Hunting the Kafue is quintessential Zambian hunting as much of the country's habitat is zambezian Miombo woodland an open vegetation type which makes for excellent hunting habitat and unique species. Without a doubt, Miombo and large Sable antelope are synonymous as are Livingstone's Eland, Roan, Lichtensteins Hartebeest, Defassa Waterbuck and of course the big boys, the large bodied Elephant, massive black maned lion and huge Leopard.
The Kafue National Park is Zambia's largest and one of Africa's biggest wilderness areas. Central to the park and the hunting concessions, is the Kafue River and its tributaries, a large clear nutrient-rich body of water which flows into the Zambezi river.
Most of the region is covered in miombo forest, an open well-grassed woodland which offers ideal hunting. At the northern end of the park lie the Busanga Plains and at the southern end, the Kafue Flats. Both areas are floodplain's and are home to thousands of Kafue & red Lechwe as well as Sitatunga.
Lion and leopard hunting was excellent in some areas although overshooting of quotas has had it's effect. Full maned bush lion were shot regularly with some concessions having a very high lion populations. GMA's holding or bordering rivers have good leopard populations with the cats normally coming to bait early in the afternoon.
As Zambia reopens Lion hunting most of the Kafue GMA's are likely to produce the kind of Lions that made this region famous, thick black maned brutes. In the past the excessive quotas for Lion issued by government typically meant the best Lion were shot soon after hunting was reopened and gradually tapered off to very poor young specimens as the operators tenure was nearing an end and they sought profit at the expense of their ethics.
To be sure, the allowance of ONLY ONE Lion per concession will go a long way in ensuring only older surplus male Lion are taken as trophies by visiting clients although this will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Professional Hunters and their experience, self control and ethical strength to resist "making sure the client is HAPPY" or taking a "maneless Lion" (an excuse so often used by Zambian PH's to justify the pointless killing of young immature breeding stock Lions! to satisfy their clients needs)
The Kafue used to teem with large elephant and many hunters swore they regularly saw 100 pounders. Sadly, the Kafue was one of the hardest hit during the elephant poaching decade and today it faces assault by the bush meat trade as it is intersected by one of the country's main roads west. Today much of the Kafue national park is depleted and only those areas that have seen direct private protection either from Safari hunting companies or photographic companies, remain viable hunting options.
The Kafue GMA's have always produced the odd diamond here and there, however do not expect GMAs that you have not heard of, producing the riches of yesteryear. Remember, in 2004 the once magnificent Sichifulo GMA was already looking more like a secondary of depleted area - today it is over run by human encroachement.
Other Kafue species include Defassa waterbuck, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, Livingstone eland, Chobe bushbuck, impala, puku, Kafue lechwe, common oribi, bush duiker, common reedbuck, southern roan, blue wildebeest and sitatunga. The yellow-backed duiker is found in the northern Kafue areas which is the southern-most end of its distribution.