Madikwe Game Reserve
The Ultimate Madikwe Travel Guide For "Big 5" And Malaria-Free Safaris In South Africa
If you're looking for a fantastic safari destination in South Africa that offers the "Big 5", excellent wildlife and birdlife, stunning scenery and some of the best safari lodges in the country, then the Madikwe Game Reserve in the northwest of the country is definitely worth considering!
Our Madikwe travel guide on Uyaphi.com is all about featuring what, in our humble opinion, is one of the best safari experiences in Southern Africa. As a team, we have visited the game reserve on numerous occasions and have yet to depart disappointed. All lodges in our portfolio are fantastic and cover most budget ranges. Wildlife sightings are always good. In our opinion, the wildlife sightings can match any other national park or private game reserve in South Africa. The Game Reserve will always be a firm favourite of ours.
The Reserve is the fourth largest in South Africa and is home to 66 large mammal species, including the "Big 5" as well as cheetah and wild dog. There are approximately 300 resident and migrant bird species on display for birders.
The Madikwe Game Reserve, situated close to the Botswana border, just under four hours' drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria, is now one of South Africa's prime safari destinations. The drive to the reserve is one of the more scenic that South Africa has to offer, passing bushveld, koppies and villages along the way. There is, of course, fly-in options should driving not be your thing; there are two airstrips in the Game Reserve, and both are serviced by light aircraft out of Johannesburg; flight time is around 45 minutes.
Some of the safari activities you can enjoy while in Madikwe are morning and afternoon game drives, bush walks, birding safaris, photographic safaris (in customised vehicles) and sundowners. The highlight activity is those morning and afternoon game drives guided by highly qualified rangers; on these drives, one gets to witness the fantastic wildlife that the game reserve is known for.
The Game Reserve is located in an area of South Africa that is 100% free from malaria making this one of the top safari destinations for families or those concerned about possibly contracting the disease.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Madikwe safari today!
A Guide To Travelling In South Africa's Famed Madikwe
The Madikwe Game Reserve offers some of the finest safari lodges in South Africa; this is our portfolio of four- and five-star luxury lodges suitable for single travellers, honeymooners, and children in tow.
Accommodation options range from absolute luxury to small intimate tented safari camps.
If you are looking for a pure wildlife experience, a photographic safari, something romantic, or a family-friendly safari option, look no further.
It's a malaria-free game reserve that covers an area of over 75,000 acres, making it the perfect place to go on safari. The reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo (the "Bif Five)", as well as brown and spotted hyenas, cheetah and wild dogs to mention a few.
There are a number of safari lodges located in the Madikwe Game Reserve, all of which offer excellent accommodation and facilities. The lodges also offer a range of safari activities, from game drives to bush walks to star beds.
Madikwe Photo Galleries
Over the past years, we have had the absolute pleasure and privilege of visiting the Madikwe many, many times.
While staying at most of the safaris lodges within the reserve and taking part in numerous game drives, we have had the pleasure of witnessing spectacular wildlife.
Here, we showcase our own photographic skills. If we can capture good/okay wildlife photographs, imagine what you can capture :)
Madikwe Mammal List
The game reserve hosts 66 mammal species, including the "Big 7" (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, cheetah and wild dog).
The game reserve offers the rare opportunity to spot both Spotted and Brown Hyenas within the same habitat, as well as 23 carnivore species and an amazing 26 species of snake.
Madikwe Bird List
The game reserve and surrounding area is an ornithologist's dream, with over 350 species of birds recorded.
What makes this area different in terms of birding is that the reserve is located in a transition zone on the edge of the Kalahari basin; one gets a mash-up of Highveld, Bushveld and Desert species.
Size & Location: 750km² ,360 km from Johannesburg, in the North West Province
When to visit the park: Drier months (May - September) are best for game-viewing
Climate: Hot, humid (31°C) during summer rainy season and cold, freezing winters
Rainfall: approx. 500mm per annum
Altitude: 950m - 1328m above sea level
Madikwe is Malaria Free
Yes, it is official; those pesky Malaria mosquitoes are not found anywhere near the Madikwe Reserve.
Making this the perfect "Big 7" safari experience for those who have children of any age, those who are pregnant, as well as those who just do not want to take the chance.
The Madikwe is Malaria free but not mosquito free; all lodges offer repellent, though.
Best Time to Visit
The Madikwe Reserve offers excellent year-round safari experiences, with summer days being hot and winter evenings being cold.
The dry winter months are generally best for birders and wildlife sightings, but in saying that, you will not be disappointed by a summer safari here.
No matter what season you choose to visit, the Madikwe will surprise you with her beauty.
Madikwe Transfer Options
Daily air and road transfers operate between Johannesburg and the reserve; depending on your budget or interests, we will advise on the best options.
The fly-in option is the most popular as it adds 3 hours to your safari; the flight itself is in the region of 60 minutes and lands at the main Madikwe tarred runway where a transfer to your private lodge is waiting.