“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” – Ernest Hemingway (American writer)
The Wild Life
For first-time and seasoned safari goers alike, Madikwe Game Reserve’s 76 000ha wilderness is a wonder. The miracle lies in its diversity – a three-hour game drive here offers the kind of experience you’d ordinarily have to traverse Africa for. The reserve’s wooded hills give way to savannah and Kalahari plains, and within its floral transition zone, you’ll find a unique array of wildlife. Madikwe is one of the only places you can spot the aardwolf and brown hyena – both rare species, along with all of the iconic Big Five, and over 340 kinds of resident/migrant birds. With so much to discover, every safari is paradise found.
Madikwe Safari Lodge offers a private and personal safari experience. You and no more than five other guests make up your safari group, led by a dedicated field guide who will take you to find Africa’s rare, curious, and impressive species. Some allowance is made for off-roading and the game viewers are tough enough to tackle most terrain, getting you within close range of the wildlife. Though intriguing sightings do attract more attention, Madikwe’s limit to just three vehicles prevents crowding and stress on the animals, ensuring you’ll be able to clearly observe their natural behaviour. You won’t be angling for a view on our guided bush walks either, which present perfect photo opportunities. You can have all this – and comfort, with cushioned bucket seats and gourmet refreshment stops – yes, even on the bush walks.
Surprise Safari Stops
Just when you think Could it get any better than this? the vehicle pulls up and you’re in for another treat. As one of Madikwe’s tailor-made experiences, our safari stops are something special. Between the action, they are pauses to simply appreciate being in the bush and in the moment – with Amarula coffee and pastries, fynbos gin cocktails and nibbles, pancakes and a whole buffet of toppings, your favourite flavour milkshake, blissfully cold lollies… In addition to the wildlife, you never know what could be waiting around the next corner. What is certain is that they happen every day (in a surprise scenic location).
Your More Guides
Our safaris bring you face-to-face with the natural world, but what would they be without your field guides who heighten the thrill of the search? All are FGASA-qualified (some by our own NJ MORE Field Guide College based at Marataba Game Reserve), and highly-skilled at leading safaris in Big Five territories, while tailoring them to your personal interests.
But more than that, they are selected for their palpable love of the world’s last wild places and their ability to inspire this in you – putting them in a league of their own. They are your scouts, teachers, translators and – given how much time you spend with them – friends, so your affinity with your guiding team is essential.
Rhino Conservation – In Action
Rhinos in Africa and Asia have been around for 40-million years, but in the last 100 years their numbers have dwindled to a total of just 29 500. Critically endangered, they survive almost exclusively in reserves, where they are protected from persistent poaching for their horns and habitat loss.
In South Africa, we have the two species of rhino, the southern white rhino and black rhino. Other than being magnificent in their own right, they are crucial to the survival of other animals as an umbrella species, which indirectly protects wildlife within its habitat.
At Madikwe, it goes without saying we are all in for rhino conservation and if you are reading this thinking But what can I do? please consider taking part in our Rhino Conservation Experience. While on this thrilling adventure, you will encounter one up close and directly contribute to its survival.
Looking across the pristine wilderness of South Africa’s fifth largest game reserve, it’s difficult to believe that just under 30 years ago it consisted largely of degraded cattle farms and overgrazed land. Deciding that the most feasible way to uplift the area was through wildlife tourism, government, communities and private enterprise partnered to establish Madikwe Game Reserve.
What followed was the largest and most successful translocation project in history – Operation Phoenix. From 1991 to 1997, more than 8 000 animals of 28 species were reintroduced – including, in a world first, an entire elephant herd. Madikwe also prides itself on its healthy population of endangered African wild dog (painted wolf), and also anticipates the growth of its cheetah numbers, with three females released onto the reserve in 2017.