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Madikwe Game Reserve

3 reviews

Safari suitability: 9/10

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All of the big five. Within 4 hours of Johannesburg. Great opportunity to see wild dogs.

Found in: South Africa
Companies: 6
Tour packages: 11
Total area: 750 km² (290 mi²)
Year established: 1991
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think

Quality of wildlife:
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Most-visited month:
* Crowded parks have a lower rating


  • A malaria-free park.

  • Home to all of the big five.

  • Madikwe's private lodge system limits visitor numbers to keep the experience wild and authentic. Diverse wildlife inhabits the parks varied landscape.

  • Regular encounters with photogenic, highly-endangered African wild dogs

  • Astonishing accommodation in full board lodges.

  • A possibility of a fly-in safari.

About Madikwe Game Reserve

Located in an area that used to be nothing more but abandoned farmland, Madikwe Game Reserve rose to become one of Africa’s best preservation areas. The park lies close to the Botswanian border, 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Zeerust. If driving from Johannesburg, it can be reached in roughly four hours. There is also an airstrip that allows landing for small aircrafts. 

Unlike in national parks like Kruger, self-driving on safari is not allowed, nor are day visits. Guests must be booked into one of the many high-end lodges in the reserve and then enjoy the park on guided game drives in open vehicles or other activities operated by the lodges such as bush walks.
This policy limits the number of vehicles in the park and allows better regulation of behavior at sightings. Madikwe is equipped to receive the most discerning guest and offers a unique combination of astonishing game viewing, well-managed conservation efforts and ambient, luxurious accommodation.

This game reserve, sited on the basin of the Madikwe or Marico River, offers an experience of a true African wilderness. It is one of the less widely known South African Parks -  here, you can avoid the crowds and be awarded with close and personal encounters with some of Africa’s most majestic wildlife. Positioned on the edges of the Kalahari Desert, it offers a sanctuary to some rare animal species that occur here naturally, as well as to those that were relocated from other areas.

Over 60 mammal species roam the park’s 750 km² (290 miles²) of bush land. Among them are the big five and the endangered African wild dogs, which were introduced into the park in 1994. The vanishing wild dogs managed to endure the initial challenges to form three well-established hunting packs that promise to preserve this beautiful species.

Madikwe might also be the best place in South Africa to spot the elusive leopard, and the reserve is renowned for its cheetah population. Vibrant birdlife is another highlight of the visit with over 350 species of birds recorded at the reserve.

Madikwe game reserve is run and managed by Tourism board, the local communities and the private sector. The latter funds the construction of game lodges and more recently, 70 km² (27 miles²) of privately owned land has also been incorporated into the park. Efforts are also being made to involve and uplift the local communities through their involvement with the park’s work.

When to visit Madikwe Game Reserve

As there is no migration period, spectacular game viewing is possible all year round. The rainy season stretches between October and April and coincides with the summer months. The dry season runs from May to September. During the winter, when temperatures are generally more pleasant, animals tend to congregate around water holes, offering opportunities for uninterrupted game viewing.

Activities in Madikwe Game Reserve

The reserve offers a plethora of safari options, including family/self-drive safaris, honeymoon safaris and fly-in safaris. The park’s guides are known to be very knowledgeable and charismatic and can provide everyone with what they are looking for.  

It is advised not to use vehicles with low ground clearance and all park lodges are accessible via gravel roads.

Madikwe map
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