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First-hand from Kafue

First-hand from Kafue

First-hand from Kafue
KELLY WOOD

By Kelly Wood

I have just had a wonderful trip to the Kafue National Park and I thought I would share some of my experiences with you.

It was incredible. It was a four hour drive from Lusaka and I was pleasantly surprised with the road, which was pretty decent. A very good tar road up until the turn off into the bush, and then only about 45 minutes on a well-graded dust road, which I believe has just been done up and goes all the way through the Kafue Park, making it much easier for travellers who are self-driving.

The scenery is just wonderful and I saw elephant and lots of antelope en route to the camp. I was told later on by my guide, Bernard Calonne, that he had seen a pack of twelve wild dog with eight puppies on his way out to fetch me. Sadly I did not see them but it is fantastic news that such a big pack is roaming around the area. It was a great start to my trip.

My first two nights were spent at the new Mawimbi Bush Camp. They have three large canvas tents, each with its own bathroom with beautiful views over the river. The accommodation is cleverly decorated with branches, grasses and rocks from surrounds; I really felt part of the landscape.

The amount of wildlife around the camp itself was outstanding. There is a big water hole on the one side and the river on the other. One of my highlights was seeing the vultures that arrived between 12:00 and 15:00 every day to bath or sleep right in front of the camp. It was just incredible.

In the evenings we sat around a camp fire and enjoyed stories from the staff. They told us that a few weeks back a pride of lions had waltzed through the camp one evening and a few days earlier on a game drive they spotted two leopards with a kill they had left up in a tree. Clearly there is plenty wildlife in the area.

The main reason for my visit was to canoe the Kafue and I was not disappointed. Bernard was my guide, which was a real bonus as he has had many years’ experience canoeing on the Kafue. We headed out early one morning for a day trip, Bernard, two other guests and me. Bernard is extremely cautious and gave us a full briefing before getting onto the water. The main concern was hippo, which I have to say are everywhere on the river! We had great fun dodging them all day and had no problems at all; I felt safe the entire time.

We saw hippo, crocodile, elephant, puku, hartebeest, waterbuck and an abundance of birdlife. Comparing canoeing on the Kafue to canoeing on the Zambezi is easy – they are completely different! The scenery and layout of the rivers are just so unalike. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the bush and canoeing.

More from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (December 2013)

More from the Zambezi Traveller:
Kafue Destination Profile