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        Name Kasungu National Park

        IUCN Management Category II (National Park)

        Biogeographical Province 3.07.04 (Miombo Woodland/savanna)

        Geographical Location West of Kasungu, about 175km north of Lilongwe, extending along the Zambian border. 1300'S, 3310'E.

        Date and History of Establishment Declared a forest reserve in 1922 as an anti-tsetse fly measure; Game reserve status in 1930 and national park status in 1970

        Area 231,600ha

        Land Tenure Government

        Altitude 1,000-1,330m

        Physical Features The park comprises a relatively flat plateau embracing much of the higher catchment of the Dwangwa River. The river and its tributaries are seasonal, but usually have water in deep pools during the dry season. Several prominent inselbergs break the plateau surface. Soils are leached and relatively infertile. The climate is typical of central Malawi with the daily maximum often exceeding 29C from September to May and a daily minimum of 4-7C from June to August. The mean annual rainfall is 750-1000mm, but may vary significantly between years.

        Climate No information

        Vegetation The vegetation comprises a mosaic of open country and medium height 'miombo' woodland dominated by Brachystegia spp. and Julbernardia globiflora. A more varied woodland dominated by Combretum spp., Acacia piliostigma and Terminalia sp. occurs along the Dwangwa River and some larger tributaries. An area of moderately dense Hyparrhenia spp. grassland borders the rivers in places.

        Fauna Mammals include: about 800 elephant Loxodonta africana (T)(conspicuous but thought to be decreasing), sable antelope Hippotragus niger, roan antelope H. equinus, Lichtenstein's hartebeest Alcelaphus lichtensteini, eland Taurotragus oryx, greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros, reedbuck Redunca arundinum, impala Aepyceros melampus, waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus, oribi Ourebia ourebi, grey duiker Sylvicapra grimmia, Sharpe's grysbok Raphicerus sharpei, Burchell's zebra Equus burchelli, warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus, bushpig Potamochoerus porcus, chacma baboon Papio ursinus, vervet monkey Cercopithecus aethiops, lion Panthera leo, leopard P. pardus (T), spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta, side striped jackal Canis adustus, serval Felis serval, wild dog Lycaon pictus (T), cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (T), and black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis (T). There is also a wide variety of other wildlife typical of Brachystegia woodland including many small mammals. Three hundred bird species have been recorded including wattled crane Bugeranus carunculatus (of special concern).

        Cultural Heritage No information

        Local Human Population No information

        Visitors and Visitor Facilities There are about 4,000 visitors annually. Facilities in the park include accommodation at Lifupa Lodge or a fixed-tent site, and about 120km of game-viewing tracks. There is a landing strip for light aircraft near the administration camp. There are rock paintings at two sites in the Solonje Hills.

        Scientific Research and Facilities A survey, supported by WWF/IUCN Project 1665, was carried out in 1981/82 to assess the status of elephant populations in the park, in Nkhotakota Game Reserve and Malawi in general. The project formed part of the general research programme of the Wildlife Research Institute of the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Research involved population dynamics as well as monitoring mortality from poaching, crop protection, shooting and natural factors. Additional research looked at spatial distribution changes and social organisation within the population. Methods were also tested on the use of elephant droppings to estimate numbers, distribution and age structure. Such methods are cheaper and more suitable than aerial surveys in forest or mountainous country. Research on elephant browsing on Brachystegia woodland was carried out in conjunction with the Wildlife Research Unit Woodland Monitoring programme. The main current research is in archaeology.


        Conservation Value No information

        Conservation Management Total

        The area is zoned according to five land-use classes developed by the Canadian National Parks Service: Class I Special Areas; II Natural Environment Areas; III Lower Category Natural Environment Areas; IV General Outdoor Recreation Areas; and V Intensive Use Areas. A buffer zone of about 16,000ha has been added to the south-eastern boundary and was gazetted in 1977.

        Management Constraints The eastern boundary adjoins an expanding project based on tobacco grown by smallholders. Even though a buffer zone has been added to the parks' south-eastern boundary, conflicts with wildlife still persist. In order to control movements of large herbivores from the park into adjacent farmland, the 8km solar-powered electric fence in the buffer zone should be extended along the entire southern and eastern park boundaries. There is some poaching of elephant for ivory.

        Staff 1984 - 28 full-time and 41 temporary workers

        Budget 1976/1977 financial year: US$78,500 allocated by the Government for development and a similar amount for recurrent expenditure. WWF Funding in 1982 - US$873 (total since 1981 - US$11,862). 1983/1984: about US$50,000

        Local Addresses

        Parks and Wildlife Officer, Kasungu National Park, PO Box 43, Kasungu.


        Bell, R.H.V. (1981). An outline of a management plan for Kasungu National Park, Malawi. In: Problems in management of locally abundant wild mammals. Jewell, P.A., Holt, S. and Hard, D. (Eds). Academic Press, New York. Pp. 69-89.

        Clarke, J.E. (1983). Protected areas master plan for the Central Region. Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Lilongwe.

        Elephants of Malawi. WWF Monthly Report January 1983: 377-379.

        IUCN/WWF Project No. 1665. Ecology of the Elephant in Kasungu National park, Malawi.

        Savory, R. and Moore, G. (1972). A survey of the possibilities of sward improvement in Kasungu Game Park. Bunda College of Agriculture, University of Malawi.

        Date 1985

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        Revision date: 11-December-2000 | Current date: 14-December-2000
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