Madikwe Game Reserve offers a Big 5 safari experience in the malaria-free region of the North West province, on the border of Botswana and close to the Kalahari Desert. Despite being the fifth largest game park in South Africa, the 680km² reserve (750km² with the newly incorporated privately owned land) is one of the lesser known; offering an authentic African experience away from the crowds.
Originally an unsuccessful farming zone, Madikwe Game Reserve was declared in 1991 to economically uplift the disadvantaged community. The one-of-a-kind reserve has a range of Community Lodges that are owned and run by the local people, creating a healthy economic environment. Today Madikwe is regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa and you’ll find a wide selection of luxury and community lodges located around the eastern and western gates.
Aside from the chance to spot the Big 5, you’ll also have the rare opportunity of sighting the highly endangered African wild dog, affectionately known as the “painted wolf" because of its beautiful coat that resembles splattered paint. Despite the challenges that were met when introducing the African wild dogs to the park in 1994, today Madikwe has a thriving population with 3 hunting packs that roam the reserve.
Madikwe Game Reserve supports approximately 66 large mammals and 300 bird species that have made their home across the vast open plains of grasslands, Woodlands, rocky outcrops, and single mountains. Game viewing is good throughout the year as there is no migration, but the dry winter months are favourable as the vegetation thins out and the animals concentrate around the waterholes.