If you are a travel enthusiast then there is a fair chance you have heard about Madikwe Game Reserve. But if you haven’t, don’t fret. It is a well-kept secret in South Africa’s North West Province, a conservation area overlooking the Marico River, bordering Botswana and surrounded by lush grasslands, hills and plenty of wildlife.
What’s so special about Madikwe Game Reserve?
Madikwe has such a unique story. Apart from the fact that it has a fascinating landscape with a variety of wildlife like elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos. The reserve also possesses hundreds of uncommon bird species.
Did you know that the Madikwe reserve wasn’t always a wildlife conservation area; rather it used to be farmland that was unsuccessful due to poor soil quality. After much research, the Government found that it could be redeveloped into a national park to help boost the local economy.
Wildlife was re-introduced into the reserve and today the total mammal population exceeds over 10,000.
Madikwe is an assured malaria-free safari. This means you don’t have to take anti-malaria tablets. It is a perfect family sanctuary with rich biodiversity.
It is home to the Big 5!
The Madikwe Game Reserve is an excellent spot for game viewing with 66 mammal species including those known as the Big Five safari animals, that is lions, African elephants, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
But if you are fond of bird watching, then you will be delighted with over 300 bird species. These include vultures, ostrich, and large kori bustard. Visit the Madikwe Dam at sunset to get the best views and photographs.
What Madikwe Game Reserve is perhaps most famous for is their African wild dog. It is one of the world’s most endangered mammals. But some of the larger groups of wild dogs can still be found in Africa, specifically southern Africa. Wild dogs travel in packs of around ten and can be easily spotted in the Madikwe Game Reserve.
Things to do while you are in the game reserve
Professional rangers help take care of the young explorers. They offer special vehicles geared up especially for the children with a variety of things including snacks and drinks. Children learn from rangers about the rich history of South Africa, the beautiful creatures and the flora and fauna that Madikwe is famous for.
Are you a wildlife shutterbug? Then the scenic landscape and photographic safaris in Madikwe are tailor-made for you. You get the unique chance to capture some of the most beautiful creatures in an intimate safari experience that gives you the best of wildlife, up, close and personal.
Game Drives are of course the very reason you should visit a location like Madikwe Game Reserve. They are exclusive here because day visitors don’t have access to the park and only lodge vehicles are permitted in the area.
Game drives offer you the chance to spot the big five(or the elusive cheetah and wild dog if you are lucky!) as well as the stunning birds. Both the morning and evening game drives are uniquely breathtaking, bathed in the natural glow of the African sun and its exquisite landscape.
Is there anything more romantic than the African sky at night, alight with sparkling stars and constellations? If astronomy is your thing then enjoy stargazing at night through a GPRS telescope and learn more about these stellar wonders.
Rhino poaching is a big threat to wildlife in South Africa. If you are passionate about preservation, then you can experience a part of the conservation activity first-hand at Madikwe. Guests at many lodges enroll for “The Rhino Conservation Experience.” Where you travel in a helicopter with a specialist team to find and dart a rhino. You can even participate in the process of procuring rhino DNA samples. The rhino wakes up within 10-15 minutes and is ready to be referenced in a book of Madikwe’s rhino census.
If you enjoy a bit of quiet reflection in the lap of nature then the river walks at Madikwe Game Reserve are just what the doctor ordered. An unforgettable walk with spectacular views, a chance to acquaint yourself with local plants and flowers as well as the opportunity to arrange a river-side picnic.
You can also opt for a walking safari aided by your armed Field Guide and experience a different side of Africa. The walking safari gives you an entirely different high as all of your senses will be fully awake and absorbing the sights and sounds of bushveld.
The best thing about Madikwe Game Reserve is that it is a very real, people-centric wildlife conservation that has been attracting tourists for more than 20 years and it continues to retain its beauty and charm. Experience it for yourself and take the full safari experience at Madikwe.