A guide to Madikwe Game Park
I recently visited Madikwe Game Reserve for the first time and what a revelation! I absolutely love travelling to the bush and have experienced the majority of the major game parks within South Africa but never this far up into the North West of the country where it borders Botswana. I’ve always believed that the “true” bush experience is to be found in the lowveld vegetation and anything else pales in comparison. Fortunately, Ive have been pleasantly surprised by this latest experience!
Madikwe Game Reserve is approximately 3.5 to 4 hours from Joburg depending on which gate you enter and where you are travelling from. It’s a pleasant drive along the Rustenburg highway which takes you through Marico, renowned for its “Mampoer” a local white spirit distilled from fruit and which packs a punch! Zeerust is a little further on and from there you hook a right towards the game reserve. We came back via Sun City as we exited a different gate, so again, just depends on where you are staying in the park.
The game reserve is maintained by North West Parks Board with the support of the various lodges on a private basis. The park is not open to the general public to drive around and can only be traversed by a game vehicle through your stay at one of the lodges. These range from eco lodges to high end properties, so all depends on what tickles your fancy or suits your wallet. There is also a landing strip on the reserve from which you can take a chartered flight either from OR Tambo or Lanseria making it very accessible for those who would prefer not to drive.
The bush itself is a lovely mix of lowveld and Kalahari vegetation and as you drive around the reserve you are met with open savannah plains, rocky outcrops as well as dense thickets of bush. Because of this diversity, there is an abundance of game with the big 5 as well as 66 mammal species and more than 300 resident and migrant bird species. In two days, we saw Wild Dog, Lion, Cheetah, Elephant, White Rhino and Black Rhino up close and personal and in such a short period of time!
A real plus to visiting this game reserve is that it is a malaria free zone making this ideal for families and young kids should they be catered for at a lodge. Winter is always the best time to visit and see game due to the bush being a little less thick and green however having said that we have just visited in mid-March and saw all of the big 5 except Leopard!
When there is a sighting, it is radioed through and in a sustainable way each vehicle is able to take a look at the relevant sighting, ensuring that everyone gets to see a variety of game.
Giles first opened up Checkout Travel (Club Travel Fourways in those days) over 15 years ago. He is passionate about researching new technologies whether it be in the digital marketing space or actual travel platforms ensuring seamless quoting procedures for our travel creators – gone are the days of dusty hotel guides! Currently completing his MBA, this adventure junkie’s best travel memory thus far is trekking around South East Asia for 3 months.
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