Kafue’s Rivers and Plains – 8 Day Discoverer Exploration
Tour direction: Please note that this safari can either start or end in Lusaka or Livingstone. Certain departures operate in the reverse direction. This safari, if combined with the cascading waters of the thundering Victoria Falls (one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World), creates a short and very well priced itinerary, which is a diverse itinerary and perfect for add-on tailored extensions to other nearby safari highlights such as Botswana, the Luangwa Valley, Mana Pools (Zimbabwe) and even Malawi.
Combination of Discoverer and Wilderness camps in the northern part of Kafue National Park.
Kafue National Park, Zambia’s largest protected area, is easily accessible from Livingstone and Lusaka. It extends over 9050 sq km (8 649 sq miles) and is roughly the size of Wales. This enormous and underdeveloped pristine wilderness area is home to an impressive variety of big game including lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo and hippo. In addition, the Kafue conserves some fascinating species of special interest including Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable, roan, puku, the diminutive oribi, and, incredibly, lechwe in their thousands. Boasting almost 500 recorded bird species, Kafue is truly a diverse African National Park and one of its last “wild frontiers”.
The jewel in Kafue’s crown is the Busanga Plains, located in the north of the Park. This is a vast flat expanse and forms one of Zambia’s most significant wetland resources. This enormous watery wilderness, flooded in the wet season (mid-December to end May) by several rivers and tributaries, covers an enormous 750 sq. km (290 sq miles). After the rains the floods reach their height from March to May, and large pods of hippo are to be found in the shallow pools that are left as the water recedes in the dry season.
Experience a nostalgic, old-style luxury serviced camping / lodge safari that recreates the sense of a gameviewing adventure reminiscent of the times of the great African explorers in the vast Kafue National Park.
This Exploration is led by a highly skilled and qualified professional guide with an incredible passion for the natural regions worked in. Sharing the adventure and guiding you on this journey of discovery combined with vast knowledge of the natural world, history and culture are our guide’s profession and personal hobby. Years of experience in the field and a depth of understanding of animal behaviour and the environment will leave you with a sense of complete wonder. Many of our guides are also skilled photographers and can assist you in taking away amazing wildlife photographs. They are also available to lead private safaris and specialist trips.
Unique features of this Exploration:
- Explore the vast and unexplored Kafue National Park, one of Africa’s largest and oldest wildlife reserves.
- This Exploration uncovers the Kafue River and one of its arteries, the Lufupa River, as well as the unique Busanga Plains and the Ntemwa area, a unique eco-tone region between the Busanga Plains and the mixed miombo woodland.
- Experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guide travels with the guests throughout.
- The diversity of the habitats explored ensures excellent all-round game and bird viewing with some unique specials.
- Activities are varied, from birding to walking, fishing, boating, full-day picnics on the Busanga Plains, as well as both day and night game drives.
Days 1, 2 & 3: Lufupa Bush Camp, Central Northern Kafue
Upon arrival at Lusaka airport you are met by a representative of Wilderness Air who will transfer you by light aircraft to Kafue National Park (flight time is approximately 1 hour & 15 minutes). Your guide will meet you at the airstrip in Kafue and nature transfer the group to Lufupa Bush Camp, on the banks of the Kafue River (a large tributary of the Zambezi River). This transfer is approximately two hours, and en route we may encounter eland, roan and sable to name a few.
Lufupa Bush Camp is situated in the centre of the northern sector of the 8 649 sq mile Kafue National Park, 35 km (22 miles) downstream of the confluence of the Lufupa and Kafue rivers. Accommodation is in four traditional thatch and brick chalets with en-suite facilities and veranda out front overlooking the river. Meals are served in the main area situated on the river and overlooking the Kafwala Rapids. The area around Lufupa Bush Camp is private and seldom will other vehicles be encountered. A combination of dambo areas (seasonally filled grassy depressions that dry out in the period this safari operates), riverine, floodplain, grassland and woodland areas make this a diverse game location with a range of habitats. There are resident prides of lion and leopard is frequently seen. Wild dogs are occasionally sighted. Hippos are always out in front of the camp frolicking in the cool waters of the Kafue River. There is also a wide variety of plains game ranging from zebra, buffalo, roan, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable, kudu and impala to the small oribi. Elephants are also often seen roaming through the concession.
Days 4 & 5: Musanza Tented Camp, Busanga floodplain, north-western Kafue
Depart Lufupa for an early morning game / transfer drive to Musanza Tented Camp.
Musanza Tented Camp is located deep inside the wildlife haven of the Busanga Plains of Kafue National Park. Accommodation consists of six well-appointed tents with wall-to-wall views of the spectacular Lufupa River. The main dining and bar area are tented and situated under a majestic canopy of trees. The simple bush style of this camp creates the perfect atmosphere to enjoy dinner under a canopy of stars around a campfire.
Discoverer-styled camps aim to bring the guest closer to nature, by means of a lively campfire and hurricane lanterns. Wide-ranging activities complement the comfort and added luxury of the lodges visited. Musanza Tented Camp is specifically outfitted to ensure that traditional camping feel with a clear emphasis on necessary and stylish comfortable interiors, creating a peerless wilderness experience.
This camp is located in a slightly wooded belt just south of the Busanga Plains, thus allowing us to explore the productive woodland, grassland other than the Busnga Plains AND the southern section of the breathtaking Busanga plains. The area’s most dominant antelope species include red lechwe and puku, while buffalo, bushbuck, kudu, oribi, reedbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable and roan are also often viewed. There are also hippo and crocodile; with predators such as lion, cheetah and spotted hyaena (with wild dogs less often) being seen. Leopard can also be spotted along the wooded tree lines fringing the plains (and has proven to be a very good location for spotting this elusive species), as well as elephant.
Days 6 & 7: Busanga Bush Camp, Busanga Plains, Northern Kafue
After an early breakfast, we depart for an early morning game drive / transfer to Busanga Bush Camp which is located in the heart of the Busanga Plains.
The Busanga Plains cover an area of approximately 750 sq km (290 sq miles) and Busanga Bush Camp is located in the centre of this wildlife paradise. The Plains are home to hundreds of red lechwe, ubiquitous puku, stately roan and oribi, as well as Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, herds of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo – altogether making for a full set of antelope. This wealth of game on the plains is also a big attraction for predators, including wild dog, cheetah and several prides of lion. For those interested in birding, the park boasts 491 species, including endemics such as Chaplin’s Barbet. Even for non-bird fanatics, large flocks of pelicans, circling flocks of the large black open-billed stork, crowned cranes and wattled crane in the plains at certain times of the year are sure to impress and provide a spectacle well worthy of fond memories.
This itinerary specifically goes to two locations within or near the Busanga Plains, allowing for in-depth exploration of this phenomenal ecosystem.
Busanga Bush Camp in the north-western section of the Busanga is about as ‘wild’ as you can get in today’s world: an unfenced mosaic of expansive grassy seasonal floodplains and “dambos”. This camp is perfectly situated for some of the best lion viewing in Africa. It caters for 8 guests in 4 well-appointed rooms built of reed and canvas with wall-to-wall views of the spectacular wildlife that frequents the plain in front of the camp. Activities include game drives and night drives, led by qualified guides who are extremely knowledgeable about the area and its wildlife.
Day 8: Depart Kafue National Park
After an early breakfast, depart by helicopter from Busanga Bush Camp to Busanga airstrip, from there light aircraft transfer to Lusaka Airport, where the safari ends.
- Accommodation on a per person sharing basis
- All meals
- All soft drinks, beer, fruit juice, mineral water and house wine at dinner, a selection of local liquors is also provided (excluding premium brands)
- National Park fees
- Activities and all internal air transfers as specified in the detailed itinerary
- Flights (other than specified in the detailed safari itinerary)
- Flight taxes, visas, compulsory comprehensive insurance, all relevant entry and departure government taxes
- All personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
- Optional extra activities, all pre and post safari tours including meals and accommodation and any new Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control.
- Each departure is guaranteed from a minimum of 2 confirmed guests and operates with a maximum of 8 guests per safari.
- We will gladly create tailor-made departures, subject to the availability of space.
- Should all other bookings on an Exploration cancel, reducing the group to one guest, we will convert the booking to an FIT package, in all likelihood at an increased price.
- Age Limits – Children from the age of 12 are welcome on all scheduled departures. For parties with children under 12, a private tailor-made safari will be quoted for on request.
- Operations reserves the right, due to situations beyond our control, to substitute a lodge or location with another of comparable quality at no additional cost.
- If a guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, the single supplement will not be charged. However, if there is no suitable match, the single supplement surcharge will apply. No triple rooms are accepted.
- Guests have a choice to start or end their trip in Livingstone or Lusaka at no additional cost; please advise which option guests require at time of booking.
- Please note that we use the scheduled seat in plane Wilderness Air circuit for the flying on the Kafue’s Rivers and Plains, therefore please ensure departures and arrivals out of Lusaka/Livingstone connect seamlessly. If guests are departing from or returning to Livingstone, we recommend they overnight in Livingstone due to internal flight times.
- A recommended add-on to the Kafue’s River and Plains would be an additional night/s stay at Toka Leya before or after the trip, if guests will be starting or ending in Livingstone.
- The season operates from 07 June 2011 to 01 November 2011.
Important additional safari notes:
Tour direction: Please note that this safari can either start or end in Lusaka or Livingstone.
Private safari options: Tailored Explorations are available on flexible dates, accommodation and itineraries, for groups of up to eight guests. These are also ideal for families or for small groups from four guests.
Exclusive experience: Lufupa Bush Camp, Musanza Tented Camp and Busanga Bush Camp as well as air linkages are open to other Wilderness Safaris guests. All activities are private for the group on this safari.
Routes: To maximize guests’ travel time, a variety of travel modes that bring out the best of each area is used: flying in charters and private overland transfers which provide both a bird’s-eye view and an in-depth visual experience of the contrasting landscapes of Zambia. Due to guests combining Kafue with various other destinations, our safari begins and ends at Lusaka Airport, allowing the flexibility to tailor further pre- or post-safari arrangements.
Seasonality: Due to the diversity of habitat and associated experiences, from riparian forest, broad-leafed and Miombo woodlands to the open grassy plains of Busanga and the enormous Kafue River, each area allows for different impressions and highlights, creating a continually changing and interesting safari.
International air connection onto the safari: If arrival is planned for the day of the safari’s departure, please consider that this is with the British Airways flight from London arriving in Lusaka at 06h15 on a Saturday morning. Guests are required to be in Lusaka by 14h30 for light aircraft transfer to Kafue (BA, Kenyan Airways, SAA, & Proflight at 11h15 from Mfuwe/Lower Zambezi will all work to connect). Arrival on a later flight may necessitate additional road or air transfers into Kafue National Park (as departure for the first camp/lodge will already have taken place), subject to extra cost.
International air connections leaving the safari: The departure air transfer from Busanga airstrip is arriving at approximately 11h15 at Lusaka International Airport. If you are scheduled to depart on an earlier flight out of Lusaka International Airport, then we would recommend leaving the tour early to spend the last night in Lusaka, or factor in an additional night in Lusaka. If you are departing out of Lusaka airport on a later flight, then you will need to wait at the airport or alternatively transfer later out of Lufupa, subject to a slightly higher price.
Flashlights/ torches: Please ensure that a minimum 2-D cell flashlight is brought on safari, with spare batteries. Head lamps are also useful. Explorations does not supply flashlights.
Camera battery charging facilities: Please note that a 12V cigarette lighter adaptor will be required (that is compatible with camera make) on this safari for charging batteries while on game drive or transfer drives. 110/ 240V outlets are available at the permanent lodges at Lufupa and Busanga; however Musanza Tented Camp only has 12V electricity.
Dietary requirements and special occasions: Due to remote locality of camps, please ensure that full dietary requirements and special occasions are advised at the time of your booking confirmation.