Majete Wildlife Reserve Safari Guide

safarigo    Malawi  

Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s major Big Five reserve and one of its top wildlife destinations. Badly neglected and heavily poached, the reserve was rescued in 2012 by the African Parks organization. Since then, more than 2,500 animals have been reintroduced and populations of naturally occurring large animals have started to recover. Accommodation ranges from a community-owned tented camp to a five-star lodge.

Pros & Cons


Great wildlife viewing with all the Big Five present
Beautiful landscape and river scenery
Night drives, boat trips and walking safaris are available
Elephant tracking on foot
Stunning five-star lodge
Only 140km² is developed for tourism and open to the public
4x4 vehicle needed for some of the roads, and essential in the Wet Season
Some animals are still shy and difficult to find


Wildlife & Animals

Due to extensive restocking of the reserve, Majete now has a good variety of wildlife. Elephant, black rhino, buffalo, sable, waterbuck, warthog, nyala, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, impala and zebra were all successfully reintroduced. Greater kudu, Sharpe's grysbok, suni, hippo and spotted hyena were already in the reserve and their numbers are increasing in the secure environment.

Wildlife Highlights


Majete is now a Big Five reserve – lions were the last species to be reintroduced in 2015. Four lions were flown in from 
South Africa, the first time these animals have been relocated in this way. Unfortunately, one lion died during the flight but three survived and managed to breed in Majete. The lions are relaxed, and are seen regularly.

Birds

With over 300 species recorded, Majete offers great bird watching. The reserve is home to four species of vulture and there is a big concentration of the beautiful bateleur eagle. Birding specials include boulder chat, Livingstone flycatcher, Boehm’s bee-eater, cuckoo hawk and rock pratincole. However, as with most Big Five reserves, the emphasis doesn’t tend to be on birding, so serious birders should consider booking private game drives.

Best Time to Visit

July to October of the Dry season are the best wildlife viewing months. At this time, water is scarce so the wildlife tends to gather at the remaining water sources. Keep in mind that October is very hot and not the ideal time for being in the bush.

May to October – Dry Season


Wildlife viewing is at its best
Sunshine with very little rainfall
It never gets very busy in the park
Malaria risk is minimal
High season rates apply from mid-June to mid-November
Conditions are very dry and the sky is hazy from the dust
October is unbearably hot
Mornings are cold from May to August


November to April – Wet Season


Scenery is green and fresh
It’s very quiet, the reserve has few visitors, and rates are lower
It’s the best time for bird watching
Baby animals are an attraction
Wildlife viewing is better in the Dry season
It is very hot and humid
Malaria is a bigger concern
Roads become waterlogged and a 4x4 is highly recommended


Weather & Climate

The climate in Majete is hot and there are two distinct seasons: the Dry season and the Wet season. Conditions are typically tropical – the average temperature is unchanging throughout the year, with the exception of October before the rains (when the temperature rises considerably). From May to September, in the Dry season, it gets considerably cooler.

Dry Season – May to October


The lack of rain means the bush gets drier as the season progresses, with animals congregating around the waterholes. This makes it the best time for wildlife viewing and it improves later into the season. The days are still hot but the nights are cool.


May – The rains have mostly finished but there is still plenty of water around for the animals and the bush looks lush and inviting.
June & July – The bush is noticeably drier now. The coolest months of the year with daytime averaging around 26°C/79°F. Nights get cold at 14°C/57°F, which makes for great sleeping conditions. Don’t forget warm clothing for early morning drives – it’s essential.
August & September – With no rainfall, the bush is beginning to look parched. It is warming up too, and September’s average daytime temperature is 29°C/84°F. Mornings are also warmer.
October – Daytime temperatures average around 35°C/95°F. Peak temperatures though can be much higher, and the heat can become intolerable. With temperatures around 21°C/70°F, mornings are lovely. The first rain normally falls this month, which sees a welcome drop in temperatures.


Wet Season – November to April


Afternoon showers are common during the warm Wet season and thunderstorms are often a sight to behold. The sky is clear and the bush is lush.


November – The rains usually start in November and bring much-needed relief from the oppressive conditions. It is extremely hot and humid. The average daytime temperature is 34°C/93°F. Rain mostly comes in afternoon thunderstorms, but not every day.
December, January, February & March – The wettest months bring a lot of rainfall, although rain doesn’t often last the whole day. It is around 31°C/88°F during the day, while night and early morning temperatures hit an average of 22°C/72°F.
April – A lovely month in the reserve as the rain is winding down and the countryside is lush and green.


Getting There

Accessible Majete can fit easily into any itinerary of the country.

Lilongwe International Airport (LLW), about 26km/16mi from the capital city of Lilongwe, is the most likely point of entry into Malawi. A few international flights arrive at Chileka International Airport (BLZ) which is 16km/10mi from Blantyre, and the best option for accessing Majete.

Located in the south of the country, Majete is 410km/255mi from Lilongwe and 60km/37mi from Blantyre. The drive from Lilongwe takes about 5½ hours and from Blantyre about two hours.

There are no domestic flights to Majete, but there is an airstrip for charter flights.