Kafue River and its tributaries help
the great diversity of this landscape
of rolling grass plains and forests.
Much of the park
is wooded but opens up at intervals
to wide grassy clearings known as
Leopard Lodge is a private game lodge, situated in a game management area surrounded by the Kafue National Park, which is the oldest park in Zambia and by far the largest, making it an ideal private game lodge to explore the park. Most of the diverse wildlife species that can be found in the Kafue visit this private game lodge and it's common to see elephant and herds of antelope around the game lodge, often in close attention of either lions or leopard, whilst hippo and crocodiles can be seen from our deck over the Kafue River.
Kafue National Park was proclaimed by Zambia in 1950 and spreads over a massive 22 400 square kilometers making this southern African game reserve the second largest park in the world, roughly the same size of Wales and twice the size of Yellowstone National Park in the USA.
Until recent years the Kafue National Park has remained underdeveloped and affords excellent game viewing, birding and fishing opportunities without fighting the crowds.
Busanga Plains, in the extreme north of the Kafue National Park is one of the most significant wetland resources of not only Zambia, but southern Africa, and one of the few areas in the world that remain untouched by development and human activity.
Kafue National Park sustains vast herds of antelope which roam the plains and woodlands - Red Lechwe, the ubiquitous Puku, the stately Sable and Roan Antelopes, Waterbuck, Tsessebe, Hartebeest, as well as Oribi and Duiker.
Large prides of Lion, solitary Leopards, Cheetah, Hyena and Wild Dog are the prime predators. Smaller predator groups include Jackal, Civet, Genet, Serval and various Mongooses.
Other mammal species that can be found in the Kafue National Park include the Kudu, Warthog, Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Yellow-Backed Duiker, Common Duiker, Grysbok, Bushpig, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Porcupine and Pangolin.
The bird life in this area of Zambia is incredibly special! The blend of open savannah, riverine forest and dombo's allows for a large range of species. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded throughout the Kafue National Park and notable species include the Wattled Crane, Purple Crested Loerie and Pel's Fishing Owl.
In the bush surrounding the private game lodge, birds such as the Pel's Fishing Owl, the African Finfoot and the Shallow's Turaco which are all big points on a Twitcher's check-list whilst visiting Southern Africa and considered incredibly difficult to find, can be found with ease.
Every morning at the private game lodge you are greeted by the Shallow's Turaco flying over your head between the Sycamore Fig's, often with a few Green Pigeons in tow. You can almost predict exactly the time when the African Finfoot glides past our deck as he uses the momentum of the river to carry him downstream. And of course the Pel's Fishing
Owl is not too far away.
The Busanga Plains boasts five species of rollers, six bee-eaters, nine kingfishers and fourteen egrets and herons. There are also specials such as the crowned cranes, Fulleborn's and Rosy-throated Longclaws, the Lanner Falcon and large flocks of open-billed and yellow-billed storks.
The Kafue and Lunga Rivers offer superb fishing opportunities, especially bream, barbel and fresh water pike. This private game lodge has fishing tackle, rods, fishing boats and bait available and it has become a challenge at the game lodge for fisherman to catch all 5 different species of bream that can be found in these waters.
Visiting the Kafue National Park
Leopard Lodge is open all year round and every season needs to be discovered, as each has its own attraction, whilst varying considerably. The beauty of the Kafue is at its best after the rains in the first half of the year. For game viewing, however, the best period to visit the game lodge is in the dry season which runs from April to October. During the rainy season between November and April many of the Kafue National Park and other parks in Zambia, internal roads become inaccessible so visiting a private game lodge can be a bit tricky.