The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is an 8,850-hectare private reserve bordering the Gonarezhou National Park in the south-east corner of Zimbabwe. The reserve is funded by the Malilangwe Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that was founded by the donations of concerned conservationists in 1994. All of the revenues from tourism are channelled back into the reserve to further the conservation, research and ecotourism efforts, and to provide a source of livelihood and development for the surrounding communities.
This positive and proactive approach to conservation has meant that the reserve has never had to recover from the devastating effects of poaching and mismanagement that damaged other parks in Zimbabwe during the late 1990s and 2000s. Guests will therefore find an extremely wildlife-rich area that features not only the Big Five but other rarer species such as aardvarks, caracals, roan antelope, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and endangered black rhinos. Malilangwe is also a haven for birdlife with more than 400 species, including 14 types of eagle, 11 hawks and nine different owls. Unlike the majority of mammals that reside here year round, birds leave on their annual migrations only to return from as far away as Asia. February sees huge colonies of tiny queleas that come to nest here in their thousands, June brings purple rollers from Mozambique and in November woodland kingfishers migrate in from west Africa.
A place of historical interest, Malilangwe’s sandstone hills are home to several collections of San Bushmen rock art dating back more than 2,000 years. Some of these caves are still used today as dens by the reserve’s wild dog population.