Overview – Kasungu NP

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Kasungu is Malawi’s second-largest national park. Once teeming with wildlife, the park has been heavily poached and, despite recent clampdowns, animal densities are low. The only lodge is well priced and located at Lifupa Dam, which has some resident hippos and attracts elephants in the Dry season. If wildlife viewing expectations aren’t too high, Kasungu offers a great bush experience.

Best Time to Go July to October (Dry bush, animals are easier to find)
High Season July to October (The park is never busy)
Size 2,316km² / 894mi²
Altitude 995-1,289m / 3,264-4,229ft

Pros & Cons

  • Off-the-beaten-track destination
  • Well-priced lodge and campsite overlooking Lifupa Dam
  • Morning and night drives offered
  • Good variety of wildlife
  • Activities include community visits, walking safari and hikes
  • Poaching has been a major problem
  • Low wildlife densities, and animals are very skittish
  • No choice of lodging, only mid-range and budget accommodation

Kasungu NP Safari Reviews

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  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
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  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
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Wildlife

Kasungu still has a good variety of animals despite the poaching problem and four of the Big Five are still present. Elephants regularly come to drink at the dam and buffalo can sometimes be found too. Lucky visitors might see a leopard on a night drive, and lions may be heard but they are rarely seen. Antelope species include the rare Lichtenstein's hartebeest, greater kudu, sable and roan antelope, and reedbuck.

Scenery

The lodge and campsite are located in a beautiful spot overlooking Lifupa Dam. Sunrise over the lake is particularly evocative with rising mist, hippos snorting, fish eagles calling and waders bobbing around the shore. Those feeling energetic can climb Black Rock for views over the endless expanse of bush, and to see the sunset. There are several prehistoric sites in the park where you can see rock paintings and iron-smelting kilns.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Kasungu is comparable to that of Malawi in general. More information:

Best Time to Visit

Kasungu can be visited throughout the year, but the best time for wildlife viewing is July to October, from the middle to the end of the Dry season. At this time, animals are drawn to Lifupa Dam to drink.

Getting There

Kasungu is quite accessible, and Lifupa Lodge can usually be reached in any type of vehicle. The park is about 170km/100mi from Lilongwe, and the drive takes about three hours.

Health & Safety

Please read our malaria and vaccinations page for Malawi, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Kasungu NP?

Kasungu NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
     –  0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
A lovely spot by Lifupa dam
2/5

While Kasungu is not a great wildlife destination, I have nice memories staying at the lodge overlooking Lifupa dam. The best time to enjoy this spot is early in the morning, with a mug of coffee in hand, when the mist rises from the water...