The North West province in South Africa is home to 2 major game reserves; the Madikwe Game Reserve in the very north and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, located slightly more south.
The long term goal of the North West parks authority is to one day link these two wildlife reserves to create one massive wildlife park, however; this dream has been met with much resistance as the greater park will need to incorporate many areas where humans are settled.
The Madikwe Game Reserve was formed in 1991 and is the product of Operation Phoenix, one of the largest game trans-location plans ever undertaken. The introduction of 25 different species of wildlife resulted in the animal population of the park being 10 000 animals strong.
Located on the border of Botswana in the eastern regions of the North West province, the region has a relatively high rainfall occurring in the warm summer months. The landscape of the wildlife reserve is a combination of rolling plains, broken cliffs and isolated rocky outcrops.
Extensive grassy plains gently slope across the landscape moving eastwards towards the perennial Groot Marico River which forms its eastern border. The park's vegetation is dominated by two groups of plant species, namely; bushwillow occurring in the broad-leaved woodland areas in the south of the park and acacia, being found mostly in the northern areas.
The game-viewing experience within Madikwe Game Reserve is a unique and not-to-be-missed experience. Home to the Big Five, your experience of Madikwe will be shaped by your enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable mandatory guide. Visitors may only drive through the park in their own vehicle when arriving and departing from their accommodation lodge.
The rest of the time the Madikwe game viewing experiences will be constructed by your game ranger who will not only introduce you to the magical ways of the larger African game animals, but will also impart on you their knowledge of the smaller, often over-looked animals, bird-life or plants.
While driving along on a morning or evening game drive it is not uncommon for the vehicle to be stopped briefly while the ranger enthusiastically sits up, with visible excitement on his face, as if he has spotted the best find of his life. You will then be told with as much detail about the tiny Chameleon he gently plucks from the nearby tree as you would about the four Hyaenas cubs playing at their nearby den or the beautiful blue thorn acacia you are parked under.
The Madikwe safari guides help to bring the smaller more intimate details of day-to-day life in the African bush to life and will be guaranteed to be a highlight of your stay.
Madikwe Game Reserve is home to large and healthy populations of both predators and prey with a broad variety of antelope being spotted along your drives ranging from Tsessebe to Springbok and Southern Oryx.
Madikwe is famous for its large wild dog population - learn more about the Madikwe Wild Dog Project
The thriving population of Lion means that guests will have fabulous sightings of the king of the animals.
There are also 23 other species of carnivore to look out for including Leopard, Caracal and 5 species of Mongoose. The wildlife reserve is also home to an abundance of other wildlife such as 340 species of birds, 50 types of butterflies and 26 species of snakes.
Plan to spend at least 2 days at one of the luxury tented camps or Madikwe safari lodges within the reserve as once you arrive in this magical place, you won't want to leave!