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Welcome to one of Zambia’s oldest wildlife sanctuaries, Kafue National Park. Larger than the lauded Kruger National Park, with a fraction of its visitors, Kafue offers an intimate and unspoilt safari experience. Venture out on game drives where the day consists solely of wildlife sightings and not a single other vehicle.

Thanks to the sporadic placement of Kafue lodges and accommodations, game drives and walking safaris are also undertaken using more traditional tracking methods instead of reports over radios. As Zambia boasts the origin of walking safaris, the majority of properties offer a guided excursion with one of their knowledgeable guides to discover the small wonders of the park.

Wildlife is particularly prolific, with a high concentration in Busanga, one of Zambia’s most important wetlands. Discover one of the region’s highlights, leaping lions, big cats, four of the Big 5, and healthy populations of red lechwe and puku antelope. Known as a twitcher’s paradise, around 500 species of birds await. In addition to incredible wildlife sightings, the vast floodplains and untouched landscapes make the perfect canvas for avid photographers.

With its proximity to Zambia’s other top attractions, namely Victoria Falls, South Luangwa – the birthplace of the walking safari – and the tranquil Lower Zambezi, Kafue National Park is the ideal addition to the trifecta. The real question is, where to stay? Have a look at our top nine recommendations for Kafue National Park lodges and camps:

1. Chisa Busanga Camp

A woman enjoying the view from a weaver nest style suite at Chisa Busanga Camp | Go2Africa
View of the plains from your nest at Chisa Busanga Camp

Hidden away in the peaceful heart of Kafue’s Busanga Plains, the intimate Chisa Busanga Camp blends seamlessly into its surroundings. Tasteful architecture and an environmentally conscious design ensure the camp complements its beautiful natural surroundings and allows for a truly immersive experience. In line with their eco design, the camp is completely off grid, running solely on solar power.

The camps’ namesake, Chisa, is the Nyanja word for ‘bird nest’, which acted as the inspiration for its accommodation design: weaver bird nests. Elevated into the treeline of terminalia trees, the nests’ front opening provides a perfect spot for birdwatching by day and stargazing by night. At the main camp, a refreshing plunge pool awaits an indulgent dip while a boma is ideal for sundowners at the end of a safari-filled day followed by dinner in the bush.

Take to the bush in the e-Cruiser or on foot and discover the unique ecosystem of Busanga from the dambos and floodplains to the wild- and birdlife that call it home. Thanks to the solar-powered Land Cruiser, game drives are quiet affairs, aptly named ‘silent safaris. For the adventurers, head into the skies on a hot air balloon for a bird’s eye view of the Kafue National Park.

2. Busanga Bush Camp

A tented camp bedroom looking out into Kafue National Park at sunrise | Go2Africa
Sunrise at Busanga Bush Camp

Situated on a secluded island in the kaleidoscope of seasonal floodplains and waterways, this modern yet minimalistic wood and canvas camp hides under the shade of towering wild fig and date trees. Busanga Bush Camp offers an intimate, authentic, wild experience thanks to its remote locale on the Busanga Plains; a perfect base from which to witness the wild theatrics of the day.

A handful of spacious Meru-style tented suites enjoy far-reaching views over the floodplains from their private verandas, complete with a hammock. Dining at Busanga Bush Camp is a mobile affair – enjoy breakfast on the main deck overlooking the floodplains and dinner served in the picturesque open-air boma under the light of the stars and lanterns adorning the branches of a nearby tree. In the evening, enjoy a sundowner from the bar and search for game, play boardgames, or perhaps find a book from the on-site library.

Thrilling game drives with expert guides are an exciting daily activity while boating safaris offer a fascinating change of perspective when water levels allow it. Thanks to some 500 odd aviary species, Kafue National Park is a twitcher’s paradise and a great spot for photographers – both amateur and professional. Thanks to its remote location and lack of light pollution, Busanga Bush Camp is also fantastic for stargazing at night.

3. Kasonso Busanga Camp

Two single beds surrounded by hanging mosquito nets at a camp in Kafue National Park | Go2Africa
A comfortable chalet at Kasonso Busanga Camp

Found in the heart of Zambia’s game rich Busanga Plains, Kasonso Busanga Camp offers and up-close and personal experience of pristine wilderness and authentic wildlife encounters. Northern Kafue camps and lodges are known for their dining, guiding, and experience standards and Kasonso Busanga is no exception. With around 158 mammal species and exciting wild cat sightings such as lion, leopard, and cheetah, there is always something to be seen on safari, not to mention the birdlife.

With only a teak forest for company, Kasonso Busanga Camp invites guests to immerse themselves in the bush – enjoy sundowners by a crackling campfire with communal-style dining and stories shared under the clear night sky. Venture out on daily excursions and picnic al fresco before returning to a comfortable canvas-walled tent and en-suite bathroom. Relax on the private veranda overlooking the plains with a pair of binoculars, ready to spot the avid birdlife and any action.

While out on daily game drives, keep an eye out for lions, taking pride of place in Busanga as they leap across the floodplains’ mosaic. A healthy lechwe population and lush topography make an ideal combination for avid photographers. For those seeking safari big hitters, this part of Kafue National Park offers four of the prized Big 5 (with the exception of rhino), roan antelope, and even endangered wild dogs.

4. Shumba Camp

A tented suite at Shumba Camp in Kafue National Park overlooking the plains at night | Go2Africa
Twilight views from a tented suite at Shumba Camp

Enjoy a front row seat to the exceptional and diverse wildlife of Kafue’s Busanga Plains. Occupying its own little island amid the floodplain mosaic, Shumba Camp offers an intimate, exclusive window into this wonderous wilderness. The camp’s raised wooden structure blends into the surrounding bush while offering guests an elevated vantage point from which to observe wildlife – from lurking lions and bounding buck to wallowing hippos and cackling hyena.

A few tastefully decorated tented suites provide a restful haven overlooking the surrounding natural theatrics. Don’t miss out on a moment of excitement with the elegant pool-with-a-view, which offers a refreshing respite while still providing an elevated view of the surrounding plains. Take relaxation to a new level with an indulgent massage treatment by Shumba’s in-house therapists. Local fare is often prepared on an open fire in the boma and served under a carpet of stars. During the cooking process, cheers to another fantastic day in the African bush while sharing stories around the crackling fire.

Opt in for all activities on offer to make the most of the wildlife, birdlife, and ever-changing landscapes around Shumba Camp. Daily game drives with knowledgeable guides provide unique sightings on every excursion, while boating safaris allow guests to view wildlife from a new vantage point. With hundreds of aviary species in the area, binoculars should always be within arm’s reach. Each night, escape into the star lit sky and enjoy being swept away on the vibrant Milky Way thanks to the camp’s remote location.

5. Ila Safari Lodge

Looking up at Ila Safari Lodge from the Kafue River | Go2Africa
Ila Safari Lodge from the glassy Kafue River

Discover an exceptional sustainable haven in a secluded spot on the Kafue River. Steeped in blissful silence, save for nature’s soundtrack, Ila Safari Lodge offers an elegant bush retreat. Built using environmentally conscious, locally sourced materials, and powered by solar, Ila manages to combine eco-friendly and elegance. The lodge was also a driving force behind Zambia’s first electric game drive vehicle.

A handful of luxury safari tents open onto private deck with sweeping views of the Kafue River and its surrounds. Bask in the African sun or under the shade of towering trees, listen to the ever-present birdsong and soak in the magic Africa so freely gives. Following the day’s activities, feel refreshed with a dip in the infinity pool before heading to the central deck, complete with bar and fireside seating, for a peaceful place to reminisce about the day. A delicious bush breakfast is the standard, but guests are welcome to enjoy lunch and dinner on their private deck or at the main lodge.

Ila Safari Lodge offers an incredible solar powered eBoat safari as well as a walking safari in addition to their eco-game drives to offer the ultimate trifecta of game viewing opportunities. For any avid anglers, a fishing expedition is also on the cards. Visitors to Ila are also invited to visit and get involved in the various conservation and community projects the lodge champions such as Carnivore Conservation, Ila Community Farm, and the local school.

6. Nanzhila Lake Camp

Looking across the lake from a dining table at Nanzhila Lake Camp in Kafue National Park | Go2Africa
Wet season views from the dining area at Nanzhila Lake Camp

Located on the verdant shores of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, Nanzhila Lake Camp promises an astounding array of wildlife that frequent its southern location – from mega herbivores such as hippos, buffalos, and elephants, to boundless buck, big cats, and wild dogs. The area experiences an influx of predators from October to December fondly known as ‘Predator Season’ thanks to the nutrient rich grass and fertile shorelands which attract antelope and other buck.

The intimate camp offers minimalistic, yet comfortable, accommodation with spacious decks that showcase the fantastic wildlife – consider it a private game viewing space! As there is no Wi-Fi, take the opportunity to disconnect from daily life and create a connection to the Nanzhila’s sensational natural surroundings.

With over 500 species of bird in the area, four members of the Big 5 (except rhino), and at least 12 different species of antelope, there’s never a dull moment. Dine in the open air under a star lit sky overlooking the Kafue River and listen to the distant rumble of a lion’s roar and the cathartic chirp of crickets before retiring for the evening.

Embark on a fascinating bush walk with one of the knowledge guides or venture out for a game drive to explore the magnificent Nanzhila Plains. Visit nearby waterholes to keep a finger on the pulse of resident wildlife for fantastic photography opportunities. Nanzhila Lake Camp is open year-round and its proximity to Victoria Falls make a first or second stop on any Zambian adventure.

7. Nanzhila Plains Camp

A rustic boma-style gathering around an open fire pit at Nanzhila Plains Camp | Go2Africa
Sit fireside at Nanzhila Plains Camp and enjoy your wild surroundings

Much like its southern sister camp, Nanzhila Lake Camp, Nanzhila Plains Camp enjoys an off-the-beaten-track locale and wild, untamed beauty. The camp overlooks a bustling dambo (shallow weaving wetlands), which plays host to an array of wildlife including distinct species of antelope, including the rare sale, roan, and oribi. As an intimate, owner-run camp, Nanzhila Plains Camp offers a tranquil, remote escape.

A handful of en-suite chalets and safari tents are dotted along the tree line, offering unobstructed views of the dambo from a private deck. As the camp is not connected to the grid, solar lamps provide a comforting glow to each suite at night. Fortunately, hot water is also available thanks to donkey boilers. Meals are a family-style affair and prepared in a traditional way before being served in the boma or at the communal fireplace. Dining times are flexible and dictated by the day’s activities – there’s no sense leaving a great game sighting for a set dinner time!

Venture into the surrounding woodlands and plains to discover the region’s wildlife, from lion, cheetah, and wild dog, to shy nocturnal residents like civet, genet, and bushbabies. Being the only camp in the area also means being the only game vehicle, which is its own kind of luxury.

Experience the exceptional knowledge and tracking abilities of the camp’s guides as wildlife are found through tracks and trails, rather than radios. Given that the camp is closed for 7 months of the year due to flooding, it’s imperative to the owners that wildlife is tracked and watched respectfully, as they aren’t fully accustomed to vehicles. Embark on guided walks and keep an eye out for some of the 500 known aviary species.

8. Kafue River Lodge

Two double beds pictured in a thatched chalet at Kafue River Lodge | Go2Africa
Your own private chalet and deck at Kafue River Lodge

Discover the raw, unfettered wilderness of northeast Kafue with the beautiful riverside Kafue River Lodge. Thanks to the year-round water source, exciting sightings are synonymous with the lodge, with special mention to elephant crossings at certain points of the year. Take advantage of the land- and river-based activities on offers and enjoy the sweeping river views.

Each chalet features a spacious teak deck, a perfect place from which to look out for wildlife, an enticing freestanding bath, and an outdoor shower. Dining at Kafue River Lodge is an experience of its own – settle on a sandbar in the river for lunch and admire the resident birdlife before embarking on an afternoon game drive. Following the day’s activities, relax around a roaring bonfire and candlelit table for dinner in the bush, surrounded by the evening chorus.

Given the largely untouched wilderness and uninterrupted surroundings, visitors would be remiss to leave without embarking on a guided walking safari with one of the expert guides on hand. A unique offering at Kafue River Lodge is the opportunity to head out on bush bikes – guests are often dropped off with a guide to discover a different part of the park, including incredible hot water springs.For water lovers, float away on a boating excursion to discover the gentle river or give fishing a try with spots suited to every skill level.

9. Musekese Camp

A modern tented suite at Musekese Camp in Kafue National Park | Go2Africa
A slice of paradise at Musekese Camp

Hidden from the outside world on the edge of a beautiful lagoon, Musekese Camp offers a modern solar-powered safari sojourn amid Kafue’s wilderness. Embrace peace and stillness interspersed with game viewing excursions and birdwatching from the comfort of the camp. Expect sensational game viewing in and around the camp – numbers and quality of sightings have greatly improved year upon year thanks to the increase in protection and habitation of the team here. Hear the low rumble of a lion’s roar and watch leopards’ dwell on the branches of trees while elephant herds thunder through the plains, particularly in the dry season, and thousands of puku are dotted around.

Several well-appointed, tented suites are found around the camp and all feature en-suite bathrooms and on-demand hot water showers. Thanks to a comprehensive solar setup, the main camp has surplus power to keep devices charged, and drinks ice cold. Spend days undertaking activities at leisure or at the elevated Treehouse Hide overlooking the Eden Lagoon and watch the day’s theatrics unfold with binoculars in hand. Dine on the main camp’s shaded deck during the day and under the star-specked sky at night, overlooking the floodplain.

A variety of activities and specialist equipment ensures every guest has something to do and enjoy throughout their stay. For avid photographers – amateur or professional – specially adapted camera mounts are on available to assist in capturing the perfect shot. Head out with expert guides on daily game drives to discover resident wildlife or on an early morning walking safari when the air is crisp, and tracks are fresh. For a unique vantage point, embark on a water-based safari on the lagoon (water levels dependent) in a two-person hand-crafted Canadian canoe or on a flat-bottomed boat down the Kafue River. Typically, water is at its highest in June.

Ready to Start Planning Your Dream Kafue Safari?

Now that we’ve revealed some of the top lodges and camps in Kafue National Park, it’s time to experience it first-hand. Discover the untapped secrets and untamed wilderness of Zambia’s exceptional Kafue National Park with the help of an African Safari Expert who can create the ultimate tailor-made itinerary. Chat to one of our experts:

Emma Thomson
Written By

Emma Thomson

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