Madikwe – Secret South Africa
While the Kruger is South Africa’s most famous national park, Madikwe Game Reserve is one of its unsung gems. Regarded as one of the country’s most successful conservation stories, this formerly semi-arid farmland in the north west, close to the Botswana border and its capital Gaborone, was designated in 1991 and is South Africa’s fifth largest wildlife reserve with 75,000 hectares of protected and re-wilded land.
Madikwe has excellent wildlife, with a good population of lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, wild dog, giraffe and so much more. The terrain is characterised by plains, hills and ridges, with plenty of grassland rather than thick bush, which makes the wildlife viewing better too.
Madikwe has a number of USPs, including easy access from Johannesburg and Gaborone and freedom from malaria. The reserve can be split into east and west, with a range of hills forming a bit of a natural barrier in the middle, and the two zones have a different flavour as a result.
Although the east is nearer to Johannesburg, the west is easier to get to thanks to the main road to Gaborone running past the entrance. With more lodges in the west and the occasional light pollution from Gaborone affecting the sense of wilderness, we prefer the eastern side where there are fewer visitors.
Among our favourites here is Jaci’s Safari Lodge, one of the first to offer superb family safaris and still one of the best for children. Sister property, Jaci’s Tree Lodge, where the elegant suites are raised into the tress on wooden stilts, lends itself to couples and families with older children.
In addition to lodges on the reserve itself, the Morukuru collection, hidden away on private land abutting the reserve’s eastern tip, comprises three wonderful private houses. Known as Farm House, Owner’s House and River House, each offers wonderful luxury, fabulous facilities including a pool, privacy, and flexibility, and unfettered access to the vast expanse of Madikwe. With the opportunities to walk, sleep out, do night drives, and bush meals, it adds so much to a wonderful safari for a family or friends travelling together.
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We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday that includes a malaria free safari, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa and travelled with their own children on malaria free family safaris. They can offer expert advice on the best malaria free destinations and recommend the right safari holiday for you. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.