Kafue National Park – Zambia’s largest National Park
I have ventured into the Kafue national park twice and both experiences were very different but great in their own way. Kafue national park stretches over three provinces of Zambia; North Western, Central and Southern. And a fun fact; it is the largest national park in Zambia. From Lusaka, where I reside, it is a 3-4-hour road trip on a mainly good road depending on which camp or how far into the park you are heading. Google maps is great for routing and approximating your journey.
The first time we visited the park we stayed at Musungwa Lodge which is nestled deep into the park in the small town of Itezhi-Tezhi. What initially sold us to this experience was their weekend special over the independence weekend at an amazing cost, FYI always look out on their Facebook page for their special offers. It was a great couple of nights away in a cosy and mostly empty lodge. I do however think that they need to refurb their rooms and update them, but the main thing is that it was clean and well positioned overlooking the lake. We enjoyed swimming in the pool, game driving (although we didn’t see any game aside from those in the antelope family in the park) and seeing the hot springs close to the lodge. I view it as a great introduction into the Kafue national park.
The second trip we made was out of this world amazing! It was my husband’s birthday and the tradition since I’ve known him is that I take him on a bush trip for his birthday. And this time I wanted to do something extraordinary, and consequently my extensive research led me to the amazing Fig Tree Bush Camp. To this day I do not understand how social media sponsored posts feed right into your desires, but this time it worked out because I found a winter special that Fig Tree had at the time. One great thing about visiting a national park off peak season besides the cost implication is the fact that the weather is cooler and you’re less likely to find yourself with a huge number of other holiday makers.
If I remember correctly, we paid $450pp for 2nights away with all meals, premium drinks and activities. It seems expensive initially (consider their usual peak season rates of $750ppn it really is a steal), but it totally paid off because it was a fantastic experience and what we got in terms of activities, top end food and booze matched the price. In fact, after our trip I am sure they made a loss especially with the top tier whiskey my husband went through!
Fig Tree Camp is nestled away literally in the middle of the bush a one-hour drive and 20-minute boat ride away from their sister lodge Mukambi lodge. It consists of 4 stilted chalets, a communal cosy reading/meeting/eating den and a gorgeous pool overlooking the park. One of the biggest selling points for me is that it is extremely private and there is zero signal on camp.
I was blown away as soon as we got to Mukambi, because whilst waiting for our boat ride to the other side of the river to be driven to Fig Tree we had a delicious breakfast which followed with a boat ride on the river. On this boat ride within an hour of being in the park we saw elephants crossing the river from one end to the other. Our Zambian guide was knowledgeable, extremely passionate and well informed on the flora, fauna and animals in the area which was a great treat because we asked a million questions.
As if that was not enough to keep our appetites satiated, as soon as we crossed the ferry to meet the bush vehicles to get us to Fig Tree camp, we saw elephants 5mins into the drive, literally right in front of us. The most common animal I see in every Zambian national park is elephant and antelope but seeing elephants in their natural majestic beauty will never ever get old to me.
Onto Fig Tree, from the moment we got there the personalised service was excellent. Our stilted luxury tents were in top condition and with an open-air bathroom – one of my favourite things about a location in Zambia! Our trip consisted of lazing around the beautiful bush camp and sipping multiple drinks, safaris early in the morning and late afternoon into sunset safaris and of course enjoying the beautiful pool overlooking the park. The other guests staying at the camp at the same time as us were American and they were such lovely people, we ended up having all our meals and safari time with them. The place is so quiet and intimate that I can imagine how next level romantic it would be without any other guests there at the same time.
The safaris were brilliant, had great snacks and such an informative guide. We managed to see lions and all the other usual animals that one can expect to see in a Zambian national park. My only sadness was that we did not get to see any leopards. If you see my post on South Luangwa national park you will see that my husband and I have been on the lookout for them for years, although our American friends did see them because they stayed a day extra.
It was such a great trip filled with so many happy memories, good food and safaris that I didn’t want to leave! I remember laying my head on my husbands lap and feeling nostalgic already as we were driven back from Fig Tree to Mukambi to head back to Lusaka. We did a self-drive from Lusaka to Kafue National Park, but I am aware that most camps offer transport as an option so please do enquire about that if you can’t drive yourselves for whatever reason.