Madikwe Game Reserve
Created from farmland in South Africa’s North West Province, Madikwe was the site of the largest game-relocation program in Africa, reintroducing 10,000 animals of 27 major species back into the reserve over a six-year period. The program has been hugely successful and game viewing is at its prime today. Madikwe is one of the best areas in Africa to see wild dogs, hosts the second largest population of elephants in South Africa, and features some plains game that cannot be seen in the country’s other parks.
Depending on your itinerary, Madikwe can be a more convenient safari alternative to Kruger. It is driving distance from Johannesburg, easily combined with Botswana, and is malaria-free. The landscape is a unique corner of South Africa featuring open savanna, a towering escarpment, and red clay dirt reminiscent of Australia’s Red Center which also makes for a nice combination with a bushier park like Kruger or Phinda’s 7 different ecosystems.
The only negative we can muster about Madikwe is that due to some clustering of lodges, sightings can be a bit crowded. As with every park, there are rules regarding the number of vehicles that can be on a sighting at any one time, but you’ll find vehicles congregating here more than in other safari parks because all safari vehicles can roam freely throughout the reserve. You’ll need excellent guides to provide you with the best game-viewing away from others.
The best times of year for visiting Madikwe for both temperature and game viewing are April-June and September-October.