Malilangwe Wildlife reserve

Country: Zimbabwe (Coordinates: -21.049437, 31.871813 )
Size: 52,609 Hectares
Ecoregion: Terrestrial - Temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands
Status: VCA Bronze

The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is located in the southern corner of Zimbabwe bordering the Gonarezhou National Park. It is home to Singita Pamushana Lodge, which surrounded by reserve is managed by the Malilangwe Trust (see additional info for more details on the Trust). 

The reserve is dissected east to west by a range of rugged sandstone hills, within which over 80 ancient rock painting sites have been discovered. The Chiredzi River runs the length of the property from north to south, the perennial flows supporting some impressive riverine forest and eventually feeding into the Runde River.

The reserve is now rich in wildlife. Healthy populations of endangered black and white rhino, one of the largest populations in Zimbabwe can be found here and other predators, including lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena and wild dog, keep the abundant herbivore population in check. Of these, giraffe, zebra, impala, wildebeest, sable antelope and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest abound. The Malilangwe dam, situated below the Singita Pamushana Lodge, is home to several fish species, including the famous Tiger Fish, as well as hosting healthy populations of hippo, crocodile and water birds. During the summer months, elephant breeding herds regularly enjoy leisurely swims at the top end of the dam. The basalt flats in the south of the property offer nutritious grazing for the herbivore population, with herds of 500 buffalo not an uncommon sight in the dry season.


1. Internal actions come in a variety of forms. The reserve takes a scientific approach to conservation that is underpinned by rigorous research conducted by an on-site research department. Research is directed at understanding how the Malilangwe ecosystem works and findings are used by the wildlife department to tailor management activities that ensure the natural functioning of the key ecological processes.

The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve also focuses on Rhino conservation and anti-poaching. This conservation protection program, in conjunction with a favourable habitat, has ensured that populations of both black and white Rhino species have grown significantly over the last 18 years. The thriving population has seen an improvement of the ecology of the reserve through black rhino filling the ecological niche they held before local extinction. The programme has been so successful that Malilangwe is now in a position to send some of its black rhino to other reserves in Africa, in order to re-establish populations in areas where the species was previously poached to extinction.

The Trust has also sought to reintroduce locally extinct species and, where necessary, boost populations of existing low density species. The successful reintroduction of Lichtensteins Hartebeest at the reserve is an example of this and while not yet at the densities reported historically, the trends are highly encouraging. In total, the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve plays host to 16 critically endangered, endangered, threatened and near threatened species.

2. Conservation actions targeted are the landscape level occur through coorperation and coordination. The Gonarezhou National Park, neighbouring Malilangwe, is a core member of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), an area made up of a network of contiguous national parks, private reserves and communal lands in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

This Transfrontier conservation model is aimed at enhancing inter-state co-operation, multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration for the benefit of conservation and sustainable local development. The Malilangwe Trust plays a role in this through its participation on the GLTP steering committee, which is a body comprised of local stakeholders tasked with the furtherance of the concept. In addition, the Malilangwe Trust provides support to the GCT in the protection of the GNP, both as a form of outreach and support and as a means of proactively assisting with conservation outside of its borders.


The Malilangwe Trust believes that a holistic approach to sustainability is the best way to bring about lasting change. That’s why the Trust drives a strategic program to reduce and recycle waste, improve on all aspects of energy consumption and monitor and decrease water usage. To this end, the Trust has committed itself to achieving several goals before 2020:

  • Carbon emissions: 100% of electrical energy through Solar PV; significantly reduced fuel usage in vehicles
  • Zero waste: Recycle 100% of refuse; no plastic-bottled water; anaerobic digestion of food waste (composting); grey water used for irrigation
  • Sustainable materials: 100% sustainable cleaning materials; use of environmentally friendly chemicals where necessary; use of sustainable building materials
  • Local procurement: 90% local procurement of produce for staff canteens; maximize local procurement for lodge kitchens
  • Water management: Install water meters at 100% of facilities; implement water-saving strategies

To assist with the monitoring and measurement of success on this front, the Malilangwe Trust has joined the One Planet program.

For more info on their sustainability efforts click here