Mwaoneka pa Ila Safari Lodge, twakondwela pokuonani! Welcome to Ila Safari Lodge, we are delighted to host you! After a one hour flight from Lusaka’s airport, or a 3 hour drive from Lusaka’s hussle and bussle, you will be welcomed by our team and basking in tranquility and the luxury of our lodge surrounded by the great wilderness of Kafue National Park.
Kafue National Park, the largest and oldest park in Zambia, is one of the last great expanses of remote and unspoiled wilderness in Africa. 22,400 square kilometers of pristine African bush to explore in open 4x4 game viewers, by boat on the mighty Kafue River or using your own two feet in the form of walking safaris. 40% of all of Africa's water flows through Zambia and the Kafue River –the major lifeline of this park – is one of the largest rivers in the country. This unexplored gem of a park is enticing for it's incredible diversity of wildlife and it's sheer quantity of big game.
The park was established in the 1950s by the legendary Norman Carr but despite it's size, diversity and wealth of game remains largely unexplored.
From the remote northern seasonal Busanga floodplain formed of open grassland dotted with wild date palm, sausage and fig tree 'islands', through central miombo woodland and along the banks of the mighty Kafue river to the more sandy southern plains the Kafue represents an incredible collection of diverse habitats. The park is easily accessed by road or air from Lusaka or Livingstone and should form a part of any visitor's Zambian trip to experience true wilderness in the heart of Zambia.
On the big game front lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo are all prominent. Further to this, Kafue boasts the highest population of wild dog in Africa and the greatest diversity of antelope in the world including the much revered roan and sable antelopes.
The diversity of habitat makes Kafue one of the best locations in Africa for birding. The Kafue riverbanks, wetlands, savannah and woodland boast an impressive 478 of Zambia's 733-recorded bird species. Among them African Wattled and Crowned Crane, Fish Eagle, Woolly-Necked Stork, Saddle Billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Ground Hornbill, African Fin Foot, Pel's Fishing Owl, Purple-Crested Lourie and Chaplin's Barbet.
Ila Safari Lodge has 10 state of the art luxury safari tents perched each on their own deck reaching out over the banks of the Kafue River. Included in our 10 top-notch tents are two larger family suites.
Each tent has been individually designed to mesh with the flora surrounding it providing shade, privacy and your very own piece of Kafue wilderness.
Our family tents can accomodate 4 people, or in case of families with 3 kids, can have an extra bed added. The spacious tents offer 2 seperated sleeping departments, ideal for families or for couples sharing. Both family tents offer a luxurious bath and shower, overlooking the Kafue River.
The interiors as well as the private decks are furnished in chic, modern African style and every comfort has been considered. All tents feature en suite bathrooms and either outside showers or baths. Beds are extra length for the most comfortable night's sleep. Mosquito nets are spacious and billowing and are turned down for you each evening. We want your stay in our tents to be a unique and pampered bush experience, something you will remember for a lifetime!
Ila Safari Lodge offers a wide variety of activities, to make sure you’ll get to experience the pristine wilderness of the Kafue National Park at its best and learn about our conservation programmes.
Alongside our 3 game viewers we are the proud owners of Zambia's very first 'Electronic Landrover' (eLandy). This vehicle allows you to experience all the sights and sounds of the bush in near silence and with a sense of environmental care. The eLandy is kept close to camp and operates in the Game Management Area for short drives or the relatively common 'dinner table dash' to investigate what that sound in the night was or how close those lion calls are!
Our eLandy aside we have three top of the range game viewers which reside on the park side of the river. It's a quick float in a boat over to them which is always a nice way to start the morning!
Our guides are all masters of their craft, spend a morning or afternoon exploring the park with them and see what you can find. Regular sightings include lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, a wide range of antelopes including roan, sable and zebra, hippo, crocodile, warthog, genet, jackal, mongoose, every entertaining baboons and monkeys and a myriad of species of bird. Our rarer species are also on the cards including wild dog, cheetah, honey badger, civet, serval, bushpig, porcupine and bushbaby.
Had enough of the African massage?! Take a smooth and serene boat cruise either at dawn or for sunset on one of our boats. Staying on theme 1 of our boats are solar powered.
There is nothing quite like quietly drifting down the mighty Kafue river taking in the sights and sounds of the river with a breeze in your hair! Spend a relaxing few hours following the river bank to see what is living on the water or coming down to drink. Sunset from the water is particularly beautiful!
Want to be a bit more active?! Head out on a walking safari with one of our specialist walking guides and an armed Zambian Wildlife officer. Using footprints and spoor track game using your own two feet as power. Get up close and personal to nature and appreciate the smaller things that you may miss from a vehicle.
Set out on the river with rod, tackle and one of our fishing guides to show you all the best spots. For experienced fishermen we can target specific species or if you just want to try your hand see if you can land a big bream. We have basic equipment available on site but recommend professional fishermen bring their gear.
This project is situated at the Nalusanga Gate, the entrance to the Kafue National Park. The aim is to assist the community to grow a greater variety of fresh produce for their own consumption and for selling at the local market. Lodge owners and other travellers in the area will be able to purchase these products as they enter the park.
As of mid April 2018 we will be offering an outing and lunch with the Ladies Club at the nearby Chunga Community. A delicious traditional meal will be prepared and guests will be able to learn about the local community, culture and traditions whilst interacting with the local people.
May: Our emerald season, with sometimes heavy rains, and limited acces to our game-loops. However, the rainy season does have its own attraction: Fifty Shades of Green and often very clear skies, since all the dust will be gone. Ideal for photographers, birders and whilst game is sometimes harder to see, because of the tall grass, its still out there, and regular sightings of lions and elephants are common.
June - August: The bush has dried up and all of our loops have become accessible again. Plenty of game all around. It's our coolest season. Temperatures down to 20-285 degrees in the day but sometimes even freezing at night.
September - December: It quickly warms up to up to about 30-35 degrees, but with the lodge being on the river, there is always a refreshing wind available. With the park almost completely dried up, game sightings are abundant, often even from the deck of your tent, when big herds of elephant come drinking at the river-edge. Clear blue skies during the day and starry nights abound.
Please note that if you would fly in, your weight allowance on the light aircraft is 15kg and soft bags must be used. It is always advisable to pack in your hand luggage a change of clothes and anything you may require on a daily basis whilst away, just in case your luggage is misplaced en- route. It is advisable to make sure that you have full travel insurance whilst travelling in Africa.
To get to Zambia’s main airport, Lusaka International Airport, there is a wide variety of global airlines flying in on a daily base via Addis (Ethiopean) Dubai (Emirates), Nairobi (KLM-Kenya Airways), Johannesburg (AF-KLM, British Airways, SAA).From Lusaka, Ila Safari Lodge is a one hour chartered flight or 3 hour drive, organized by the lodge.
Malaria is not prevalent in this region, the main reason being simply that there are so few people within the park. To catch malaria you need a mosquito to bite you which has previously bitten an infected person. Because of the lack of population this is unlikely. However, it is advisable to take a prophylaxis while travelling to many places in Africa including the Kafue area. Malaria Test kits are kept on site as well as at a nearby clinic (30 mins).
Tsetse flies are prevalent in the Kafue but provide a natural barrier against encroachment for the park. They carry no disease for humans (only domestic animals) and are more harmless than mosquitos. For your comfort we advise you wear light colours and particularly avoid blue and black as these flies are attracted to dark objects. It is for this reason our vehicles are all painted a light sand colour!