The Madikwe Game Reserve

The Madikwe Game Reserve is South Africa’s fifth-largest, and one of its most luxurious, game reserves. It is named after the Madikwe or Marico River basin on which it is found. It was opened in 1991 and comprises a rolling 750 km² of bushland north of the town of Groot-Marico up against the tranquil Botswana border. Madikwe is found 90km north of Zeerust and is a short four-hour drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria. The reserve is run by a combination of state, private sector and local community efforts, who all work together to make Madikwe a memorable African experience for any visitor.

The land Madikwe is established on is ideal for the use of a game reserve. This was found out after a comprehensive study of the area concluded that it was unfit for farming. It was decided by the South African Government that it would be better used as a national park, where everyone could enjoy the rustic and natural beauty of Madikwe. The craggy Rant van Tweedeport cut through the long, loping plains of bushveld, open woodlands and grasslands, spattered with rocky inselbergs (hills) and bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains. There are around 30 lodges on the property and six lodges found on the private farms outside the reserve, meaning there is no shortage of luxury accommodation. To fit in with the plan to economically uplift the area, Madikwe has started community lodges that are run by local villagers. The profits from this enterprise go directly to the improvement of the community.

In addition to economic responsibility, Madikwe is known as one the better conservation parks in Africa and offers a variety of game to view. The Big Five, including white and black rhino, numerous antelope species and a further 66 mammal species freely roam its grassy plains and veld. Notable animals to look out for include the Cape hunting dog, spotted wild dog, giraffe and cheetah. Springbok and Kalahari gemsbok appear regularly, testament to the reserve’s unique position next to the Kalahari Desert. This also means the climate at Madikwe is generally mild to hot, with nights being colder. Around 300 different species of birds means that bird enthusiasts are not left disappointed.

The Madike Game Reserve is divided into two main areas. The area that is north of the Molatedi Dam contains all the historically indigenous animals such as elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. The dam area is earmarked for future development where it shall be fenced separately and stocked with smaller and less dangerous animals to allow for the free movement of tourists so that they can enjoy the dam fully. Madikwe is also relatively close to the popular Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Currently, a two-year plan has been formulated between the two protected areas that will allow for a corridor to be opened up between the two reserves

Guests on the luxury Rovos Rail journey will be treated to game drives or bush walks. Once your eyes have feasted on the majesty of South African wildlife and natural beauty at Madikwe, there is exquisite accommodation available at the various private lodges within the reserve.