About Munyamadzi Game Reserve
Munyamadzi is one of four unfenced, privately-owned game reserves in the Lower Luangwa Valley – the southernmost part of the Great Rift Valley complex – in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The Reserve is 18,500 ha of mixed habitat with 20 km of riverfront on the eastern bank of the iconic Luangwa River. We share boundaries with two other unfenced reserves, community forest and the West Petauke Game Management Area.
The Reserve extends from the rocky escarpment to the valley floor, crisscrossed by seasonally flowing rivers and streams and dotted with grassy plains and various types of woodland and forest. Elevation varies from 1,200 m in the hills to 450 m next to the Luangwa River. Wildlife is concentrated around perennial water sources in the dry season – the Luangwa River and Chitope Lagoon – and spread out during the torrential downpours between December and April. With such diverse habitat the Reserve is home to the Big Four, the endemic Thornicroft giraffe, hyena, large numbers of bushbuck, kudu and impala, warthog, puku, common waterbuck, klipspringer, aardvark, serval, caracal and many more species. The birdlife is phenomenal with migratory carmine bee-eaters, the Angolan pitta and black stork passing through, Pel’s fishing owl, bat hawks, nesting southern ground hornbill, Lillian’s lovebirds, green pigeons and Narina trogons to name but a few. To learn more about the biodiversity of the Reserve, click here.
We do not conform to the common rigidity of mass tourism as we feel our approach is more sustainable and offers a much more intimate experience with nature, creating lasting memories and a sense of adventure..
We believe there are four pillars in sustainable, ethical conservation: natural resource protection, community outreach, tourism and scientific monitoring. We are privileged to be located in such an iconic, truly wild part of Zambia and recognise the responsibilities that come with this. We therefore generate income through low-volume sustainable tourism and employ our staff from nearby communities within the Luembe Chiefdom ensuring the communities benefit directly from our presence.
A short history of Munyamadzi
Munyamadzi Game Reserve was acquired by the current owners in 2008 and has been successfully managed as a wildlife conservation area since. At the beginning of the venture wildlife populations were heavily depleted, having experienced high levels of poaching and extensive bush fires from adjacent local communities.
Munyamadzi was originally 12,500 ha – acquired from the local Luembe Chiefdom – and under a 14-year lease. Due to job creation and significant investment by the company in the area, the lease was converted to title consistent with Zambian land ownership laws. In 2014 the company secured a further 6,000 ha from the same chiefdom through a 10-year lease. This leased land – called Chitope after the lagoon it includes – doubles the river frontage on the Luangwa to approximately 20 km and increases the overall biodiversity of the Reserve.
Wildlife populations have since increased, thanks to appropriate anti-poaching and fire management policies, and the vegetation is recovering from the onslaught of improper fire use. The buffalo population has grown from approximately 40 individuals to over 200 in 2017 (note this is an estimate);. Sightings of puku, impala and kudu have increased exponentially and we estimate populations have at least doubled. There are two identified lion prides that include Munyamadzi in their territories as well as two nomadic male coalitions. Wild dog packs of up to 18 have been sighted - a sure sign of conservation success through prey base protection and safety provided by anti-poaching patrols. Aardvark, serval and caracal are frequently caught on camera traps and groups of up to 16 Thornicroft giraffe are seen regularly. Roan are seen in large groups, the average being 8 individuals, and sable and zebra have been reintroduced by a neighbouring reserve.
Due to the history of the Reserve, the wildlife is shy and skittish around humans - on foot, bicycle or in a vehicle - but this improves with every year of continued anti-poaching and exposure to tourists.