Zambia – Kafue National Park
After resupplying in Lusaka I headed north west towards Kafue National Park, pronounced ka-foo-ee. At 22,500 sq km it’s one of Africa’s largest parks and bigger than a couple of African countries. We found Roy’s Kafue Riverside Campsite and quickly booked a night safari through the nearby savannah and Moimbo woodland which dominates most of Zambia.
The guys from Ila Safari Lodge arrived about 4pm and we headed off under a rising full moon in search of some nocturnal critters.
We headed off on a rather cool evening, having climbed to 1200m the prior day and soon found a group of Yellow Baboons, the leaner and less aggressive cousins of the Olive Baboon I’d seen previously.
The most common grazer in the park is Puku (Kobus vardonii) and we soon found several groups of these often feeding with Impala.
Warthogs, Zebra and Bushbuck were in small numbers and the early evening high light were two skittish but never the less impressive large male Kudu.
Water and Spotted Thickknees were common and Bronze-winged Courser was abundant. The avian high light was a Spotted Eagle Owl which gave us cracking views as it perched conveniently in a road side tree.
For the first two hours we’d failed to find any of the much sort after big cats dispite finding some Lion tracks on the roadside and following them down some bush tracks.
Elephant and Hippos were seen feeding in the darkness and after another half hour of searching, our driver Lexon, received a radio call from Ila Safari Lodge that a pride of Lion had just made a kill about 2km from our camp.
We dashed to the site and found seven Lions with a freshly killed Impala. We sat nearby and watched as they began to disperse to continue their nightly hunt.
The highlight was a lioness that walked down the side of my open sided 4×4 only one meter from me, stopping to look me over prior to casually walking off into the darkness towards where I was camped.
I arrived back at the campground in time for a quick snack and some sleep before a 6am game drive in Ila Safari Lodge’s purpose built convertible Landcruiser Troopies.
We departed the campground in the predawn in time to watch the sun rise over the Zambian Savannah.
We stopped to watch a lone Elephant feeding in the Moimbo Forest. It turned and charged through the trees at our vehicle so we decided to leave.
The Kafue River cuts through the national park meandering it’s way south and we took the opportunity to cruise the river for a few hours aboard Ila Safari Lodge’s solar powered electric boat.
Every few meters Hippos submerged as we approached or inquisitively watched us go by.
A pair of Wire-tailed Swallows followed us down river and a pair of magnificent African Fish Eagles stayed close by waiting for the boat to disturb some fish for their next meal.
A lone Hippo under an overhanging branch allowed us to approach quite close until we realized it was dead and the surrounding water full of Nile Crocodiles.
The highlight was watching a herd of Elephant walk down from the Savannah to drink at the river. An adolescent stopped for a quick drink and then plunged into the river, totally disappearing under the water for about ten seconds.
We watched it drink, bath and roll over before again totally submerging, providing a spectacular ending to our cruise and my stay in Zambia’s Kafue National Park.
Our two guides from Ila Lodge where two of the best I’ve had on any African day safari I’ve done. Lexon knew the local animals and his knowledge of the park’s birds was outstanding.
The following morning after an early start it was back on the road and heading west towards The Zambezi River and Angola.
Sent from Mongu, Western Zambia.