Road Condition Update Kafue/SLNP

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Thanked: 0

    Default Road Condition Update Kafue/SLNP

    Hi All,

    Just returned from a 10 day jolly through Kafue and up to South Luangwa, and thought I should tell you about the road conditions.

    Livingstone to Kalomo - 120km of excellent tar.
    Kalomo to Dundumwezi Gate (Kafue NP) - 72km of average quality dirt road - took 2.5 hours, but we were not pushing it.
    Park entry for self drivers right now is 107.50 Kwacha. and 15 Kwacha for a Zambian reg vehicle.
    Dundumwezi Gate to Nanzhila Camp - 53.5 km - we took the plains road which is now open. It is narrow but in good condition with a few small sections that are quite bumpy. The grass is very high in some parts, but mostly it is driving through bush, with some open areas. Most of the journey was done in 2x4, there is a very small section of soft sand just before camp, but nothing to cause any problems. Saw some Wattled Crane, but hardly any game.
    From Nanzhila there are a couple of nice game drive loops, again not much game to be seen, but we did spot a leopard about 5km from camp.
    If the plains road is wet, from Dundumwezi gate you would head out to the Cordon road and into Nanzhila from the other side. It is about 30km longer.
    From Nanzhila we headed north to Ngoma via Kalenji Outpost - there are some signposts, but they are in need of re painting.
    The track from Kalenje is sand, but in reasonable condition. There were a couple of short sections where is was quite deep, but not enough to get excited about. This track links up evenutally with the Cordon road and there is a signpost to Hippo Bay lodge to the right.
    The elephant orphanage is worth a visit - feeding is from 1130 to 1330. It is free, but you can leave a donation.
    The orphanage is not well signposted, you need to take the track to the left signed to Ngoma forest loop from the Cordon road, but do not turn off, just keep going straight for about 13km. Eventually you will come to GRI's Phoenix Camp, that is the orphanage!
    From the Orphange we returned to Ngoma and on towards Itezhi Tezhi, but turned left onto the Lake View Road, which turns into the Spinal Road, and 159.7km later arrived at Puku Pan, on the wrong side of the river. They will come and get you and transfer you by boat across to the lodge.
    ** This is not a good idea if you are camping, better to take the Itezhi Tezhi road, which is currently being graded/tarmac'ed **
    The Spinal Road is in excellent condition, there are a couple of trees down in places, but you can get around them easily. All of the bridges are in good condition, and so far show no evidence of washing away in the rains.
    Puku Pan or Mu Fungata Lodge as it is now known is under new ownership and is currently being fixed up - they have big plans.
    We also called in at Kasabushi Camp to say hello and check the place out. They are open for business, and it is still work in progress, but they have some of the most amazing ablution blocks I've ever seen.
    The best loop for game drives from the Puku Pan area within the park is Shishamba Loop. There is a pool at the end of the loop, with some very big crocodiles in it.
    We also checked out the Mukambi Loop. The graded section is in excellent condition - the ungraded section, is possibly the worst road I have ever been on, and it looked like nobody had used it for years - good fun though!
    The Spinal Road up to the M9 is also in excellent condition and it takes roughly 3 hours to reach Lusaka.
    We spent 4 days in Kafue NP and never saw another vehicle. Even though there was very little game, it was a great experience to be there alone.
    The downside to the park are the Tsetse Flies, and while we were there, the whole place was burning. Back burning should have stopped on 1st July, so I dont know who was responsilbe, but from the south gate to the M9 everything was either burning, smoking or charred.
    From Lusaka, the Great East Road is good as far as Luangwa Bridge. From the bridge, there is construction on and off all the way to Chipata. The worst parts at the moment are just before Petauke, where they have a detour, but it is single track so you cannot overtake a slower vehicle in front, and of course it is very dusty.
    Between Petauke and Sinda the detour is slightly wider, so you can overtake.
    The state of the detours at the current time is ok, but they are starting to get bumpy. The construction company are also busy cutting more detours, so it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
    We got fed up with the road works, so for a change of scenery took the bush road from Petauke to Mfuwe.
    It took 6 hours exactly from the Petauke turning to arriving at Flatdogs.
    The road is a mixture of good and bad. From Petauke to the Sandwe GMA turning, is is wide dirt - it hasnt been graded and is a little bumpy in places but I've seen worse.
    Once on the GMA road, it is single track, up and down, but well graded until Sandwe village, where the good road appears to end in somebodys front garden. Then you turn right onto what can be best described as a goat track... It is a highly populated section of road, and there are people everywhere - you might think you are lost in the middle of nowhere, but there is always somebody to point you in the right direction!
    It is a slow going road, with some culverts washed away, but you will get there eventually - much better than the main road with all those crazy trucks and buses.
    The Mfuwe to Chipata construction is complete, and it takes about an hour and 45 minutes now, it is the widest road in Zambia!
    The original section of Mfuwe tar from the airport to the park gate is being worked on in a few sections, but it does not seem to be causing any problems.
    Current self drive entry for South Luangwa NP is 188.10 Kwacha.
    The park, as always, did not disappoint, and we were fortunate enough to spend time with Alice the leopard and her 2 cubs.
    Sadly no photographic evidence as my camera sh*t itself .
    The road works heading out of Lusaka, especially by Chilanga are slightly soul destroying, but it will be fabulous when finished.

    And now, I am back in Livingstone.....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Thanked: 3281


    Ah, nice Truckslag. It is almost a year ago when we did our trip.

    Good to hear that the Spinal Road survived well and that Kasabushi Camp is open. A camp in that area in the park is sorely needed in my opinion.

    Oh, the Mukambi loop. No somebody did not drive the ungraded section years ago. It is actually only a year ago. I thought we were lost and were going to die in Kafue Like you say horrible.

    I have been craving the curry from the Golden Leaf
    2018 Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4x4 AT
    BushLapa 78 Now a Boskruier but with the same Zambia and CKGR bush stripes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cape Town
    Thanked: 2606


    Thanks for the update - I wonder if the ongoing burning isn't the work of poachers?
    I seem to remember making a note that the easterly route from Nanzhila to Kalenji Outpost shouldn't be done in the wet because of some long stretches of cotton soil that we crossed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Thanked: 0


    Tony - I did wonder that myself, especially as ZAWA said they had stopped burning on 1st July. There was an awful lot of it going on.
    Correct on the Kalenji Outpost road - it has all been beautifully graded, but it's still black cotton when all is said and done. Cordon road would be the only way to Ngoma.

    Lekhubu - I'm waiting for you to return!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Thanked: 1

    Default Kafue NP

    Thanks for the update-brings back memories from last year. The wonder that is Kafue NP surely deserves better than the year to year excessive and late burns that occur. The lack of game again shows that inappropriate burning, alongside poaching, is preventing South Kafue from reaching anywhere near its true potential. What a pity. Let's hope that this can be turned around sooner rather than later.

    Glad to hear that you're getting out and about!. Our 2015 trip to Nam and Zim is getting closer!


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