Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park in Western Zambia makes up 25% of the world’s largest transboundary conservation area.

Kafue National Park covers an expansive 22,400 km2 in the centre of Western Zambia, and makes up 25% of the world’s largest transboundary conservation area, known as the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA). The park was proclaimed in 1950, and is Zambia’s oldest national park and one of the world’s most important natural heritage sites. As an essential water source for the region, Kafue is also one of the last vast expanses of the iconic Zambezian ecoregion - home to elephants, large predators, 21 species of antelope and 515 bird species. The lack of funding and effective management in recent years hampered park operations and allowed the threats of poaching, human encroachment and charcoal production to take its toll on the landscape and wildlife populations. Yet large tracts of wilderness containing a diversity of wildlife species still remain intact, giving the park potential to become Africa’s most exceptional tourist destination.

Following the success of a Priority Support Plan (PSP), initiated in February 2021 by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and African Parks to secure technical and financial support for the park over a 15-month period, the Zambian Government invited African Parks to enter into a long-term management partnership in June 2022. African Parks’ primary objective is to restore this vast landscape into a globally significant wildlife sanctuary through investment in park management, improved law enforcement, infrastructure development and community engagement. With the improvement of security, remaining wildlife populations will increase and translocation projects to augment severely depleted species will be carried out. Kafue’s expansive landscape, the remote nature of its lodges and the soon to recover wildlife is an opportunity to boost Zambia’s tourism industry and deliver critically needed revenue for the park and provide employment and benefits to local communities.

Kafue Highlights

  • At 22,400 km2 Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest national park.
  • Established as a reserve in the 1924, Kafue was upgraded to national park status in 1950.
  • Kafue is buffered by nine Game Management Areas (GMAs), which has ensured that the vast wilderness landscape is well buffered and has remained largely intact.
  • Kafue’s diverse wildlife consists of 158 mammal species, 515 bird species, 70 reptile species, 58 species of fish and 36 amphibious species.
  • Kafue holds the potential to be transformed into a globally significant wildlife sanctuary for key species like elephants, wild dog, cheetah and lions, and already hosts 21 antelope species, the highest diversity found anywhere on the continent.
  • Kafue has tremendous tourism potential and should emerge as a premiere destination within Zambia and across Africa.

Partners

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is the overarching regulatory authority that ensures the effective management of protected areas in Zambia. African Parks and the DPNW have been working together in Zambia since 2003 in Liuwa Plain National Park and 2008 in Bangweulu Wetlands. In June 2022, African Parks entered into a third management agreement with the DNPW for the management of Kafue National Park. With this agreement, Kafue National Park becomes the 20th park to join the African Parks’ portfolio.

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