Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Located in central Malawi, below the Chipata Mountain the scenic Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is the country’s oldest and least-developed protected area. And at 1,802 km2, it is also the largest.

Nkhotakota’s rugged terrain stretches from the Great Rift Valley in the west to a few kilometres short of Lake Malawi in the east. Some of Malawi’s main rivers flow through it on their way to the lake and numerous streams and waterfalls cascade into the reserve from the edge of the escarpment.

Most of the reserve is dominated by brachystegia and miombo woodland with little open ground, while tall grasses and areas of both evergreens and rainforest are particularly characteristic of the wetter parts of the plateau.

As a true wilderness area, Nkhotakota is particularly attractive to travellers who wish to enjoy walking safaris, canoeing and fishing.

Safaris to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Until recently, Nkhotakota Reserve was difficult to access and remained largely undiscovered. Then, in October 2011, came the opening of Tongole Wilderness Lodge, the first luxury lodge in this area. Initially, visitors were able to reach the lodge via a scenic track through the park – then in January 2013, Tongole opened an airstrip, opening up the area to flight transfers.

Nkhotakota’s larger wildlife
Larger mammals in the Nkhotakota Reserve include elephant and buffalo, as well as the magnificent sable and kudu antelopes.

Flora and birdlife of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
With over 280 bird species recorded here – including giant kingfishers, black stork and palm-nut vultures– it is not surprising that Birdlife International has classified Nkhotakota as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

In 2015 African Parks took over the management of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to try and eradicate elephant poaching as well as to ensure the parks survival. Their efforts also include the translocation of 520 elephant, as well as 1,400 other game animals from the Liwonde National Park and Majete Game Reserve.

They are also involved in helping the local communities to benefit from the park which includes the erection of a perimeter fence which has helped improve the human-wildlife conflict with the villages bordering the park.
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