Madikwe Game Reserve in the northwest of South Africa is a private reserve where only guests of the lodges and camps within it may gain access – this rule ensures limited numbers, coordinated game drives and ultimately, a superb viewing experience for its guests.
A few facts about Madikwe Game Reserve
This South African park covers in excess of 75,000 hectares, the nearest city is Johannesburg which is 3.5 hours’ drive; it is 28km from Gaborone Airport although there is a 1200m private airstrip in the park for private aircraft. The reserve is Malaria-free.
Your accommodation booking will give you access to the reserve – there are no day visitors allowed which keeps it traffic-free and uncrowded, an important point to consider when planning your safari experience. There are several 4* & 5* lodge and camps from which to choose, these include Family Safari Lodges, Romantic Getaways, Safari with Spa, and Exclusive Eco Experiences.
Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge
With a choice of one or two bedroom luxury suites, this is at the top end of the safari experience with lavish outdoor bathtubs overlooking the vast plains and private plunge pools. You will also be treated to personal butler service, and your own game ranger and Land Rover. With a total population of just 24 guests at any one time, this intimate accommodation pampers you with its spa, and offers leisure at the main swimming pool. Silver service and fine cuisine are on the menu daily, and to make sure your evening is complete, there is a magnificent wine cellar adjacent to the dining room. It’s a good job that the views from your suite keep you focussed on the purpose of your visit!
Madikwe Hills Private Game Reserve is home to a wonderful range of wildlife including the treasured Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino & buffalo), all of which are resident in the park. This is not a migration zone, so the animals stay pretty much in the same region most of the year.
African Wild Dog
The highly endangered African Wild Dog has a thriving population, thanks to an initiative which introduced a small group of six dogs in 1994. Against the odds, these wild dogs have thrived and now operate three hunting packs within the park. They are a spectacular sight to photograph, with their exquisite painted faces and huge upright ears.
Your game drive experience will be scheduled for early in the morning and evening in order to maximise the chances of viewings. Accompanied by experienced, friendly and super-knowledgeable rangers, there will be little you can ask them that won’t be answered. There will be opportunities to go out on dedicated Photographic Safaris, where stops are made for you to capture the perfect shot. Walking safaris are also conducted and can open your eyes, ears and nose to the more intricate elements of the bush; learning about tracking and finding smaller creatures and birds.
Safari for all Seasons
So when should you visit this region? Well there are advantages to both seasons, so decide which appeal to you! October to April is the rainy season with November to February being the height, the rainfall tends to occur in sharp, short bursts with the skies clearing like magic straight afterwards. Temperatures average 30°C throughout; expect the days to be humid, and as evenings draw in, the heat remains making it lovely sitting-out weather. The vegetation at this time is lush and green, and the soil is a rich deep red. This is perhaps the best time to capture dramatic colour-contrast photographs and vivid landscape shots.
May to September is winter in South Africa, and in Madikwe it is dry and cool. The skies carry no cloud and temperatures can drop to 2°C at night with days being a comfortable 23°C. The dry season is the best time for spotting larger game, as the animals move around more in search of fresh water which is of course scarce.
This little snippet of Madikwe.