The Upemba National Park was established in 1939 in the heart of the Katanga Mining Province covering an area of almost 1,200,000 hectares.
It presents diverse landscapes and ecosystems that make it rich and interesting: valleys, shrub savannah, a grassy savannah plateau, high plateaus dotted with forest galleries and the great swampy valley of the Kamalondo depression, where flows the river Lualaba, called to become the river Congo.
It is in this depression that the lakes Upemba, Mulenda, Kabwe and Kayumba are located. The park offers a great diversity of biogeographic environments conducive to a typical and varied fauna. The zebra, the roan antelope, the elk of Cape, the hartebeest, the big kudu … are found in the sector of the highlands, while the savannahs still shelter one or the other herd of elephants, buffaloes and antelopes.
The swamps are home to several species of waterfowl, including many Palaearctic migrants, as well as hippos and crocodiles.
Disappearance of animals
The park of Upemba did not escape in 2004 the consequences of civil unrest the country has known and whom he paid a heavy price (deforestation, poaching practised by the armed groups, Mai Mai. Given this and the general pressure on the various protected areas in the country, it is now illusory to say that cheetahs and zebras can be observed at the Kundelungu and Upemba parks. Access to certain areas of the site is such that even specialized services find it difficult to get there to locate the animals. But the “rest” largely compensates.
The ICCN is also exploring the possibility of a program of restocking of animals in the two parks of Katanga, in agreement with the Frankfurt Zoological Society. Be that as it may, and although located outside the classical tourist axes, the Upemba National Park has other attractions besides its flora and fauna. It includes various lakes, where it would be possible to go boating, as well as many waterfalls (Kayo, Ipera, Kwanza, Munte, Dikolongo and Kalule) and some caves (Tumba, Kiantapo …) to visit.
Although it still has existing infrastructure at the moment, the site would really have the potential to become a tourist attraction in the province and across the country with some additional amenities. Same general access conditions as for other sites and parks, namely that you need a good 4 × 4 to get there (about ten hours from Lubumbashi). Entrance by Lubudi to the south, or Lusinga to the north (to enter the lakes area). Purchase of the permit and reservations/information from the ICCN liaison office in Lubumbashi or via a travel agency.