The Malilangwe Trust

Project LocationMalilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe
Project TypeWildlife and habitat conservation, Endangered species protection, Environmental education

The Malilangwe Trust


The Malilangwe Trust is a Zimbabwean non-profit organisation that focuses on harmonising conservation activities, community development outreach programmes, and commercial tourism.


Malilangwe's primary objects are to restore and maintain wildlife populations and ecosystems; to make a material and lasting contribution to the development of the Zimbabwean Lowveld economy; to have a significant impact on raising awareness about the importance and value of the country's wildlife, natural recourses, and culture; and to promote sustainable activity throughout the region.


The Malilangwe Trust operates a number of projects within its conservation strategy including:

Wildlife Management
Malilangwe operate a three-pronged approach to wildlife management in the reserve - aerial surveys to collect population date; fire burning management to ensure regrowth and to prevent accidental or arson fires; and a well trained, equipped, and organised scout force that provide anti-poaching security and who, during their daily patrols, collect data on the distribution, population structure and general health of the wildlife.

Malilangwe Bomas
The Boma programme aims to intensively breed selected game species using genetically superior breeding stock and then free release the progeny back in to the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.  The species for breeding are selected on the basis of whether they are susceptible to bovine tuberculosis and anthrax.

Malilangwe Rhino Management
As a part of a greater introduction programme, white rhinos were imported from KwaZulu-Natal to augment the existing population of nine.  In addition, a founding population of black rhinos were also introduced.
A system of ear-notches is used to uniquely identify all the rhinos, which are closely monitored by the Trust's scout force. 
The rhino programme has been very successful, with numbers of both species growing substantially from their initial founders.

San Rock Art/Archaeological Heritage Site
Malilangwe has 82 known rock art sites, dating back from 700-2000 years old, which are protected within the reserve. The art found at the sites can be divided into three categories - Iron Age finger painted motifs, blown or finger dot creations, and pictures painted by the San people.  The San paintings are located in an extensive range of sandstone hills in Malilangwe.

To achieve a scientific basis for management Malilangwe conducts and funds research at several levels.  Post-graduate research projects are carried out by fully funded Zimbabwean university students, with the purpose of examining specific ecological issues; and on-going biological monitoring is also conducted by the research department throughout the year. 

Veterinary Dangerous Drugs Course
This training course has been hosted on an annual basis at Malilangwe since 2000.  Professional veterinarians, wildlife managers and researches from around the globe gather at the reserve to discuss, improve, develop, and teach wildlife capture techniques.  The best practice methods that result in the least stress for animals have been published in a comprehensive course manual.  The training programme has become international recognised as one of the best of its kind and places on the course have to be booked well in advance by students.

The Malilangwe Herbarium
Malilangwe has its own small herbarium, which doubles as a map room, that was in initiated in 2004 to help research students and technicians identify the many species of herbaceous plants found on the reserve. A team of technicians from the National Herbarium have visited Malilangwe to conduct a two-day training course on specimen collection and preparation, as well as herbarium management. To date the herbarium contains over 300 herb specimens from over 40 families.

Sustainability Programme
The Malilangwe Recycling Program is part of a more extensive project aimed at minimizing their environmental footprint. The recycling program is fully functioning at Malilangwe - all household, lodge, and workplace refuse is divided into waste types and transported and disposed of in the appropriate method, either being sold onto a recycling facility, turned into compost, bio-digested, or incinerated.

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