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Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve

Mwabvi is located in Nsanje District, at the very southern most point of Malawi, right against the border with Mozambique. With an area of 340 km² Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s smallest national park, and it’s least accessible. Nevertheless it has a wide variety of habitats, including Mopane, Combretum and brachystegia woodland, as well as open savanna, dambo, and riverine areas. Mwabvi was the last natural home to Malawi's Black Rhino population, but both wildlife and woodland have been poached over recent years. However many species of antelope, including kudu, sable, impala and nyala, are present, and even leopard and hyena have been seen. Buffalo still bathe in the Mwabvi River, and, although the number of human tourists is low, lions from neighbouring Mozambique are regular visitors. The scenery is spectacular, with views over the Shire River and the Zambesi River, and the magnificent sandstone outcrops give an almost lunar feel to the landscape.

Travel through the park is only possible on foot or with a robust 4x4, but the park is manned and walks can be arranged with the game scouts or via Chipembere Camp, the base for Project African Wilderness. However, a recent welcome development is the establishment of Project African Wilderness (PAW). This is an organisation formed to protect and restore the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve. Its aim is to work with local people and the Government of Malawi and integrate social, economic and environmental solutions to create a sustainable future for the reserve and improve local community livelihoods.

PAW is not only a conservation project - money that is raised is put into the development of projects (and infrastructure) that will benefit the local people of Mwabvi and allow them to take control of their own livelihoods through businesses and education relating to eco-tourism. Access can be restricted due to poor road conditions and a 4x4 is advisable particularly in the raining season.

Basic motel accommodation is available in the nearby town of Bangula, and it is now possible to stay at the Reserve. Chipembere Camp offers dormitory accommodation and camping just outside the Reserve and Migudu Campsite offers visitors the opportunity to camp inside the Reserve.



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