Category Archives: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Getting to know Malilangwe

March 28, 2011 - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation,Wildlife

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, home to Singita Pamushana Lodge, presents a unique sanctuary for wildlife conservation in Africa.  The reserve’s core objective is to provide a naturally functioning ecosystem, where the full spectrum of wild species native to the area are protected, and where these species can live as they have for thousands of years.

Located adjacent to the Gonarezhou National Park in the south-eastern corner of Zimbabwe, Malilangwe occupies an area of 400 km2 of geologically and floristically diverse habitats. In all, 38 distinct plant communities are identified and early government prospectors described the area as ‘very wild broken country.

The rugged but breathtakingly beautiful sandstone hills, with their deep secret ravines and plateaus, likely earned the area this reputation. Weathered grey, sometimes cracked and sometimes smooth, they are adorned with lime, grey and orange lichen. White fig tree roots strangle then split the rock to reveal a myriad of sunset colours. These bewitching hills straddle the property and provide a refuge for mountain acacia and iron wood trees. Under their shade klipspringer and hyraxes hide themselves; wild dogs den and Black Eagles soar.  The hills are studded with fairytale springs and seeps which are favoured watering holes for black rhino, swimming pools for elephants and mud wallows for ‘dagga boys’ – the ill-tempered old buffalo bulls who have left the herd.  Numerous San rock art paintings, dating back to the Late Stone Age (more than 2000 years ago), bear witness to the historic diversity of animals that occupied this area, and whose descendents still roam free.

In the heart of the hills lies the Malilangwe lake, reputed in Zimbabwe for the excellent fishing opportunities it affords. The lake is also home to hippos and crocodiles, and an array of water birds. Few sites could offer a more spectacular fishing spot or sun-downer cruise.

To the south of the hills the soils are dark and rich – derived from basalt rock of the Jurassic period. In this semi-arid savanna, herds of plains species such as impala, zebra and wildebeest graze, and giraffe can be seen browsing Acacia trees. Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and sable also favour this area, but are more elusive. Woven through the mopane and Acacia trees are stream-like depressions that function as ‘vleis’ (open moist grasslands). These provide food for bulk grazers like white rhino and the herds of more than 500 buffalo.

North of the hills is black rhino and wild dog country. This densely wooded area makes game viewing difficult but extremely rewarding. Amongst the Grewia scrub grow giant baobab trees. Hollows in their gnarled branches trap water and their silvery limbs are home to Buffalo Weavers and honey bees. By-gone hunters used climbing pegs to scale the massive stems in search of honey and water. In some trees these climbing pegs are still evident while in others only swirling scars remain.

The Chiredzi River, a perennial source of water, forms the western boundary of Malilangwe. On it’s sandy banks grow tall ebony and sausage trees. They camouflage the rare and mysterious Pel’s Fishing Owl, and in the tangled ‘wait-a-bit’ undergrowth shy nyala feed, bushbuck bark and francolin call. Lions, leopards and hyenas traverse the entire property, and are often heard calling at night.

As a result of a healthy, functioning ecosystem, game has thrived at Malilangwe.  Population growth has soared to such an extent that Malilangwe has been able to restock other wildlife areas in Zimbabwe. Of particular pride are the black and white rhino populations which have grown so well over the past 10 years that Malilangwe is now able to restock other parts of Africa with these remarkable, endangered species.

Article contribution by Sarah Clegg, BSc, MSc – Consulting Ecologist at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve for the past 15 years.

To view the Malilangwe wildlife in their natural habitat, follow Kim Wolhuter’s extraordinary video footage published regularly on Singita’s Facebook page.  Kim is an internationally acclaimed, documentary film-maker residing on the Malilangwe Reserve recording footage for upcoming documentary projects.

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Funding a life source

January 28, 2011 - Community Development,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Did you know that when guests stay at Singita Pamushana all proceeds are used to fund various projects managed by the reserve’s Malilangwe Trust? A key, joint project that the Malilangwe Trust has embarked upon is to establish irrigation schemes so that nearby villagers and their livestock have a clean supply of water and are able grow their own vegetables. Women and children tend the crops – channeling water into the fields (thanks to a borehole that has been sunk), and keep up with weeding and removing pests.  When you are next at Singita Pamushana, pay them a visit and they’ll proudly show you the crops – onions, cabbage and other leafy greens are in season right now, and you’re bound to be treated to an emotive impromptu choir performance!

Approximately 10,000 people located around the Malilangwe Reserve are now assisted daily through the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water.

For further information on this project please liaise with our Singita Pamushana Lodge Manager or with Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson – please contact us.

By Jenny Hishin

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Empowering communities to be the change

July 06, 2010 - Community Development,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana is situated in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve operates the Malilangwe Trust, much like the Singita Grumeti Reserves operates the Grumeti Fund. This trust is actively involved in uplifting, among other things, the surrounding communities.

The Malilangwe Trust’s approach to community upliftment is one of community empowerment. In all their initiatives the affected community is responsible for 70% of the project and the Malilangwe Trust is responsible for the remaining 30%.

This forward thinking community ownership approach has been a vital aspect in the long-term success of the Trust community focused programmes. The other vital element, in the long-term success of the various initiatives, has been the involvement of government.

In the school, clinic and irrigation garden projects the Trust has supplied the infrastructure leaving room for government to supply the staff, medication, training, books and other necessary supplies.

This approach – the partnership between the Malilangwe Trust and the communities – and the involvement of government has resulted in effective, sustainable and far-reaching upliftment.

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Cooling off in the shade – what you didn’t know about the Fever tree

June 16, 2010 - Did You Know?,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

The Fever tree is completely harmless but they have the early pioneers to blame for their ominous sounding name.

Image courtesy of shortshot (http://www.flickr.com/photos/shortshot/354990089/)

The pioneers believed that Fever trees were the cause of malaria outbreaks. It was eventually proved that Fever trees had absolutely nothing to do with malaria. The only thing the wrongfully accused Fever trees share with the real malaria culprits, the female Anopheles mosquitoes, is a love of swampy areas.

Nevertheless the story goes that locals would lie down in the shade of the tree to escape the burning sun. Invariably, they would fall asleep and would wake up covered in mosquito bites which would often lead to the onset of malaria.

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Finding your way to one of Africa’s best kept secrets

June 11, 2010 - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana Lodge is an easy and relatively short flight from Johannesburg.

The Monday and Thursday weekly flights are scheduled to depart at 13h40 from OR Tambo International Airport to Buffalo Range International Airport, Zimbabwe, where you’re met by a Singita representative. From Buffalo Range Ridge Airport you are transported by road to Singita Pamushana Lodge.

The best part of the trip, (obviously we’re talking about the best part of the trip before you arrive at Singita Pamushana Lodge), has to be standing on the runway waiting to board the flight to Zimbabwe. As you wait you’ll have the opportunity watch a series of international flights prepare for takeoff, just 100 metres from where you’re standing, while you nonchalantly sip on your ice-cold beverage and pretend this is all completely normal.

It’s the most informal and charming airport experience you’re ever likely to experience; and it all takes place on the runway of South Africa’s largest International Airport … incredible!

Insider tips:

When flying with a smaller airline, checking in can be quite confusing. To help make sure you’re 100% in the-know we’ve included the following tips:

  • If you’re flying on the Federal Air scheduled flight check-in is at International Departures, Terminal A, at counter 84.
  • Unless you’ve been instructed otherwise, check-in will always be at counter 84, Terminal A.
  • In all likelihood, counter 84 will display another airline’s signage. Ignore this. Federal Air shares the check-in counter with other airlines and is only allowed access to the check-in desk an hour before the flight is scheduled to leave.

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