Mkulumadzi, Majete Wildlife Reserve


Majete Wildlife Reserve is one of the outstanding success stories of African conservation. Granted protected status in 1955, it became the subject of extensive poaching in the 1980s and 1990s. But a concerted joint effort since 2003 by the African Parks Network and the Malawi government - including the reintroduction of endangered species - has turned it into a model of sustainable development and biodiversity. In 2012 Majete became Malawi’s only Big Five Park.

Located in the south of Malawi, Majete is an area of 70.000 hectares, part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The reserve is made up of mature miombo woodlands and granite topped hills that contrast with picturesque river valleys and lush riverine forest. There is the chance to view many species, but although the Big 5 do undoubtedly exist here, you would be very lucky to see any other than Elephant. We saw 2 distant elephants, 2 buffalo and a leopard kill with footprints (but no leopard)

Mkulumadzi is located at the confluence of two rivers shaded by giant leadwood trees. It is the combination of splendid isolation and first-class facilities. The lodge has eight superb chalets, each with spacious living quarters and your own private deck.

We stopped in Blantyre on the way from Lake Malawi to Majete, and saw the impressive cathedral built a few years after Livingstone's death in 1873. St. Michael and All Angels Church was constructed between 1888 and 1891 of brick at the Blantyre Mission in Blantyre, Malawi. It is located on the original Scottish mission site, off Chileka Rd, and is in the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian’s Blantyre Synod.

The church was designed, and its construction managed, by Rev. David Clement Scott, who had no formal architectural training. Labour was provided by local men without previous experience in this type of construction. All the bricks used were made on-site from local clay and fired in wood-fueled kilns. It has been estimated that eighty-one different forms of bricks were used in the building. The most common bricks are 12 by 6 by 3 inches, laid up in English bond. Scott made no detailed drawings before construction began. Instead, each detail was tested with dry bricks before final assembly. The dimensions are approximately 106 feet long, 30 feet wide from aisle wall to aisle wall, and 37 feet high to the crest of the roof.

Having remarked on the paucity of Big Game, I should say that our Game Drives were outstanding, and our guide Mustafa worked hard to make them informative and entertaining. There were masses of Impala and other antelopes, the odd Zebra, as well as baboons and monkeys. Bird life was varied and diverting.

The Lodge itself is charming, complete with a small swimming pool. Access to it was over a fairly long swaying rope bridge - and we had to cross this 14 times during our 2 day stay here!. In common with most lodges, your day is is pretty much filled from wake up call at 05.15, through game drive and breakfast, which takes you to 11.00. You are free till lunch at 12.30, afternoon tea at 15.00, another game drive and night viewing lasting till 19.00 - pausing for your sundowner en-route. Then a drink around the camp fire before dinner at 20.00. It is a full and interesting day

One of our game drives was in fact a boat trip round a lake created by the damming of the Shire River.

This was one of the few places that we stayed in Malawi that actively touted for tips, pressing envelopes upon you with instructions on how to fill them with money. But in spite of that, I did like the hotel, its staff, its game drives and its meals