Thuma Forest Reserve in Salima, Malawi
About Thuma Forest Reserve
Declared a forest reserve in 1926, Thuma Forest Reserve covers an area of 197km² on the steep slopes of the Great Rift Valley near Lake Malawi, about 80km from Lilongwe.
Thuma is one of the few forest reserves in Malawi that is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephant and antelope.
The altitude of Thuma Forest Reserve varies from 575m above sea level to 1564m on Thuma Mountain.
It is characterized by low-elevation mixed forest areas with miombo forest cover in the upper levels and bamboo patches in the lower levels.
An NGO known as Wildlife Action Group (WAG) has been working with local communities since 1996 on anti-poaching and conservation activities in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry to protect the flora and fauna of Thuma Forest Reserve and restore the ecological balance.
In the past, Thuma was threatened by deforestation due to illegal logging of firewood, charcoal and timber which caused severe degradation of wildlife habitats.
As a result of WAG’s excellent work, poaching in the Thuma Forest Reserve has been greatly reduced and wildlife numbers have increased.
Elephants that had left Thuma due to heavy poaching have returned, and buffaloes that used to be in small groups of three or four now form herds of 30.
Other species you can see at Thuma Forest Reserve include greater kudu, bushbuck, Sharpe’s grysbok, common duiker, klipspringer, baboon, velvet monkey, bushbaby, leopard, spotted hyena, genet, African civet, honey badger, warthog, bush pig, porcupine and more.
Today, Thuma Forest Reserve is regaining its beauty and is one of Malawi’s best protected forest reserves.