Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve

Entrance Fee

International Visitors USD10
International Residents USD7
Malawians USD1
Accompanied Children under 12 Free
Private Vehicles USD3 to USD15 (depending on weight)

Entrance gate: early-18.00 daily

About Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is located in Nsanje, and is the country’s smallest wildlife reserve.

The reserve was founded in 1928 as Thangadzi Game Reserve, set aside to protect an isolated population of nyala antelope.

It was expanded in 1953 and renamed after the Mwabvi River.

The borders of Mwabvi were further extended in 1975 and it now covers 340km² of rugged wilderness.

Project African Wilderness (PAW) signed a management agreement with the Malawi Government’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife to take over the conservation and development of the park in February 2007.

The reserve is so remote and only accessible on foot or with 4×4 vehicles and will disappoint anybody seeking a pure game-viewing experience but it is highly recommended to keen walkers as an opportunity to explore an untrammelled wilderness area that still supports a decent quota of wildlife.

The scenery is spectacular with views of the Shire River and the Zambezi River and the magnificent sandstone outcrops that allow 360 degree views over the Mopani woodlands which give an almost lunar feel to the landscape. Guided walks are in fact the only activity on offer.

Several types of accommodation are available and it is now possible to stay at the Reserve.

Chipembere Camp offers dormitory accommodation and camping just outside the Reserve.

Migudu Campsite offers visitors the opportunity to camp inside the Reserve.

Opened in 2010, Njati Lodge provides double or twin room en suite chalets in a small lodge sitting close to the Mwabvi River Gorge.


The reserve was once an important stronghold for black rhinos, with an estimated population of 17 in 1959 and 15-30 in the mid-1970s but they have not been seen in the reserve for more than two decades owing to the increase in poaching.

Once regarded as ‘empty’ of game, new roads have opened up and game drives or treks arranged by local reserve authorities have yielded sightings of sable, kudu, impala and other antelope as well as a variety of birdlife.

There are also over 350 species of bird, including Rudd’s apalis, Woodward’s batis and grey sunbird, making it a paradise for avid birdwatchers.

Buffalo still bathe in the Mwabvi River as well as lion, hyena and leopard which are still resident or occasional visitors from across the border.