Nestled beneath the Chipata Mountain, a vast network of rivers weave their way through wooded hills, nourishing the dense miombo forests that make up Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The 1,800 km² landscape stretches from the Great Rift Valley to within a few kilometres of Lake Malawi shore. Nkhotakota once had more than 1,500 elephants, but due to poaching fewer than 100 remained when we assumed management of the reserve in August 2015.


In July and August 2016 and 2017, 500 elephants are being moved from Liwonde and Majete as part of an historic translocation project to restore biodiversity levels. This includes the construction of a perimeter fence, stringent law enforcement and resources for scouts to ensure the protection of Nkhotakota’s wildlife.


Sadly, with its surrounding communities being among the poorest in Malawi, Nkhotakota has felt the devastation of poverty. Decades of poaching and timber harvesting depleted many key mammal species and degraded their natural habitat. African Parks has begun working with local communities to address areas of need and promote sustainable livelihoods.



  • A 19,000 ha sanctuary has been fenced to allow for the safe reintroduction of species.

  • 261 elephants moved from Liwonde to Nkhotakota in 2016 as part of 500 Elephants – the historic elephant translocation taking place in Malawi.

  • Vehicles, roads and radios have all been upgraded to improve park management.

  • Law Enforcement and Community teams have collected hundreds of wire traps, filled in pit traps and confiscated illegal fire arms.

On The Horizon


2017 will see a further 250 elephants translocated from Majete and Liwonde. We also hope to foster close relationship with local communities in order to provide tangible benefits from the reserve and complete the construction of the reserve’s perimeter fence in 2018.