Elephant on the shores of lake itezhi tezhi

View of the Kafue River from the top of an inselberg

Morning walk in Kafue National Park

Zambia: Kafue from North to South

Plains, woodland, river & lake. A mega transect of a mega park

We'd like to slow down and do an area properly. A real journey, travelling by vehicle, hot air balloon, on foot and by boat. We'd like to sleep in small remote bush camps and dine under the stars”

What we suggested - and why

Few other parks offer the same variety of wildlife, terrain and transport as Zambia's Kafue National Park. From the wide open plains, blonde grasses and tree islands of the Busanga Plains in the north, to the massive Kafue River, riven by lava flows and brimming with wildlife, to the remarkable and totally unexpected Lake Itezhi tezhi in the southern end of the park.  

Spending a week and a half in the Kafue is akin to visiting four separate National Parks without ever leaving one. Less than an hour by air from Lusaka, the Busanga Plains houses camps built with real style and comfort. Consistently good game-viewing, including impressively dark-maned lions and their tree climbing mates, big ellies as well as more esoteric species such as Lechwe and Serval, provides an excellent introduction to this monstrous park. Top it all off with Zambia's only ballooning experience - a magic-carpet ride across the savannah.

The next stop is Musekese and an opportunity to stretch the legs - first class walking in an unusually fire-free area. Expertly guided with passion and substance this is arguably the most intense experience of the journey. The camp is tiny (four tents) and although relatively new already has a strong following among the safari cognoscenti. Fly-camp if you can.

A long, but interesting, drive takes you through the middle of the Park and down to Kaingu. Here the river changes character in to a fairyland of channels and countless islands. After the intensity of the last few days this is a great spot to relax and watch the water flow by, from your room, in a boat or in a canoe. There is ample fishing opportunity for anglers of any standard and a cornucopia of beautiful birds. There is also the opportunity to walk or drive - but the emphasis is very much on chilling and after the utilitarian nature of the last few days it is a lovely place to do so.

The last stop is Lake Itezh Tezhi - some people ponder whether to include it but we'd absolutely encourage you to do so for the contrast alone. Here short green grass grazing plains slope gently to the lake which is a magnet for both birds and beasts. The only camp in the vicinity is run with Italian flair and swagger and is truly unique. This is a great spot to ponder all that was seen along the way.

For those fortunate enough to have experienced a few safaris, an increasing fear that we hear is the gentrification of the genre - the smoothing off of the rough edges and the demise of the characterful in favour of the formulaic. There may be some truth of this in some places, but certainly not the Kafue. This is old style-safaring taken back to its routes where a significant journey can be made and thoroughly enjoyed, with a lot of the pleasure derived from the travelling itself.

The journey

The wide open plains - ballooning and driving

Busanga Bush Camp

Busanga Bush Camp

Busanga Bush Camp was the first camp built in the remote northwest of Kafue. Built entirely under a canopy of majestic fig and...

The heart of the Kafue - on foot

Musekese Safari Camp

Musekese Safari Camp

If a camp could be cloned and replanted in every wild place worth visiting it would be Musekese as it's everything that a safari...

A beautiful stretch of river - by boat and canoe

Kaingu Safari Lodge

Kaingu Safari Lodge

The river at Kaingu is uncommonly beautiful and while exploring its countless channels by boat or canoe you have the distinct...

A great lake - life on the shoreline

Konkamoya Camp

Konkamoya Camp

Set on the shores of Lake Itezhi Tezhi, Konkamoya Camp is a somewhat eccentric place. Owned and operated with great passion by...

Quotation Mark
If ever I can, I will go back to the Busanga Plains, to the dreaming distances of the grasslands, the clusters of trees like islands and the hot east winds. I made this vow after barely a day in western Zambia, renewing it repeatedly in the following week”

Horatio Clare - Financial Times

Start your journey...

Speak to one of our experts about planning a trip like this for you.

Andrea Hulme Andrea Hulme
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Our team

Our experienced travellers include:

Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Rod Tether
Rod Tether

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary. All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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