Madikwe is best visited as part of a tailor-made fly-in safari, positioned in the far reaches of the North West province, nestled next to Botswana around 4-5 hours drive north of Johannesburg. This remote wilderness comprises classic bushveld – some 75,000 hectares (750 km square) of it and in our opinion is the best malaria free game reserve to see the Big Five amidst the vast African wilderness. The land where Madikwe now stands was previously used as farming land, in a similar way to the land which now forms the Eastern Cape game reserves. The poor soil meant that farming was mostly unsuccessful and the South African government then decided that it would best be used as a national park to help economically uplift the disadvantaged area. In 1991 the area was declared a reserve and 10 000 mammals were relocated from other National Parks. The park is now home to approximately 66 large species of mammals and roughly 300 bird species. You will find all this flora and fauna in an area comprised of vast open plains of grasslands, woodlands, rocky outcrops and single mountains enclosed by a 150km electrified fence. Although fenced, the reserve is absolutely vast, especially if you compare its size to the Eastern Cape reserves, for instance Shamwari which is 250km square. Madikwe is South Africa's fifth largest game reserve.
March to November is the ideal time to safari here as the other months can get very hot . Madikwe has around 15-20 safari camps and lodges varying in style and luxury. We love Jaci’s Lodge while Makanyane is great for honeymooners or couples after a romantic bolthole. Tuningi is another great option as is the more simple Thakadu River Lodge , offering an all-round excellent experience and good value too. There are also lovely Safari Houses perfect for friends travelling together or families - we offer the 3/4 star Madikwe Bush House and the three 5 star Morukuru Family safari houses.
Madikwe not only has all the Big Five (Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino) but is known for its healthy wild dog population. Wild dogs were re-introduced in 1994 and there are now 3 packs roaming the reserve. Black and white rhino can be seen, and more than 350 species of migrant birds. The negative? Probably only the remote nature of the reserve – you really need to fly-in. A Madikwe safari combines wonderfully with a stay in the Cape, or a beach break in Mauritius.