Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the fifth largest game reserve and is also one of the lesser-known parks in South Africa. This makes it a hidden gem as it is regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa and offers the Big 5 in a 680 km2 park (750 km2 including newly incorporated privately owned land). The park offers a number of luxurious lodges as well as community lodges in a malaria-free zone.
The land where Madikwe now stands was previously used as farming land. The poor soil meant that farming was mostly unsuccessful and the South African government then decided that it would best be used as a national park to help economically uplift the disadvantaged area.
About 90 kilometres north of the town of Zeerust is Madikwe Game Reserve. It is situated against the Botswana border close to the Kalahari Desert. It is roughly 3.5 hours in a car from Johannesburg/Pretoria. Safari Lodges are mostly located around the eastern and western gate.
In 1991 the area was declared a reserve and 10 000 mammals were relocated from other National Parks. The park is home to approximately 66 large mammals and roughly 300 bird species. You will find all this flora and fauna in an area comprised of vast open plains of grasslands, woodlands, rocky outcrops and single mountains. The area is bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains.
Park Area: 75 000 hectares
- Seasons: Good game viewing is available all year as the park is a single unit conservation area (there is no migration). The rainy season is between October and April in the wet summer months. Winter can provide pleasant game viewing as animals concentrate around waterholes and vegetation thins out.
- Popular attractions: Big 5, African Wild Dogs, family/ self- drive safari destination, romantic escapes, luxury lodges, honeymoon safaris.
- Nearby airports: Gaborone airport (28kms)/ O.R. Tambo International (369kms)/ Madikwe has an 1200 metre airstrip for use by private aircraft.
- Nearest cities: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Rustenburg, Zeerust