Malawi’s Majete National Park has undergone a miraculous recovery since being taken over by African Parks in 2003. Thanks to careful management and reintroductions, it became Malawi’s first Big Five wildlife reserve in 2012, and is a phenomenal place to see conservation in action. There are now more than 12,000 large mammals roaming free, and though tourist numbers are steadily growing, Majete is still far from crowded.
Wildlife numbers are in sad decline across most of Africa due to human encroachment, reduction of habitat, poaching, and other damaging factors. So when we hear of conservation success stories like Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve, it really is a cause for celebration. NGO African Parks leads the way in sustainable park management, breeding, and restocking game numbers, and under their care Majete has recovered to once again be a Big Five park. In fact, elephant numbers have grown so rapidly that they’ve even been able to translocate family groups from Majete to Nkhotakota in the north of the country.
The best place to stay for a Big Five safari experience in Majete is at Mkulumadzi Camp, surrounded by 7,000 hectares of private wildlife concession. Access is across a rope bridge over the river, and you arrive at an idyllic location framed by tall leadwood trees. The lodge is comprised of eight luxurious chalets, each one flooded with natural light and equipped with an en-suite bathroom with a huge bathtub and a secluded outdoor shower. You will be able to hear the grunt of the hippo wallowing in the mud from your private deck, you can swim in the fabulous pool, and there’s the option to dine outside beneath the stars.
Staying at Mkulumadzi, there are multiple ways in which you can explore Majete and have close encounters with the animals and birds which live there. We highly recommend the boat safaris, especially if you have an interest in birds, and they are also a great way to get close to the hippo and crocodile in safety. Game drives take place each morning, and if you fancy a long drive, you can take a picnic breakfast or lunch. For something more active, walk with a guide along the Shire River, then relax and spend a few hours in the hide by the waterhole. The camp has a specially designed raised star deck, so when darkness falls the fun continues as you can sleep out beneath the stars. Majete is a place filled with wonders.