Majete, an African conservation success story

Dramatic rapids at Kapichira WaterfallsPicture by Robin Pope Safaris

Majete, in south Malawi, is an area spanning 70,000 hectares, part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, and has various habitats which allow for a wide variety of species to thrive – picture river valleys, riverine forests, waterfalls and mature woodlands, accompanied by granite-topped hills.

Today, safari goers will have the chance to see black rhino, leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo (The Big Five), and other species such as eland, kudu, sable, suni, klipspringer, zebra and Lichenstein’s hartebeest – counts estimate 12,200 animals currently thriving within its perimeter.


Not so long ago, it was practically devoid of any life save from a few remaining antelope. Rhinos were poached out in the 1970s, a population of 300 elephants were extinguished by 1992, and predators in general had disappeared from the reserve along with their prey species. There was barely any tourism dollar spent in the park, and the twelve scouts employed certainly did not have much to protect.

In 2003, Majete’s luck took an upward turn.

African Parks and the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) formalised a 25-year agreement to rejuvenating and restoring the reserve. Key species were reintroduced, beginning with the black rhino in 2003, followed by elephants in 2006, lions in 2012, alongside a diverse variety of species suited to the ecosystem.


The African Parks management has ensured not one rhino or elephant has been poached since they have arrived back at the reserve. Measures have included the construction of a 144-km long predator proof perimeter fence, stringent and effective law enforcement, but perhaps most importantly community engagement and education on conservation has also helped reduce these numbers.


Improving the surrounding rural infrastructure and healthcare, providing employment in the industry, as well as setting up a scholarship programme, are all tying together to improve the quality of life for the Malawians around the reserve, which help to minimize the pressure of human-wildlife conflict.

With only 7000 visitors to the reserve in 2016, Majete still remains under the radar as a wildlife destination and safari connoisseurs will revel in having the chance to explore this flourishing wilderness without many other visitors around.

Where to stay: Mkulumadzi
Located within the wildlife reserve itself, Mkulumadzi is surrounded by 7,000 hectares of private concession, in an amazing spot at the confluence of two rivers – providing great opportunity for wildlife viewing.

Majete_2014-07-35ePicture by Robin Pope Safaris

Mkulumadzi has 8 luxury ensuite tents and offers walking safaris, game drives and boat safaris. Guests also get to visit a nearby village and community centre to better understand the people’s experiences living alongside this hidden wildlife destination.

Majete_2014-07-106ePicture by Robin Pope Safaris

The camp’s viewing hide overlooking a waterhole, provides fantastic photographic opportunities for its frequent visitors – buffalo, black rhino, sable, and eland.

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