Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Why Visit Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

  • Experience a pioneering conservation project, managed by African Parks
  • Hike through the park’s vast swathes of beautiful miombo woodland
  • Visit waterfalls and canoe on the swirling Bua River
  • Stay at the stunning Tongole Wilderness Lodge

A Little More About Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

The Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve sits on the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Hilly and covered in dense miombo woodland, this beautiful park is bisected by two permanent rivers that flow into Lake Malawi. The tree-covered hills are dotted with occasional grassy openings and seasonal river gullies, whilst the south-west of the park is dominated by Chipata Mountain – a peak home to Afromontane forest and blue monkeys.

In spite of this beautiful landscape, for many years, the park was left almost unprotected and vulnerable to poachers. Once home to large populations of lions and elephants, Nkhotakota was almost devoid of large mammals by the turn of the millennium. Recently, however, things have begun to change, with the reintroduction of key species.


African Parks took over management of the reserve in 2015, ending decades of non-existent law enforcement and rampant poaching. Quickly, they restored the park’s infrastructure and started to protect its boundaries, paving the way for the recovery of its wildlife. In 2016, one of the greatest animal translocations of modern times began.

During 2016 and 2017, more than 500 elephants and 1,200 other large herbivores, including various antelope species, were translocated to the park. This huge project marked a key milestone in Nkhotakota’s road to recovery, increasing the elephant population tenfold in just over a year and transforming the ecosystem.

Despite this incredible success, Nkhotakota still faces huge long-term challenges. New road networks need to be created, fencing needs to be completed and the animals need to adjust to the environment. Therefore, presently, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve offers a beautiful wilderness experience and a unique conservation story, but it is yet to become a safari destination.

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