Due to years of careful management practices and wildlife reintroductions, and thanks to the partnership between African Parks and Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Majete has been stabilised and revitalised, transformed into the thriving haven for wildlife it is today, and setting a precedent for the rehabilitation of protected areas elsewhere in Malawi.
Before 2003, almost all wildlife in Majete had been eradicated, and many large trees too. After creating conservation law enforcement teams and engaging with the communities, African Parks launched a series of reintroductions – some 3,000 animals of 17 species, including black rhino in 2003, elephant in 2006, lion in 2012, giraffe in 2018, cheetah in 2019 and wild dog in 2021. In 2022, wild dog and giraffe both produced the first generation of offspring, showing the remarkable success of their reintroduction.
The Majete law enforcement team – a group of highly trained and dedicated individuals – has been instrumental in creating a secure environment and maintains the remarkable track record of not having lost a single rhino or elephant to poaching since their respective reintroductions in 2003 and 2006.
The communities around Majete number more than 140,000 people who, before 2003, received almost no benefit from the reserve. Today, however, Majete’s community engagement programmes have reduced the incidence of malaria, helped thousands of children attend school, and supported critical enterprise development, cementing the value of the reserve within the community.
A range of small businesses now further support conservation efforts, for example, through producing and selling honey and through the planting of seedlings to provide sustainable sources of firewood. Social infrastructure has been provided in the surrounding areas, such as teachers’ houses, boreholes, schools and health clinics. Six Majete Epicentres have been established – rural growth centres that provide healthcare and other services previously not available in the area.
Today, Majete is a living example of how sound management and community buy-in transforms a landscape into a mutually beneficial asset for both people and wildlife.
Majete is an incredible conservation success story – becoming one of Malawi’s premier parks with thriving animal populations and plentiful birdlife. As the African Parks model is founded upon achieving sustainability – making conservation pay for itself – Majete’s tourism offerings have also been developed. The Community Tour Guide programme offers opportunities to young adults living nearby, and inspiring passion and care for the wildlife haven that is Majete.