Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve
Executive Director, The Malilangwe Trust
Mark grew up in the lowveld of Zimbabwe, spending much of his free time on this property, formerly known as Lone Star Ranch. He was educated at Falcon College and Rhodes University (B.Soc. Science) followed by a Diploma in Tobacco culture from the Blackfordby Institute. He then farmed tobacco for 10 years before investing in the retail business. Mark has been in the position of Executive Director of the Malilangwe Trust since 2010 and is totally motivated by the twin mandate of Conservation and Community at Malilangwe.
Malilangwe meaning “Call of the Leopard”, is a 100,000 acre private reserve containing Africa’s big “Five” (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo). It is a non-profit trust taking great care to include the local communities in its running and development. It is a source of livelihood for all the people who live in the region, who also benefit from improved healthcare and education.
The reserve has diverse lowveld ecologies full of animals big and small, but the philosophy here is not to rush around ticking off the number of species. It is rather to take your time and enjoy every wildlife encounter. There are only two safari lodges in the reserve, both specializing in allowing time to chill out and listen to the sights and sounds of the bush.
Pamushana lodge has been rated by one US safari expert as being “one of the best in Africa.” Malilangwe has escaped most of the wildlife poaching which has occurred as a result of Zimbabwe’s recent political and social upheaval, and hopes to maintain its success. The Malilangwe management team is top-notch with a motivated and highly disciplined ranger force.
Wildlife Breeding and Research Center (WBRC), Malilangwe Trust
Established in 2006, the WBRC was designed to hold wild animals for research and breeding purposes. The bomas have been constructed close to Hakamela Camp where the CPRWA Course is held. The goal is to bring in quality wild animal stock from Malilangwe and surrounding wildlife areas, hold them in the facility for a period, manage and breed and then release them back into the wild. Species that have been held at the WBRC include buffalo, eland, sable antelope, kudu and roan antelope. Approximately 200 +/- animals pass through the facility per year. This Center provides excellent opportunities for students to work with wild animals in a boma, immobilise them, carry out procedures, collect biological samples and then release them back into a boma or the wild. Malilangwe Trust often plan management operations within the WBRC during the CPRWA course (please see Course Program). Immobilization of individual donkeys also takes place at the WBRC, please see course program.
The WBRC is currently managed by Minke Smithwright who has been at the WBRC for 30 months. Minke has a background in the equine industry having worked in and managed equine stud facilities. Her expertise is put to good use managing and implementing high quality animal husbandry practices.