Established in 1924, the Kafue National Park covers some 22,400km2 (about the size of Wales, or Massachusetts) of very varied terrain and is one of the world's largest parks. Naturally, its geography varies considerably. Throughout the park, the permanent Kafue River follows a well-defined course, and widens in a few places where barriers of harder rocks near the surface force it into shallow, rocky rapids – Kafwala and the area beside Kaingu Lodge being the obvious examples. Bordering the eastern side of southern Kafue is Lake Itezhi-Tezhi – a large man-made lake, which was created in 1977. The primary function of its dam is to regulate the water levels experienced by the Kafue Gorge Hydroelectric Dam, further downstream, although it also generates some electricity.
The map clearly shows that the tarred Great West Road between Lusaka and Mongu bisects the park. This road provides the easiest route into the park, and also a convenient split that allows me to refer to 'northern' and 'southern' Kafue as simply meaning the areas to the north and the south of the road. These have slightly different habitats and species, and also very different access routes. As far as casual visitors are concerned, they could almost be two separate parks.
Surrounding the whole are no fewer than eight Game Management Areas (GMAs), which provide a valuable buffer zone for the park's wildlife.