Madikwe is one of South Africa's popular Big 5 safari destinations for those looking for a malaria-free safari. It's especially family friendly as there's no need for malarial prophylactics. Most lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve welcome children and offer specially designed child-friendly programmes to keep the little ones busy and to help them really enjoy their safari experience, too.

Highlights
  • Regular sightings of critically endangered African wild dogs
  • Lions thrive here and are often seen on safari
  • No risk of malaria
  • Family-friendly safari lodges (children are welcome)
  • Exclusive game viewing from open safari vehicles – no day visitors
  • Scenic reserve combining Kalahari and Savanna bushveld
  • Diversity of species not often seen together in one game reserve
  • Easy access from Johannesburg and Pretoria

Madikwe Game Reserve is in the remote North West Province of South Africa, on the Botswana border. It is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa (over 75,000 hectares) and combines two unique ecosystems; Kalahari Thornveld (western and northern parts of Madikwe) and Lowveld or Savanna Bushveld (southern and eastern parts of Madikwe). Madikwe is also famous for its thriving population of rare African wild dog (also known as painted dogs or Cape hunting dogs) that are more likely to be spotted here than in any other game reserve in South Africa.

Besides being malaria-free, another attraction of the Madikwe Game Reserve is its exclusivity. No day visitors are allowed so your game viewing opportunities are less crowded and more personal. All game drives are in open, off-road safari vehicles.

About Madikwe

Proclaimed in late 1991, Madikwe Game Reserve is a model of successful conservation. Originally reclaimed from struggling cattle farms to create jobs, it has thrived and now sustains the local communities. The restocking of Madikwe with more than 8,000 animals (Operation Phoenix) was the largest wildlife translocation project in the world.

Incredibly diverse wildlife

Madikwe has 66 species of mammals, including the Big 5; lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo and healthy populations of African wild dogs. There's also a mix of buck and other animals you don’t normally see together in one game reserve, such as impala and springbok, gemsbok (oryx) and kudu, brown and spotted hyena.

The birdlife is also prolific at Madikwe, with more than 350 bird species already recorded, including spectacular raptors like black-breasted snake eagles and lappet-faced vultures, and some interesting endemics like the Marico flycatcher.

It's a scenic reserve with a variety of vegetation, from vast plains and wooded hills to thickets, grasslands and lush riverine bush.

Best time to visit Madikwe Game Reserve

Mostly sunny all year round, any time is good safari time at Madikwe. Summers are hot and wet, averaging 31°C (88°F). The drier winter months offer prime game viewing. Days are crisp and clear at 22°C (72°F) on average. Nights can get cold with temperatures dropping to 2°C (35.5°F). Bring warm jackets, scarves, gloves, beanies, warm socks and long pants, especially for late afternoon and evening game drives.

Getting there

By air - A daily shuttle (one-hour flight) connects OR Tambo International (Johannesburg) and Madikwe. Charter flights and helicopters transfers are also available.

By road - From Johannesburg, Madikwe is an easy 4-hour drive on good, tarred roads (± 350 km). We will gladly arrange road transfers for you.

Please note there are several gates to the reserve and some roads may close temporarily due to flooding. Please don't rely on GPS or Google maps. We will send you all the latest updates.

Impodimo Game Lodge
Impodimo Game Lodge, Pool Deck 21 580X387

Situated high on a rocky ridge in malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve, Impodimo Game Lodge offers fabulous views and good value-for-money. They use Shangaan trekkers and 7-seater game-viewing vehicles to give you a really personal safari experience. The lodge offers tailored child-friendly programmes for the little ones including ‘bush bumble’ game drives.

Jaci' Tree Lodge
Suite Bathroom With A View

Jaci’s Tree Lodge, situated in the Big 5, malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, is a collection of luxurious tree houses on stilts high above the ground, connected by wooden walkways. These unique tree-top rooms offer you a magnificent safari experience: you’ll be able to watch the wildlife passing below you and enjoy superb views out from your elevated vantage point.

Jamala Madikwe
Jamala Villa

Wherever you are at Jamala Madikwe, you’ll have front-row seats to all the action at the expansive and highly-frequented waterhole that stretches the length of the lodge. In Madikwe's eastern section, Jamala offers a luxuriant safari experience in exquisite surrounds.

Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge
Madikwe Hills Suite

Set on a hilltop in the heart of malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Hills Private Game Reserve is the essential 5-star safari lodge where the emphasis is on privacy, discreet and intuitive service and culinary excellence. It's the perfect safari choice for romantic getaways, corporate breakaways and special family gatherings.

Madikwe River Lodge
Madikwe River Lodge, feature

Madikwe River Lodge is the original safari lodge in the Big 5, malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. Each wooden en-suite chalet has a private deck overlooking the Marico River and is set amongst lush, riverine bush. The lodge is family friendly and has an excellent position in one of the best regions of Madikwe from a game viewing point-of-view.

Madikwe Safari Lodge
Madikwe Suite

Madikwe Safari Lodge offers 20 luxury suites in three private lodges: Lelapa, Dithaba and Kopano, each with its own purpose and personality - in the best game-viewing section of malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve. Set on a ridge overlooking the reserve, the lodge offers sweeping views out over the plains of Madikwe.

Morukuru Family Lodge
Romantic Sleepout

The Morukuru "Family" consists of three luxury safari villas available for exclusive use - each with your own dedicated team of staff taking care of your every need. Children are especially welcome. Morukuru specialises in making your safari an individual, luxurious and personal experience. The Morukuru Family of upmarket lodges offers an exceptionally high standard with a fantastic position in Madikwe Game Reserve, with one of the best traversing areas – besides Madikwe itself, you'll have access to Morukuru's exclusive, private traversing area.

Rhulani Safari Lodge
Suit Interior

A small, private safari lodge, Rhulani Safari Lodge offers 5-star luxury accommodation and the chance to spot the Big 5 and a wide variety of wildlife, with an unhurried, uncrowded safari experience. Malaria-free Madikwe has incredibly diverse plant life and topography, attracting a wide variety of wild animals.

Tau Game Lodge
Tau Game Lodge, Night Dining Deck

Tau Game Lodge (Tau meaning ‘lion’ in Tswana) is in the far north-western corner of malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve. The vegetation here is less dense Kalahari-thornveld, easier for game spotting. The main lodge and luxury safari chalets all look out over the vast waterhole where a pageant of wildlife comes to drink at all hours of the day and night.

Thakadu River Camp
Thakadu Game Drive 580X387

Thakadu River Camp has 12 luxurious safari tents on the banks of the Marico River, in the malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve. Thakadu is a wholly-owned, community-based project and an ecotourism success story. This exclusive, tented safari camp is situated in the far eastern part of Madikwe, in a good area for game viewing.

Tuningi Safari Lodge
Tuningi Safari Lodge, feature

Well-located in Madikwe's western sector, Tuningi Safari Lodge overlooks a small waterhole which attracts a large variety of wildlife – by day and by night. Exclusive luxury, excellent cuisine and superb hospitality will make your safari an experience to remember.

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Madikwe Hills Suite
Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge

Set on a hilltop in the heart of malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Hills Private Game Reserve is the essential 5-star safari lodge where the emphasis is on privacy, discreet and intuitive service and culinary excellence. It's the perfect safari choice for romantic getaways, corporate breakaways and special family gatherings.

Thakadu Game Drive 580X387
Thakadu River Camp

Thakadu River Camp has 12 luxurious safari tents on the banks of the Marico River, in the malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve. Thakadu is a wholly-owned, community-based project and an ecotourism success story. This exclusive, tented safari camp is situated in the far eastern part of Madikwe, in a good area for game viewing.

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