Majete Wildlife Reserve is a unique conservation and tourist destination for all visitors. The amazing success story of recovery and restoration and the continued protection of endangered species have led Majete to become one of the most popular reserves in Malawi for wildlife and safaris. Majete lies in the Lower Shire Valley in the South West of Malawi, approximately 70km – (one and a half hour’s drive) from Blantyre’s Chileka international airport and three hours from Lake Malawi.
Majete was once a prolific wildlife refuge but by the late 1990’s most species of large game, including elephant, had been eradicated. Remnant populations of a few resilient species remained but they had been reduced to very low, and in some cases critical numbers. Law enforcement teams were ill equipped and underfunded, illegal encroachment, agriculture and hardwood logging were all occurring inside the reserve and the resource was diminishing. In 2003, African Parks Majete (APM) a non-profit organisation, in partnership with the Malawian government and local communities, took total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of the reserve. The restoration of Majete since then has included significant infrastructure development (142km of electrified perimeter fence, 300km of roads, water holes, scout camps, fence camps and a complete tourism infrastructure), wildlife restocking and a complete overhaul of the law enforcement and scientific monitoring function.
The mass translocation of wildlife began in 2003 and by March 2012, 2,559 animals from fourteen different species had been reintroduced including the famed African ‘Big Five’: leopard, elephant, buffalo, black rhino and lion. Other mammals reintroduced were eland, sable, waterbuck, nyala, hartebeest, impala, zebra, warthog and bush pig and in late 2018, Majete received its first ever population of giraffe (thirteen in total). The introduced animals have been thriving and breeding well and current estimates put the total population of mammals over 11,000. Majete is a reserve completely transformed in a relatively short space of time and is now one of Malawi’s best game parks offering wonderful wildlife viewing. Safari activities available to visitors include boat safaris on the magnificent Shire River, as well as the usual safaris by vehicle and on foot.
African Parks has also engaged positively with local people and has made a significant contribution to fostering cooperative relations with the surrounding communities. A range of community outreach projects have been launched with donor support and continue to generate positive working relations with Majete’s neighbours and generate much needed income for the community.
Run by Robin Pope Safaris, Mkulumadzi Lodge on the banks of the River Shire lies in its own private concession area and offers real luxury in a fantastic setting.