Ideal for family holidays and first time safari goers, Madikwe Game Reserve is situated against the Botswana border and is one of the best malaria-free safari options in Africa. A swift 4 hour drive or 45 minute plane ride from Johannesburg and you will find yourself one of South Africa's biggest game reserves that is highly populated with all members of the 'magnificent seven'.
Madikwe Game Reserve - The Details
Madikwe is South Africa's fifth largest game reserve covering over seventy-five thousand hectares. From mountains and caves, to rivers and open plains, the rich diversity of vegetation ensures ideal game viewing opportunities. Madikwe is also one of the few places where you can see the brown hyena and the aardwolf regularly, making it a must visit reserve for those looking to catch a glimpse of the rarer animals.
Madikwe is the epitome of a conservation success story. Since 1991 their reintroduction programme saw the translocation of eight-thousand animals, comprising of twenty-eight different species, making game viewing here spectacular. Their work does not stop with only conservation work however, Madikwe represents an extension to this philosophy in that it is run as a joint venture between the State, the private sector and local communities.
By providing job opportunities and investing in the local people, Madikwe has helped to lift the local community's economy and provide a variety of prospects for the future generations. The success of this approach has made Madikwe the role model for similar ventures being started up elsewhere in South Africa.
Madikwe is perfect for the first-time safari goers or for families looking to go to an accessible and malaria-free safari destination. There are a large number of different lodges in this reserve which does not makes it ideal for the safari purists. The properties include a number of sole-use properties which are ideal for big families wanting to take their safari at their own pace and adult-only properties which are perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for an intimate and private safari where they escape the crowds.
One of Madikwe's highlights for children is the Eco-House. This is an entertaining and educational centre built specifically for children - or for anyone with a fascination with wildlife - that engages and provides a wonderful area for activities and learning to take place. It is perfect for children whilst the parents are out on game drive or as something to make the hours in between game drives fly by.
Madikwe's climate follows the same pattern as the rest of Southern Africa with the rainy season falling between October to April and the dry season occurring during May and September. It is during the dry season when the best game viewing occurs as water sources become scarce and foliage becomes less dense. The result is animals tending to congregate closer to the waterholes and game viewing/photographing becoming easier.
The rainy season however is still a great time to visit, especially if you are interested in birding. From November onwards the bush is transformed into a lush green paradise that is punctuated by splashes of colour and sound as the migratory birds return which also make for stunning photographic opportunities.