National Parks

Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa

Madikwe Game Reserve promises high-quality game viewing as well as a luxury African safari experience that is both exclusive, and unforgettable.

Ker & Downey® Africa > Destinations > South Africa > Parks > Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa

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Everything you need to know about Madikwe Game Reserve

After years of neglected farming, the barren soil of Madikwe was deemed to be an ideal location for a game reserve and offered a chance to uplift the surrounding communities. Founded in 1991, Madikwe is currently the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa and is a private reserve with abundant wildlife. Guests can expect an exclusive game experience as the park is not open to self-drive guests and lodges abide by strict regulations to ensure that there are not overcrowded game sightings.

Where is the park located?

Situated in the north-west of South Africa on the Botswana border, Madikwe Game Reserve can be reached via a 4.5-hour drive from Johannesburg. While it is possible to self-drive, vehicles need to be suitable for the dirt roads within the park and guests must make sure to discuss arrival times with lodges. For convenient access, travelers can enjoy a one-hour light aircraft flight which departs daily and connects with a number of other South African parks such as Tswalu and Sabi Sands. 

About the park

What can you expect from the terrain?

Madikwe consists of expansive grassland and bushveld reserve, with sporadic rocky outcrops and acacia thickets. The red mud of the Kalahari desert sand makes for stunning photos as the reds stand out against the various shades of animals found in the reserve.

What type of wildlife will we see?

Madikwe is known as a Big 5 game reserve, with a near-guaranteed chance of seeing a number of elephant, buffalo and rhino, most antelope species, and a number of cheetah which were reintroduced to the reserve in recent years. Madikwe has a reputation for its large packs of wild dogs, with a high chance of guests spotting these endangered highly successful predators. While there’s a chance you will get to spot the elusive leopard, Madikwe is not well known for its leopard sightings. Due to its location, the reserve also has surprise viewing of some of the rarer desert-adapted animals such as the aardvark.

Top experiences to enjoy at Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe is a malaria-free area which is ideal for open-air sleeping. Lodges such as Morukuru and Jaci’s offer guests the chance to sleep on open-air beds under the stars in the winter months. Madikwe is also home to some exceptional 5 star lodges, with high-quality game viewing, easy access and some of the best service in Africa. 

When to visit

As with most South African safaris, you can enjoy the experience year-round. The winter months, however (May – September) are typically the best times to experience any safari. While the mornings will be cooler (dropping as low as 4 degrees celsius), the open spaces and barren trees will make game easier to spot from a distance. Similar to the closely located Botswana climate, Madikwe is rainy during the Summer months (November – March) but as this is a closed reserve, animals are able to be spotted all year-round. 

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