Kafue NP

Oct 19th, 2006, 10:39 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 162
Kafue NP

Hi All
Ok, here is my trip report.

After an aborted take-off and a 3 hour delay in Johannesburg we finally arrived in Lusaka at 14h30. Thank heavens that our charter was still waiting for us and off we went for the 1 hour 5 minute transfer to Kafue in a Cessna Grand Caravan care of "Star of Africa".
Upon landing at Lunga River Lodge we were met by Matt, a USA citizen on a working holiday with Wilderness Safaris who drove us the short distance to camp. After our welcome drinks and signing our lives away we were shown around the lodge. Lunga River Lodge is on the banks of the Lunga River and is a very small and basic lodge. The chalets are all on the banks of the river with outstanding views. Activities include river cruises as well as game drives. After our ordeal in Johannesburg we opted for a sundowner cruise and off we went down the hippo laden river. After about a half an hour I started to chill out and began taking in the beauty of this place. The sounds of the fish eagles calling and the snorts of the hippo started to work its majic and all remnants of the earlier part of the day were soon forgotten. After about 2 hours we reached the rapids where the rivers width expands to 4 times and here we anchored the boat for sundowners on the rocks. Sunset is a majical time of day, but to sit on the rocks in the middle of the river in wildest Africa just takes the cake. After sundowners we joined the game drive vehichle but unfortunately did not see much of interest except puku and red lechwe. The following morning we went on the game drive to look for cats but once again only saw the plains antelope. I am pleased we did the game drive because it gave us a sense of how remote and untouched this erea is. After brunch, Bas, the camp manager invited us to go fishing with him which we did. We literally spent the entire day on the river fishing and sipping cold beers. It was pure heaven and I can highly recommend this as it is a fantastic experience to add to ones safari. That night we changed the dinner menu and had bream which we had caught earlier and it was one of the tastiest fish I have had for a long time. Game viewing in this erea is sporadic and there are lions, leopards, cheetahs and the day before we arrived guests were fortunate enough to see Wild Dogs. On the last night we had lions roaring and hyena calling just at the back of the lodge but this was around 03h00 so we could not jump in the land cruiser to go and see them but it was a welcome feeling to know they were there.

The following morning we decided to leave for Busanga Plains early and at 07h00 we took a helicopter transfer to
Shuma Camp which lasted for about 20 minutes. It is a lovely experience to fly by helicopter low over the plains as you can really see all the game quite nicely. Shumba Camp is the premium status camp of WS and it is situated in the middle of the wide open plains with 360 degrees views that strecth for eternity. Wherever you look you just see game and birds. On the way from the helipad we saw our first lion. A relatively young male lying up in the shade on one of the tree islands. We arrived at the lodge and enjoyed a really awesome brunch. The food at Shuma is out of this world and I certainly gained a few extra kilos. The tents at Shuma are extreme luxury with 24 hour electricity, a chair and desk, his and hers basins and indoor and outdoors showers. The beds are extremely comfortable and I
enjoyed a 2 hour nap. In the afternoon we went out in search of Cheetah as we had 2 other guests who has seen
everything except Cheetah. We drove east across the never ending plains but unfortunately we could not find the Cheetah but saw Puku, Impala, Red Lechwe, Roan Antelope, Wildebeest, oribi, Commom Reedbuck, Sharpe's Grysbok, Wattled and Crowned Cranes to name a few. Sunsets over the plains are breath taking with the myriad of colours cast over the wetlands. After drinks we headed back to camp for another superb dinner washed down with excellent South African wine.

In the morning the other guests had to leave early so we now had the entire camp to ourselves. We headed off along
the Lufupu River in search of a small pride of lions and found them lying in the open on the other side of the
river. We tried to find a place to cross without sinking the land cruiser but to no avail so we simply decided that this was a good spot for a coffee break. All around us were herds of plains game either grazing or just lying down chewing the cud and all within a few hundred metres of us and the lions. "Lions, lechwe, cranes, storks, the plains....I was in the Garden of Eden, a special placed called "Busanga""

In the afternoon we headed south towards the woodlands and another spectacular occurance awaited us. As we sat parked along the edge of the woodlands hundreds and Pelicans came swooping in low from the Plains to roost in the treetops. Wherever you looked you just saw Pelicans. It was a sight that I will never forget. We then headed back towards camp and then suddenly there in the middle of nowhere was a table and chairs with lanterns burning. The camp manageress had driven all the way out to set up sundowners for us. It was absolutely fantastic sitting there in the
middle of this vast wilderness, drink in hand watching the sun dissapear over the horison. The perfect ending to a perfect day in wildest Africa. Back at the lodge we had just finished dinner when out of the darkness came this bone chilling roar of a lion. A male lion had walked right into camp and decided to let his presence be known. I grabbed a bottle of red wine and we all jumped into the land cruiser and went to sit with him while he kept us entertained with his roaring. By midnight we were all seriously ready for bed.
We did not do a drive in the morning as we had to be at Lusaka by 10h30 for our flight back to Johannesburg, but
none-the-less on the way to the helipad we came upon our night time friend with his pride.

In Conclusion:
Lunga and the Busanga Plains is a definite add in to the Zambian Safari circuit
Marksafari17 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 11:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
Sounds like a great trip. I definitely plan to visit Kafue NP if I get back to Zambia. Thanks for sharing your experience, Michael

Did you take any photos that you can put on-line?
thit_cho is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 11:13 AM
  #3  
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Mike
You know where to look. Don't put me under stress.
Mark
Marksafari17 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 11:26 AM
  #4  
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Mike
You would love Kafue. It cannot be done as a self drive which I know you love but it is really worth a vist.
Mark
Marksafari17 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 11:35 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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No intention of visiting that park as a self-drive. I did visit wilderness-safaris.com after reading your report, and I could envision a trip to Zambia that includes a couple of their lodges in Kafue. The sad thing (which actually is not sad at all), is that I have my trips mapped out through the end of next year, and I don't expect to get back to Africa next year.

I am very glad to read, though, how well Kafue is doing, and you really saw some interesting stuff (including lots of antelopes, like oribi and grysbok, which I haven't seen).

Now that Wilderness has 4 camps in Kafue, it seems poised to attract a lot more visitors.
thit_cho is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 11:51 AM
  #6  
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Mike
Go to Busanga. End of story.
Mark
Marksafari17 is offline  
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