Majete National Park

Majete Wildlife Reserve is located on the lower Shire River to the south-west of Blantyre.

The 70,000 hectare reserve falls almost entirely to the west of the Shire, with just a small strip of buffer zone along the eastern bank. Whilst the Shire is predominantly a wide, slow flowing river, its passage through the reserve is faster flowing with several rapids as it cuts through the Kapichila hills and is eventually dammed for hydro electric power just above the impressive Kapichila Falls. These falls were visited by David Livingstone (the grave of one of the expedition members is close by) and the rock formations formed over thousands of years reveal beautiful sedimentary and metamorphic patterns.

The habitat of the reserve is predominantly mixed woodland, riverine forest and miombo woodland. There are a couple of river courses in addition to the Shire River, predominantly the Mkulumadzi River which cuts through the northern section of the reserve to join the Shire.

The reserve is currently (2012) run by a private non-profit organisation called Africa Parks, who specialise in re-generating and managing game reserves and parks across southern Africa. The project has been ongoing since 2003, and huge steps have been taken to get the park back to its best. Prior to 2003, the park was rampant with poaching. Since then many species of animals have been re-introduced including black rhino, elephant and buffalo. Other species also introduced include waterbuck, sable, nyala, zebra, Liechtenstein’s hartebeest, suni antelope and greater kudu. Since 2008 the whole reserve perimeter fence has been electrified enhancing security. Since 2011 leopards and lions have been re-introduced to the reserve. Other animals to be seen include hippo, crocodile, impala, eland, spotted hyaena, porcupine, civet, genet, serval, vervet monkey, yellow baboon and a variety of smaller creatures.

Birding is also superb, with year round residents including bohms bee-eater, green and scimitar billed wood hoopoe, dark chanting goshawk, red-throated twinspot, lizzard buzzard, palmnut vulture, white-headed vulture, osprey, African hoopoe, cordon bleu, little bee-eater, Pel’s fishing owl, rock pratincole, spotted eagle owl, green-backed heron, black-crowned night heron, Eygptian geese, African darter, great white egret, brown-hooded kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, white faced duck, African jacana, brown crowned Tchagra, western banded snake eagle, pied kingfisher, brown snake eagle and martial eagle.