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Wildlife & Reserves


Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

230km from Lilongwe

Located in central Malawi, the 1,802 km² Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is Malawi's largest and oldest reserve, having been established in 1954. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve has been managed by African Parks in collaboration with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) since 2015 and its exciting future is very much in the spotlight. The rugged terrain ranges from an altitude of 500m in the east to 1,63 m at the summit of Chipata Mountain, and the plateau is dotted with streams and waterfalls, making it a great spot for fishing, canoeing and river rafting. Due to years of poaching and lawlessness, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve was home to more than 1,500 elephants in the 1990s, but by 2015 the population had dwindled to less than 100. However, between July 2016 and August 2017, African Parks successfully relocated a total of 520 elephants and 2000 animals, including sable, waterbuck, kudu and impala, from Liwonde National Park and MajeteWildlife Reserve to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. This was one of the largest relocations of elephants ever recorded in the history of the world. 


Game Drive  Boat Safari    Game Walk  Rafting  Birding   Trekking

Majete Wildlife Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve

70km from Blantyre

Majete Wildlife Reserve which was established in 1955 is located in southern Malawi, just south of Blantyre. The reserve is the only park in Malawi where the 'Big Five' can be seen, and game drives and guided tours are available. The story of Majete Wildlife Reserve is
perhaps the most intriguing of all the parks in Malawi. Until 2003, when the Malawi Government's Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and African Parks initiated a project to rehabilitate the Majete Wildlife Reserve, the law was not adequate enough to
deal with poaching so elephant, rhino, lion and buffalo had all been hunted out, leaving less wildlife and only a few remaining antelopes. This empty Majete was transformed into a wildlife wonderland: a mass translocation of wildlife began in 2003 and by March 2012, 2,559 animals of 14 species had been reintroduced, including the Big Five: leopard, elephant, buffalo, black
rhino and lion. By 2017, elephants had bred to more than 430, and during the historic translocation of 520 elephants to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, 200 elephants were also translocated from Majete, contributing to the repopulation of the reserve. In 2018, 4 new lions, 2 males and 2 females, were reintroduced from South Africa to increase the genetic diversity of the population, and 5 cheetahs were introduced in 2019. In July 2021, 14 African wild dogs
were relocated from South Africa and Mozambique to Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve. This was a historic project to protect the African Wild Dog, of which it is estimated that only 6,600 animals and 700 breeding pairs remain on the continent. A total of nearly 5,000 wildlife have been reintroduced since then, but not a single animal has been
poached in the reserve since 2003. Majete Wildlife Reserve is a conservation success story in Malawi. Located 1.5 hours' drive from Blantyre, the reserve is ideal for a day visit. Get away
from the hustle and bustle of the city and go exploring atMajete Wildlife Reserve, the only place in Malawi where the Big Five are all in one place.


Game Drive  Night Safari  Game Walk   Birding

Vwaza Marsh

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife

130km from Mzuzu

Located north-west of Mzuzu, on the border with Zambia, Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve is a
978km² reserve which was designated in 1977. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Vwaza
Marsh was one of the most famous places of ivory collection. Today, it is one of the best places in Malawi to see elephants and buffaloes. If you visit Nyika National Park by car, be sure to stop off at Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve at the foot of Nyika Plateau. Both Nyika and Vwaza offer the ultimate safari experience in Malawi. Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve comprises of forests, grasslands and marshy plains, with several streams flowing into Lake Kazuni near the main entrance to the reserve. Lake Kazuni is a small lake by Malawian standards, but very attractive for wildlife: it is home to more than 500 hippos and on most days hippos can be seen poking theirheads out of the water. Crocodiles can often be seen basking on the lake's sandy beaches. It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 buffalo in the vicinity, but their roaming habits mean that sightings are not easy to predict. Hundreds of elephants inhabit the area and it is not uncommon to see herds of 30-40. There are few predators, but lions, leopards and wild dogs have been spotted in the past. A variety of other antelopes are also present, including the roan, greater kudu,Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, eland and impala. With around 300 bird species, bird watching is also popular in the park. It is one of the best places in Malawi to view waders such as stork, heron and white-faced tree duck. Wildlife viewing is best done on foot around Lake Kazuni or on wilderness trails. You can either drive around the reserve in your own vehicle or arrange for a guide atthe entrance to the reserve.


Self-Drive  Camping   Birding   Game Walk

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Mwabvi Wildlife

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve

150km from Blantyre

Located in Malawi's southernmost district of Nsanje, Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is on the
border with Mozambique and is the country's smallest wildlife reserve, covering 135 km².
Although it is not far from Lengwe National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve, it is
considered the most inaccessible reserve in Malawi. There is a wide range of vegetation,
from grasslands to forests, with some fairly deep forests. The magnificent sandstone
outcrops with 360-degree views of the Shire and Zambezi rivers and the Mopane
woodlands create a lunar landscape that is attractive all year round. Guided walks by game
rangers are recommended for keen walkers. The pristine wilderness still maintains a
decent number of wildlife including buffalo which can be observed bathing in the Mwabvi
River. The area is also home to many species of antelope, including kudu, sable, impala,
nyala, and leopard and hyena have also been spotted. The best time for game watching is
during the cooler months of June-August, because the altitude is low and summers can get
quite hot and humid. Poor road conditions can limit access, so a 4x4 vehicle is
recommended, especially during the rainy season


Self-Drive  Game Walk     Birding   Camping

Nyala Park

Nyala Park

70km from Blantyre

When SUCOMA (now Illovo Sugar Limited) became aware of the fact that the number of nyala was declining dramatically in Lengwe National Park, they secured the primary forest within the
Nchalo Sugar Estate owned by Illovo Sugar Limited and brought a small breeding group of nyala from Lengwe to the site. Nyala bred and wildlife such as wildebeest, oribi, impala and giraffe were introduced. The height of the nyala,which appears curiously low under the
tall canopy of the fever-tree, is one of the most remarkable scenic pleasures of Nyala Park. Nyala Park is open to the public and an entrance fee is required. It is close to Lengwe National Park and should be visited in combination with it


Self-Drive  Game Walk     

Thuma Forest

Thuma Forest Reserve

110km from Blantyre

Declared a forest reserve in 1926, Thuma Forest Reserve covers an area of 197km² on the steep slopes of the Great Rift Valley near Lake Malawi, about 80km from Lilongwe. Thuma is one of the few forest reserves in Malawi that is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephant and antelope. The altitude of Thuma Forest Reserve varies from 575m above sea level to 1564m on Thuma Mountain. It is characterized by low-elevation mixed forest areas with miombo forest cover in the upper levels and bamboo patches in the lower levels. An NGO known as Wildlife Action Group (WAG) has been working with local communities since 1996 on anti-poaching and conservation activities in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry to protect the flora and fauna of Thuma Forest Reserve and restore the ecological balance. In the past, Thuma was threatened by deforestation due to illegal logging of firewood, charcoaland timber which caused severe degradation of wildlife habitats. As a result of WAG’s excellent work, poaching in the Thuma Forest Reserve has been greatly reduced and wildlife numbers have increased. Elephants that had left Thuma due to heavy poaching have returned, and buffaloes that used to be in small groups of three or four now form herds of 30. Other species you can see at Thuma Forest Reserve include greater kudu, bushbuck, Sharpe’s grysbok, common duiker, klipspringer, baboon, velvet monkey, bushbaby, leopard, spotted hyena, genet, African civet, honey badger, warthog, bush pig, porcupine and more.Today, Thuma Forest Reserve is regaining its beauty and is one of Malawi's best protected forest reserves.


Self-Drive  Game Walk    Birding   Camping   

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