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4 NOV 2013


Welcome to the Majete Newsletter

3rd Quarter, July - September 2013


Unexpected Rainfall - In an area which is known for being the hottest and driest in Malawi, Majete experienced early rains twice during this period. On 30 September, 39mm was recorded and the reserve is now green and flourishing which is wonderful especially for Majete's wildlife.


Waterhole Counts - Earthwatch, who are financially supporting the Majete research programme, have sent five groups of volunteers from around the world to assist in research on impala, waterbuck and buffalo. Part of the research involves conducting waterhole transect counts and setting up camera traps to photograph wildlife.


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Buffalo sampling - On 4 and 5 September, the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development (DAHLD) and the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) took part in capturing buffalo together with Majete staff. This was done in order to conduct blood sampling for foot and mouth disease. 22 buffalo were sampled using a helicopter in the Pende, Phiri Ngome and Nsepete areas. The sampling is part of a SADC FMD survey to test and check buffalo for foot and mouth disease in protected areas.


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Two new rhino calves are born - The Majete rhino monitoring team has been taking inventory of rhinos focusing on photographing all of the Majete rhinos in order to update and complete the photographic records. The rhino inventory was completed with 90 rhino tracking patrols. All the rhinos were accounted for. Shamwari and Reagan both had calves in July 2013 and all individuals appear to be in good health.


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Majete's first lion cubs! - The Majete lions are in good health and were sighted throughout this period remaining mostly in the north west of the old sanctuary area. Special lion spotting activities were organised for World Lion Day on Saturday, 10 August. Thirty-five guests were taken on game drives using telemetry to track the lions and in the afternoon, guests saw the two males Sapitwa and Chimwala near the main road. Shire, the female lion remained mostly apart from the males and has been elusive and protective over her cub. Shire was then sighted twice by staff at the Robin Pope Mkulumadzi Lodge with two cubs taking everyone by surprise. However, it remains a challenge to get a clear photograph of both of the cubs.


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Leopard recapture - Dr Quintin Martins from the Cape Leopard Trust in South Africa arrived on 21 September and removed the collars of some of the leopards, since the batteries were no longer working and not picking up satellite signals. Three leopard collars (Lady Anna, Africom 1 and Africom 2) were removed. Lady Anna was lactating, indicating that she is nursing cubs and Africom 2 (a female) was sighted on a kill with another leopard assumed to be her sub-adult offspring. One hyena was captured as a by-product of the exercise and collared with a VHF transmitter.



New family cottage under construction - Majete is building a new family cottage which will have two en-suite bedrooms and a main lounge area. The cottage is situated at Thawale Lodge and will be part of this facility. Unlike the tented chalets, the cottage is a thatched roof building.  Construction started in August 2013. It is estimated to be completed in December 2013.


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Majete Airstrip - The Majete airstrip has been well used during the peak tourist season for transfers of visitors to and from the reserve especially to the luxury Mkulumadzi Lodge run by Robin Pope Safaris.  Bush and Lake Aviation have used the landing strip four times to bring guests to Mkulumadzi lodge from Mangochi and Mfuwe.


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Thawale special and visitor numbers - Tourism numbers and revenue have been steadily increasing during this period with 2,980 guests visiting Majete. This was largely due to increased occupancy at Thawale Lodge, large numbers of local visitors having braais at the campsite and improved marketing and services offered by the tourism team. Thawale Lodge ran a week day special and new leaflets, adverts and packages were sent to tour operators both in Malawi and internationally.


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"My husband and I spent 3 glorious days at Thawale as part of a 4 week visit to Malawi and Zambia and this was definitely one of our highlights. The staff were amazing and the setting wonderful, we even had a visit from a leopard on our first evening, just poking his head over the restaurant wall! We were upgraded to the honeymoon suite, which was rather special as it was our 40 wedding anniversary and so soaking in a hot bath with a cold G & T watching buffalo at the watering pool couldn't be bettered. Vasco was a terrific guide and we really enjoyed our game drives. An added bonus was meeting some delightful people, with whom we shared supper. A fantastic experience which we hope to repeat." - Audrey and Rick Squires, United Kingdom


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Majete 10 year Anniversary Celebrations - A 10 year celebration was held at Majete Wildlife Reserve on Saturday, 28 September, to highlight the amazing work achieved by African Parks Majete since taking over the management of the reserve in 2003. The celebration was attended by the Malawi Minster of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Hon Rachael Mazombwe-Zulu and other government officials including the Director of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Mr Brighton Kumchedwa, Paramount Chief Lundu, MP's, board members, donors and local chiefs.  A number of dignitaries were treated to aerial views of the Reserve as they were taken by helicopter while others took part in game drives. The celebration also included a parade by the Majete law enforcement officers, poems by local school children, traditional Nyau dances and music by local women from the surrounding communities and the Namajete Band. A presentation also highlighted the successes African Parks has achieved including restocking the reserve with the BIG 5 - (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and generating $228,000 revenue and 5,934 visitors in 2012.


Law Enforcement

Fence patrols intensified due to vandalism and one km of wire was stolen.  A reward was offered for information leading to arrest of culprit. Other suspects were warned and released when found collecting firewood illegally. Two gin traps and six wire snares were also removed from the reserve.


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Community Extension

Malawi Hunger Project Epicentre opened - The president of Malawi Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda inaugurated the Majete Epicentre 1 on 7 August in the North West in Chapananga District. The centre was built in partnership with Hunger Project Malawi (THP). The centre which was funded by the African Villages Foundation (AVF) has a maternity wing, recreation hall, food bank, food processing unit, community bank and a nursery school. The establishment of the Epicentre demonstrates Majete's achievement in building a constituency for conservation through partnerships.


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Resource utilisation programme - The Resource Utilization Programme (RUP) started in the first week of July. In August 4,288 people from Madziatentha, Mphemba and Namitsempha CBOs collected 10,842 bundles of thatch grass. The value of the grass is estimated at USD 6819. Since then 11,756 persons have benefited from collecting bundles of grass inside the reserve.


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In honour of the work and support African Parks Majete received from Mr Leonard Sefu, the former Director of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW,) a road was named after him and an official opening ceremony took place within the reserve on 18 July.

The new field operations manager, Craig Hay officially started at Majete at the beginning of August replacing Dorian Tilbury. Craig has worked as field operations manager in Liuwa another African Parks project in Zambia.



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Contact Us

For more information and bookings for African Parks Majete and Thawale Lodge, Community Campsite or Day Visitor Centre and Mwembezi Restaurant, contact:

Tel +265 (0)999 521741
Email: Thawale@african-parks.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MajetewildlifeReserve
Website: www.african-parks.org

For bookings for the Robin Pope Safaris Mkulumadzi Lodge, contact:

Tel: +265 (0) 179 4491 / 5483
Email: info@Mkulumadzi.com or info@robinpopesafaris.net
Skype: robinpopesafaris


  • Next Majete Newsletter out on 01/1/2014
  • Special Christmas Menu
  • New boat with eight seats to be launched
  • The family cottage to be completed


Shelly Preece
Tourism Marketing Manager
Majete Wildlife Reserve - Malawi


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Ms Shelley Preece