KNP comprises an area of 2450 km2, covering a large part of the Kasungu Plateau, which ranges in altitude from 1000 to 1500 m. It is a relatively flat region with the vegetation composed predominantly of Brachystegia woodlands with scattered Euphorbia candelabra in areas where there are rocky outcrops.
The Park is irrigated by the Dwangwa, Lingadzi and Liziwazi Rivers, which together with their tributaries form an extensive system.
KNP is subject to high levels of human encroachment and indiscriminate snaring (Bhima et al., 2003), and carnivores have declined over recent years. A lion census identified low numbers around KNP (Mesochina et al., 2010), suggesting that KNP could be a refuge for wild dogs due to low intra-guild competition. Leopard and hyaena numbers are moderate and CRM are conducting radio tracking and camera trapping studies to assess behavioural ecology of the carnivore guild in the absence of lion.
Malawi has been subjected to increasing environmental pressures from agriculture and deforestation. Malawi has the highest rate of deforestation in Southern Africa (2.4%/yr, UNEP 2002) and has less than 5% of original forest area remaining (Hutson et al., 2001).