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Kasanka National Park is a park located in the Serenje District of Zambia’s Northern Province. At roughly 390km2, Kasanka is one of Zambia’s smallest national parks. Kasanka’s situation is interesting as it is the first of Zambia’s national parks to be privately managed. The privately funded Kasanka Trust Ltd has taken on all management responsibilities, in partnership with the Zambian Wildlife Authority, and has been in operation since 1986.

Kasanka is blessed with a wide variety of habitats listed below:
Brachystegia Woodland: otherwise known as ‘Miombo woodland’, this habitat covers around 70% of Kasanka’s surface area, interspersed with grassy dambo’s. It is very rich in tree species and in many places forms a half closed canopy but also supports a well-developed herbaceous stratum. A high frequency of fires removes this stratum and young saplings and leads to Miombo woodland with large, widely separated trees. Decades of “early burning” in the park have resulted in more natural miombo with a strong presence of young trees and thicket species.
Evergreen Forests: three kinds occur within Kasanka; Mushitu or ‘swamp forest’, riverine forests and very small patches of Mateshe (dry evergreen forest). The Mushitu is characterised by huge red mahoganies, waterberries and quinine trees amongst others and is fairly well represented. The largest tract of intact Mushitu, in the Fibwe area, hosts the annual gathering of straw-coloured fruitbats from October to December. Riverine forests are found along most rivers in Kasanka, with the largest stretches being found along the Luwombwa. True Mateshe probably was common in historicc times but is rare now, as a result of centuries of frequent fires. All both forest types are at risk from frequent wildfires as the tree species they support are not resistant to fire.
Chipya: also known as ‘Lake basin woodland’. Trees are further interspersed and do not form a closed canopy, this allows sunlight to penetrate and tall grasses to grow. Chipya is prone to very hot fires in the dry season,and this gives these woodlands their name as ‘chiya’ means ‘burnt’ in the local language. Chipya typically occurs on relatively soils and are thought to be a fire derivate form of Mateshe.
Dambo’s: dambo’s are grassy drainage channels and basins with little to no woody vegetation but very palatable grasses. Most woody species grow on exposed termitaria as dambo’s tend to retain water very well. Dambo’s are of a vital importance to grazing mammal species as well as several woodland mammals that choose to graze on the fringes, especially during the dry season. Several large (several square km) grassy plains occur within the park such as Chinyangali close to Fibwe and the Chikufwe plain north of the Kasanka River.
Papyrus Swamps: the crown jewels of Kasanka are the vast marshes supporting large tracts of thick papyrus swamp, home to the elusive Sitatunga. The most notable Papyrus swamps occur in the Fibwe and Kapabi areas.
Rivers and Lakes: Kasanka has no less than nine permanent lakes and over 100km of rivers flowing through the Park. Many of the rivers, especially the Luwombwa in the north support riparian fringe forests on their banks. Large areas of grassy floodplains are found along the Kasanka, Mulembo and Luwombwa rivers. The rivers and lakes are host to a variety of fish and are rich in other forms of aquatic and semi-aquatic wildlife.

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