Spanning over 75,000ha of pristine wilderness in the North West Province of South Africa, the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is not only one of the largest game reserves in the country but also home to the Big 5 and the endangered African wild dog.
From a low-yield cattle farm to a flourishing conservation area, Madikwe Game Reserve is a land of bushveld and grassland, sloping mountains and rocky outcrops. Brushing against Botswana’s border and the tip of the Kalahari Desert, the park has provided a haven for wildlife, including the Big 5. It is also a fierce proponent of community upliftment initiatives.
The South African government manages the reserve’s land and wildlife while the private sector profits from the lodges that employ locals from the surrounding area. The park boasts roughly 10,000 mammals and over 350 bird species, relocated to the malaria-free park once they restored the farmland to its natural, prospering state.
The reserve is home to cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra, and antelope, as well as the Big 5. Three packs of endangered African wild dogs roam across its vast plains, delighting photographers and allowing for close encounters. The reserve's wildlife inhabitants have become used to game-viewing vehicles and often wander nonchalantly past appreciative wildlife enthusiasts. Game guides head off the road and tackle the terrain to get visitors closer to lions napping in the shade of thorn trees or cut their engines so that passengers can marvel at passing herds of buffalo.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Madikwe Game Reserve
There are several ways of getting to the Madikwe Game Reserve. Daily shuttle flights provided by Federal Airlines seat up to 12 people and operate between Johannesburg Airport and the Madikwe Game Reserve. These flights take about one hour and deliver you straight to the lodge you are travelling to the corresponding airstrip. Luggage is, however, limited to 20kg on these flights.
For those with more time, self-driving or opting for a private ground transfer to Madikwe Game Reserve is a feasible and enjoyable option. Madikwe is about a five-hour drive from Johannesburg. The road is tarred and well maintained, with clean service stations along the way.
Based on your lodge of choice, time and cost, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to Madikwe Game Reserve.
There is no right or wrong time to visit Madikwe Game Reserve as game viewing is excellent throughout the year. However, some seasons can be more desirable than others for different reasons.
November through to December
The summer months are hot and humid with either continual rains or very typically afternoon thundershowers which generally clear before the game drives depart. You can expect to see lots of newborns during this time, most notably the impala lambs.
January to March
These usually are drier months with very hot days. There are lots of beautiful migratory birds during the summer periods. Early morning drives with early returns to escape the heat are typical.
The vegetation starts changing from thick, lush green bush to a slightly sparser browning bush during this autumn period. The temperatures start cooling down at night, but the daytime is still warm. Potential scattered thunderstorms can be expected in the afternoons.
May to June
Cold temperatures are experienced at night and dawn during the winter months. Warm clothing is recommended, such as gloves, scarves, beanies and insulated jackets. The vegetation becomes brown, and trees start losing leaves. Visibility during drives is enhanced due to sparse vegetation.
July to September
This period is arid in the bush with freezing night temperatures and chilly during the early morning and late afternoon game drives. Game viewing is generally fantastic, and the visibility is good as the game is concentrated around any water source.
September to October
Spring is the height of the dry season, boasting hot, dry winds and colourless, sparse vegetation. Because water levels are low, high concentrations of game can be viewed at waterholes, and game viewing, in general, is very good. The first rains may start towards the end of October and the signs of spring and a new wet season are evident.
Whichever season you chose, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will ensure you are in the best area to maximise your Safari experience.
Easy to get to
A little less than a five-hour drive and a one-hour flight from Johannesburg, the reserve is conveniently close and easily accessible.
Big 5 reserve
With healthy populations of lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, and buffalo roaming the wilderness, Madikwe is one of South Africa's popular Big 5 safari destinations.
Madikwe Game reserve is located in a malaria-free area, making it a perfect safari destination for families with small children and those who desire a top-notch Big 5 safari experience without worrying about malaria prophylactics.
Due to the region's "malaria-free" status, Madikwe Game Reserve is a top-rated destination for families. And, as a result, most lodges go above and beyond to ensure that kids and parents both have an unforgettable safari experience. More often than not, the lodges facilitate various kiddies' programs tailored to educate children about wildlife and conservation while keeping them entertained at the same time. Bumble Drives are also very popular at most lodges!