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Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

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A little-visited safari gem

The fact that you may never have heard of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve could be precisely the reason that you include it in your African adventure.

Centrally located in Malawi, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is a vast 1,800 square kilometres, making it one of Malawi’s largest reserves. However, it has just 3 lodges and receives a very small number of visitors each year. If tranquillity or a wilderness retreat appeals to you, then this is the perfect destination.

The reserve’s rugged scenery comprises miombo woodland covered escarpments and hillsides, broken up by gorges, large dambos with tall grasses, and even some isolated areas of rainforest. The best way to explore this wild and relatively uncharted landscape is on foot or by canoe along the Bua River; one of the few that dissects the reserve. This enhances the unique and tranquil safari experience on offer here.

Excitingly for Nkhotakota, the reserve came under the management of African Parks, an internationally renowned conservation organisation, in 2015. Shortly after, in 2016 and 2017, there followed the reintroduction of almost 2000 animals, including waterbuck, buffalo, sable, warthog, impala, kudu, eland and zebra. Of greatest note though were 500 more elephants; one of the largest elephant trans-locations in history. Due to its size and the habitat, the reserve has been designated as a hugely valuable sanctuary for elephant conservation.

Whilst you should not yet expect to find high densities of wildlife in Nkhotakota, the ambience and knowledge that you are one of the few visitors to explore this wilderness area, makes each sighting that little more special. The reserve is also a paradise for birders, with over 280 species of birds recorded, and rated as an area of special interest by Birdlife International.

Our favourite Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve camps

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