The Kafue National Park (KNP) is known to be Zambia’s oldest and largest national park, covering over 20,000 square kilometres. The KNP is actually located within three of Zambia’s provinces and is surrounded by Game Management Areas. Its northern edge sits along the Busanga Floodplains in the North Western province, while the middle part sits within the Central province and stretches all the way to Dundumwenze in the Southern province. You can see a detailed map of the park here.
I was happy to finally get a glimpse of what this unique wilderness had to offer through the service and facility of the Mukambi Safari Lodge. The lodge is part of the Mukambi brand, who offer three different facilities within the Kafue National Park; Mukambi Safari Lodge, Busanga Plains Camp, and Fig Tree Bush Camp. The Safari Lodge is easier to access compared to the other two as it lies 2kms off the M9 Tar road on the banks of the Kafue River, just about 270 kms from Lusaka’s Central Business Disctrict.
The Mukambi lodge is only about 4 hours drive away from Lusaka and it is minutes away from the tarred M9 road, talk about ease and convenience.
The Mukambi offers game drives, walking safaris, sunset boat cruises and fishing trips along the Kafue River, plus it has been marketed to have the right environment that combines romance and exclusivity with warm and attentive service. I was more than glad to get a breather and put this promise to the test, while also exploring the Kafue National Park.
Game Drives into the Kafue National Park
The Kafue National Park is known to host four of Africa’s big 5 and a plethora of diverse wildlife across its vast expanse. During my stay, I got to take two game drives into the park. My first game drive was in the afternoon, where we begun by crossing the Kafue River by boat to hop onto the game drive vehicles. I got to see a variety of birds, bovidae and rodent species, though, I had hoped to see more of the larger wildlife species, but alas the evening presented us with a chance to see a few nocturnal birds and a lovely sunset.
The morning drive begun bright and early to a dew covered horizon, unlike any I had seen in a while. As the morning progressed, we got to see Zebra, Warthogs, and traces of Elephant and Buffalo herds. However, the highlight of the entire game drive experience happened the moment we heard the screech of several monkeys as we drove back to the lodge. We found a Cheetah sitting right under the shrubs leass than 500m from the road side. It was rare and exhilarating find, I had not seen a Cheetah before in its natural habitat and this was everything!
One key thing I got to learn during my time in the Kafue National Park was that, due its expanse, you will not likely get concentrated wildlife, like the South Luangwa National Park, but you will get the rarities and unique experiences that you cannot find in other national parks in Zambia.
Boat Cruise on the Kafue River
The boat cruise on the Kafue River was a relaxing conclusion to my time at Mukambi. I got to see a different side of this essential river and the eco system which thrives around its banks and islands. We saw several hippos, birds and small antelope at a liesurely pace with little distraction or disrubance. I absolutely loved the views of the sunset as we begun our return to the lodge.
Things to do at the Mukambi Lodge
I enjoyed my time at the Mukambi lodge; largely because of the creature comfort’s, warm hospitality and exceptional service of the team. Their infamous infinity pool eases you into the warmer afternoons after a morning game drive, while the dining and lounge deck gives pristine views of the Kafue River.
The luxury safari tents scream serenity, courtesy of the curated interior design and deep bath tubs on the wooden decks overlooking the river. Plus, with the onset of the cool/cold season, I actually appreciated having sundowners by the fire side before heading over to enjoy a sumptuous supper. Speaking of supper, the food selection at the Mukambi was also quite fresh and enjoyable with a menu that had seasonal fave’s which have you floating into a restful nap.
Mukambi have lived up to their marketing and have rightly earned the Gateway to The Kafue National Park tagline in my books. I cannot wait to go explore the rarities found at the other two properties, I have my eyes set on the hot air balloon experience.