurs as you can tell from the quote below from the Financial Times' writer David Pilling.

To reach the lost world of Zambia’s Liuwa Plains takes time and money. It is worth every long hour and every saved penny.

  • Wildebeest in summer flowers on Liuwa Plains, Zambia. © Cloete55,Shutterstock

    Wildebeest in summer flowers on Liuwa Plains, Zambia.

  • Bateleur eagle, Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia © Cloete55,Shutterstock

    Bateleur eagle, Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia

  • Zebra, Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia © Cloete55,Shutterstock

    Zebra, Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia

  • Lions and zebras in Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia © Shutterstock

    Lions and zebras in Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia

  • Lechwe on Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia © FMous,Shutterstock

    Lechwe on Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

  • Walking among open-billed storks, Busanga Plains, Zambia © FMous,Shutterstock

    Walking among open-billed storks, Busanga Plains, Zambia

  • Lions in Kafue National Park, Zambia © JCroucher

    Lions in Kafue National Park, Zambia

  • Kafue National Park, Zambia © JCroucher

    Kafue National Park, Zambia

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Kafue, Busanga and Liuwa are part of Zambia’s rich safari heritage.  Though perhaps not on the radar for first time visitors to Zambia, they often feature for return travellers thirsty for another trip to this amazing country.

There are certainly fewer visitors here and together with the diversity of both wildlife and landscape it makes it hugely attractive. Those wanting an authentic Africa experience, with a plethora of untouched wilderness and wildlife should consider this part of Zambia.

  • Kafue National Park: This enormous park is the size of Wales. It is Zambia’s largest park. Guests can expect diverse landscapes from swamps, plains, rivers, plains which provide a home for a plethora of wildlife.
  • Busanga Plains:  Possibly the go-to area of Kafue for safari is Busanga Plains. It’s considered the best area for wildlife in the park. In the dry season (from about mid-July to October) Busanga Plains are reminiscent of the Serengeti. Cheetah, lion and other predators love this area. Buffalo and other big game pass through too. In the rainy season it becomes a giant wetland with superb birding, red lechwe and sitatunga. You can opt for a balloon safari and survey this vast wilderness from the air.
  • Nanzhila Plains: The open grasslands of Nanzhila Plains in the south of Kafue are loved by elephants, buffalo, zebra and wildebeest. Though wildlife viewing can be harder here than in the north you are unlikely to see many other visitors.
  • Liuwa Plains National Park:  ‘Remote Africa’ sums this park up to a tee. Neglected for many years, but now under the stewardship of African Parks, Liuwa Plains is coming into its own. Quite rightly it is THE sought-after destination in Zambia for those wanting off-the-beaten-track Africa, but a visit comes with a very hefty price tag. One of the main attractions is the migration which begins at the beginning of the wet season. Thousands of wildebeest, zebra and other usual suspects gather to enjoy the juicy fresh grass. Whilst this may not quite be on the scale of the Serengeti’s migration, the difference is you won’t see scores of other vehicles. The very best time to come here is just after the first rains around November. Otherwise, try at the end of the wet season around May and June.
Kafue, Busanga & Liuwa map pin

Kafue, Busanga & Liuwa

Zebra, Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia

Kafue National Park, with the game-rich Busanga Plains, is far less-visited than more well-known reserves in Zambia, but even Kafue seems busy compared to remote and astounding Liuwa Plains.

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