Madikwe Game Reserve

A malaria-free game reserve in the northwest of South Africa on the border with Botswana, Madikwe is a close rival to the Kruger in the game viewing stakes.

Madikwe Game Reserve

Spread over 75,000 hectares, Madikwe Game Reserve is a vast area of protected land and a real conservation success story. The reserve was established in 1991 and quickly became the focus of a massive animal translocation program called Operation Phoenix, which was launched as a measure to transform an otherwise remote and desolate area. Since then, the fortunes of Madikwe have been transformed, and it has gone from being one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets to an increasingly popular safari destination. Despite having an off-the-beaten-track feel, Madikwe is just a four-hour drive (or one-hour flight) from Johannesburg, so it is easily accessible and combined with a beach stay in Mozambique, Mauritius, or the Seychelles.

A big positive of going on safari in Madikwe is that it is malaria-free. With the Kruger often held as the benchmark for a South African safari, having to look elsewhere in order to avoid malarial areas is sometimes seen as a compromise. However, we believe that Madikwe holds its own against the Kruger, not only with excellent Big Five sightings but also for offering frequent sightings of rare wild dogs and majestic cheetahs (guides often use the term ‘Super Seven’ so as not to omit these two equally important species). With over 250 bird species recorded in the park too, you won’t be short of creatures to look out for. The landscape is one of the most scenic in South Africa, with the red Kalahari earth blending with high veld landscapes. Expect stunning rocky outcrops punctuated by small dams and rivers, giving a mosaic of habitats to explore.

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