Popular tours and itineraries including Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve

About

Conveniently close to Johannesburg in North West Province, malaria-free Madikwe and its 75,000 hectares of wilderness hug South Africa’s border with Botswana.  All the Big Five are present and correct, plus resurgent populations of zebra, giraffe, cheetah and endangered wild dog, following a huge operation begun in 1991 to rejuvenate the park’s fauna.  Most of them previously poached out, over 10,000 mammals in total were re-introduced.  To see them, you’ll have to stay at the one of the exclusive lodges: self-drives or day-trips amid the reddish savannah, giant boulders and ancient Tamboti trees are not permitted.

Highlights

Each boasting a different atmosphere, Madikwe’s lodges are spaced out to try and ensure privacy; as this is South Africa’s fourth-largest reserve and off most tourists’ itineraries, you should enjoy ample seclusion.  Safari-wise, the animals have become well used to open-sided jeeps, so won’t tear off when they see you.  Better yet, off-road driving restrictions are minimal so guides – who communicate sightings by radio – can get you close to your subjects.  Most lodges operate dawn and dusk game drives, with lazy downtime in between.

Getting There

Driving from Johannesburg takes four hours following the N1, N4 and R49.  For lodges in the western side of the park, use the Wonderboom Gate.  For the central and eastern sections, access is via the Abjaterskop Gate.  Alternatively, there are twice-daily (morning and afternoon) 50-minute charter flights from Johannesburg, although these can only be booked in tandem with accommodation. 

Best Time To Visit 

While game viewing is good year-round, summer’s dense green bush allows animals to hide more easily, and abundant water means they don’t need to head to rivers as often – making spotting them trickier than during dry winter (June-September) months.  Winter mornings and evenings can be chilly in, with summer unsurprisingly milder.  

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