It is the largest national park in the Katanga province with a total area of 10,000 square kilometers with an annex of further 3000 square kilometers.
The habitat of the park varies from Afro-Montane grasslands and forests at higher altitudes in the Kibara Mountains through Miombo woodlands and tropical rainforests to marshes, wetlands, lakes, and streams with riparian zones at the lower altitudes.
Lake Upemba has a maximum depth reported to be only 3.2 meters/10ft and it is a site of intense algae growth. The watercourses of the region fluctuate according to the season and the water level in the lake is high from March to June and low from October to January.
Many of the bodies of the water in the area are characterized by extensive swamps with papyrus, Nile lettuce and water caltrop among other species.
The system of lakes, rivers, swamps and wetlands supports a variety of fish fauna. This includes over 30 species of Cyprinidae, Mormyridae (also known as freshwater elephant fish), Barbus, Alestidae, Mochokidae and Cichlidae.
Bird species include several threatened or endangered species such as the shoebill, wattled crane and spotted ground-thrush and the Schmidt’s snouted frogs are only found in this park.