Majete Wildlife Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve is in Chikwawa of Malawi.

. . . Majete Wildlife Reserve . . .

African Parks (Majete) Ltd. is the local company established by African Parks for the management, rehabilitation, and development of Majete Wildlife Reserve from 2003 to 2028.

Since African Park’s arrival, restocking has taken place in phases, and will continue with the aim of restoring populations of the original species that were present in the Reserve. To date these animals include: two black rhino, buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, eland, hartebeest, zebra, bush pig, impala, nyala, and sable. we aim to restock the Reserve with populations of exterminated species, acquired from other protected areas in Malawi and neighboring countries.

A 42-km intermediate fence was constructed in 2003 for the initial phase of the project, which encloses 14,000 ha, where all the restocking of game species takes place. When the park’s perimeter fence is completed, and the intermediate fence is removed, the game animals will be able to disperse freely into the total area of Majete Wildlife Reserve.

The infrastructure has been upgraded, including construction and maintenance by hand of 150 km of new roads within the Reserve, with one drift, and maintenance of the 16-km road from Chikwawa to Majete, clearing and maintenance 40 km of firebreaks for fire management, completion of 6 scout houses with electricity and water at every house, administration facilities, including a fully equipped workshop and operations room, and Thawale tented camp, with 4 luxury tents, lapa, kitchen, a 44 KVA generator and staff/volunteer accommodation. Three artificial waterholes were constructed in the 14,000 ha sanctuary.

Majete Wildlife Reserve covers 691 km² and lies at the low attitude of about 100 m (see map 1). The Shire River forms part of the eastern boundary. It was gazetted as a Game Reserve in 1955. Further extensions occurred in 1969 to include dry season water sources, and in 1976 it was extended to include the full width of the Shire River. In 1988 there were estimated to be over 200 elephants in Majete, but by 1992 all had been exterminated.

Majete Wildlife Reserve is an area of 70,000 ha in the Lower Shire Valley, about 70 km southwest of Blantyre, the commercial capital of Malawi. It is an area of undulating and hilly country, covered in tall deciduous woodland with beautiful grassy glades and occasional patches of thicket. To the east it is mixed acacia, leadwood and marula savannah with scattered stately baobab trees and patches of ilala palms. All the watercourses have a fringe of riverine thicket and the rugged western highlands are dominated by miombo woodland.

Majete Wildlife Reserve was, at one time, hugely rich in a variety of species of animals and vegetation. Whilst the flora is undoubtedly varied and flourishing, it will continue to take a while before the Reserve is fully habited by its entire indigenous species once again.

To rehabilitate Majete’s wildlife, the agreement between African Parks and the Malawi Government stipulated provisions being made for the restocking of wildlife with populations of exterminated species acquired from other protected areas in Malawi and, in certain circumstance, from elsewhere in Africa. 769 animals have been moved to Majete from other national parks in Malawi, with a further 77 animals coming from private sources in Zambia. Animals introduced so far include: black rhino, buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, Livingstone’s eland, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable antelope, nyala, Burchell’s zebra, impala and warthog – nearly all of which have bred successfully and increased their populations by at least 10% since reintroduction. Very large numbers of crocodiles and hippos still occur in the Shire River. Majete Wildlife Reserve is also very rich in birdlife, the total number of species recorded being 311, which is a reflection of the varied habitat.

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