Tag Archives: Malilangwe Reserve

Not Your Average Sunset Cruise

November 06, 2015 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

The Malilangwe Dam is a shimmering expanse of water that stretches out below Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe, giving guests an incredible view over the water to the sandstone hills beyond. It is an iconic part of the 130,000 acre reserve and home to a number of amazing animals and birds.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

One of the best ways to appreciate the dam and its wildlife is on a sunset cruise, which allows guests to get a closer look at this important ecosystem and enjoy an evening out on the water. Once the boat has cast off and refreshments are served, the only sound is of the water lapping against the hull and the chatter of the local birdlife. Drifting along the surface of the dam, field guide Tengwe Siabwanda says that guests will often spot hippos floating languidly nearby, popping below the water, wiggling their ears and making a distinctive grunting noise to communicate.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

Cruising further down the dam, guests are also likely to see crocodiles grabbing the last few minutes of sun on the sandbanks, baboons cavorting on the rocks and, if they are lucky, a majestic herd of elephants coming down to drink at the water’s edge. The haunting call of the fish eagle is a special treat, and a real highlight for bird lovers, as they wheel silently overhead in search of their next snack. The dam boasts excellent game fishing throughout the year including tiger fish, bass, bream (tilapia), and catfish, and it’s a favourite activity that Tengwe likes to enjoy with guests.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

As the sun starts to dip below the horizon, casting golden light upon the densely wooded hills, Singita Pamushana Lodge begins to glow as it is studded with flickering lanterns. The boat swings back towards the lodge as shadows start to creep into the deep cracks and ravines in the rock, and it’s easy to see why early government prospectors described the area as “wild, broken country”. Guests disembark and amble back towards the lodge for dinner, ending off another unique and memorable day in this extraordinary wilderness area.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana Lodge is the ecotourism arm of the not-for-profit Malilangwe Trust, and all proceeds from the lodge benefit numerous conservation, local outreach and development programmes in the area. These initiatives embody Singita’s core principles, and have met with great success. Each guest who visits Singita Pamushana makes a positive impact to this incredibly beautiful land and dynamic community.

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16 Years Hosting Veterinarians Wildlife Course

March 10, 2015 - General

Singita Pamushana Lodge located on the 130,000-acre Malilangwe Reserve, partners with the Malilangwe Trust, every year to co-host an internationally renowned course on Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife.  The course originated in Zimbabwe more than 30 years ago when the Government Veterinary Service (GVS) was asked to assist in the training of National Parks personnel in safe wild animal capture.

Vets course

It is the culmination of ideas, knowledge, and experience gained over the last three decades and is designed to benefit both the wildlife industry in southern Africa as well as other professionals from around the world working with captive or free-ranging wild animals. This is the 16th year the 10-day course has taken place and this year included students from 17 different countries.  The objective is to educate wildlife health and management professionals in the science and art of wildlife capture. These skills can be of huge benefit in the preservation of wildlife populations all over the world.

Whether it be a rhino in Africa or a snow leopard in Asia, threatened or endangered species cannot be effectively managed without the occasional intervention. This can be for health reasons, the fitting and removal of GPS tracking technology, or even relocation into areas where numbers are low or a species has disappeared altogether. The course teaches the relevant wild animal capture skills to achieve all these.


Participants obtain a wealth of both theoretical and hands-on practical experience unavailable on equivalent courses. The field aspects are conducted in a wild and free-roaming environment, so safety is paramount.  A key feature is the wide range of local, regional and international lecturers and wildlife managers that assist in teaching both theoretical and field aspects of safe wildlife capture. All are leaders in their individual fields and include veterinarians and pathologists, managers and researchers, game capturers and helicopter pilots.

The course integrates a variety of topics including legislation, theoretical and applied pharmacology, theoretical and applied physiology, stress and capture-related conditions, safety and first aid in the field, use of helicopters, ethical principles, chemical immobilisation and species requirements, drug injecting equipment, dart projectors, ancillary treatments in wildlife capture, transport of wild animals and post-mortem techniques.


The CPRWA course is run by the Zimbabwe Wildlife Veterinary Trust and Wildlife Capture Africa headed by Dr. Chap Masterson in conjunction with the Malilangwe Trust (www.wildlifecaptureafrica.com).

Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers. Richard has written for the Daily Telegraph (UK) for more then 20 years and met Sarah while presenting documentaries for the Discovery Channel which were produced by Sarah. Prior to working with Singita, the couple spent 18 months in Africa writing and filming the multi-media Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph. The column includes reports on safaris, wildlife conservation and community stories from all over southern and eastern Africa.

Richard and Sarah Madden resized


This film was mostly shot on a Leica V-Lux (www.leica-camera.com). For invaluable additional footage, huge thanks to Josh Mostert, Wildlife Capture Africa.

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Wonderful and Rare Sighting

October 10, 2011 - Safari,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

A wonderful sighting this morning (Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe) of a relaxed mother leopard and her two tiny cubs.  Hours were spent watching their intimate rituals of nursing, bathing and playing – Jenny Hishin.

For more photographs of this remarkable sighting, take a look at Singita’s Facebook page.

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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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