A Transformed Wilderness
Madikwe may be one of the lesser known wildlife reserves in South Africa, but it’s one of the most pristine and picturesque parks in the country. The reserve shares its borders with Botswana and is the 5th largest reserve in Southern Africa, located in its malaria-free North-West Province. The reserve is home to over 300 bird species and 66 different mammals, including the African wild dog and the Big-Five. The reserve is also one of the only models of community-based wildlife conservation, ensuring that local communities get involved with the natural world. The land is managed and funded in a way that benefits both the local people and the nature that inhabits the park.
There are many lodges that offer a wide range of safari activities including the authentic 4x4 safari and guided bush walks. Scroll down to the end for a list of our favorite lodges…
This hidden wildlife gem hasn’t always been a pristine wilderness reserve. Originally cultivated farming land, the once abundant soil became depleted and unusable, thus the government decided to transform it into a protected park. In 1991, a colossal game relocation took place and over 10,000 animals were moved from different parts of the country into Madikwe.
This now 750km2 park is now home to the iconic Big-Five and the rare African wild dog, where 3 large packs now thrive in the reserve. Other mammals found in Madikwe include; aardwolf, honey badger, giraffe, brown and spotted hyena, aardvark, black rhino, caracal, cheetah, civet, eland, bat-eared fox, zebra sable and much more.
The varied typography fauna and flora of the reserve attracts a large number of bird species, over 300 to be exact, with migratory birds present from November to April. The top birds on peoples list include; the African finfoot, yellow-throated sand grouse, marico flycatcher, gabar goshawk, blue-cheeked bee-eater and the black-backed puffback.
Activities & When to go
The vivid emerald seasons runs from October – April when the rains arrive. Day temperatures tend to vary but average at around 30°C. The highest rainfall months run from November – February. The dry golden season then starts from May – September where crisp cool nights are expected, sometimes dropping to as low as 2°C at night but averaging at around 23°C in the day temperatures which are usually sunny and mild.
The best game viewing months come with the dry season as life is drawn to the remaining water sources on the reserve. The best time for bird-watching however is during the migratory period which runs from November – April.
Being only a 5-hour drive from the city of Johannesburg, it’s an ideal destination for a weekend wilderness retreat or safari getaway. There are a range of activities offered by the lodges located in the reserve including, guided bush walks, 4x4 safaris, night drives, photographic safaris, bird-watching tours, cultural safaris, bush breakfasts & dinners, stargazing, river walks and indulging spa visits.
Our Favourite Lodges