Madikwe game Reserve, one of South Africa’s largest wildlife destinations, is located 90 kilometres north of the small commercial town of Zeerust in the North West Province of South Africa bordering Botswana. The reserve is spread over an area of 75,000 hectares and features a rich flora diversity. The game reserve has over 60 different mammal species and over nearly 300 avifauna species. However, it is the ‘Super Seven’ mammal species that make up the major attraction in the park (The Big Five including leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and hyena plus the cheetah and wild dogs). The entire reserve has been enclosed by electric fences to prevent animals from fleeing. In the early 1990s, the largest game translocation exercise (Operation Phoenix) was held at Madikwe game reserve when more than 8,000 animals were released here. Madikwe is known to be a malaria-free region. North West Parks Board, private sector and the local communities look after the operation of Madikwe. Day visitors are allowed to enter the reserve only if they book through a lodge prior to arrival.
The reserve maninly features vast plains of open woodlands and grasslands cut by the rugged rant van Tweede Poort mountains (home to the brown Hyena) and flanked by the Dwarsberg Mountains in the south. The area is marked by huge rocky hills.
Winter prevails from May to September during which the weather remains dry with night temperature dipping down to only 2 degree Centigrade. The day time temperature too hovers around 22 degree Centigrade around this time. On the other hand, monsoon prevails from October to April. Rainfall is highest between November and February. Weather is hot and humid during this time (average temperature around 31 degree Centigrade).
Animals at Madikwe
As a result of Operation Phoenix, Madwike is home to a great diversity of mammals including: African elephant, hippopotamus, wild buffalo, rhinoceros, African wild cat, wild dogs, leopard, giraffe, mongoose, Cape clawless otter, springboks, baboon, Cape hare, spotted hyena and others.
Birds at Madikwe
Besides the maamls, Midwike is also home to a great many number of avifauna species like: Cape vulture, black breasted snake eagle, Kori Bustard, Secretary bird, Martial Eagle, Violeteared Waxbill and others.
Madwike wild dogs
Madwike dogs (also called Cape Hunting Dogs) are wild hunting dogs that are known for their ferocious killing style. These animals live and travel in packs (each pack consists 10-15 animals) and hunt in the morning and evening. These dogs have tremendous eyesight, even sharper than their smelling sense. They operate in a well-coordinated manner and perfectly complement each other while hunting down their preys. Although short in size, these dogs can devour their preys in minutes. All animals, big or small avoid these dangerous hunters. Midwike dogs are generally 70 centimeters high and weigh 27 kilograms on an average. Their average lifespan is 10 years. The carnivorous animals have large rounded ears, white-tipped bushy tail and botched black, yellow and shaggy white coat.
After killing their prey, the adults first let their young ones eat. The adults even clean the juniors. Hyenas and leopards are easily driven off from kill by a pack of dogs.
They prefer open terrain like semi-desert, plains and open savanna woodland for these areas facilitate them to locate their preys and pounce upon them. However, these dogs are increasingly becoming rare, the reason might be attributed to frequent struggle with other mighty predators. In 1995 a group of dogs were released in Madwike Game Reserve to make up for the decline. Besides in Midwike in South Africa, these wild dogs are found in various game reserves in countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and others.
How to reach Madwike: Madwike is just 28 kilometres from the Gaborone Airport in Botswana. Among South African cities, Zeerust is just 100 kilometres from Madwike while Johannesburg and Pretoria are 360 and 400 kilometres from Madwike, respectively. Daily air service operates from Johannesburg International Airport to Madwike Game Reserve. Besides, road service is also available to reach Madwike from various South African cities.
- Exciting games drives in the morning and evening in open landrovers
- Guided safari walks
- Night safaris with powerful spotlights
Accommodation in Madwike
- Jaci’s Tree Lodge
- Madwike Hills
- Morukuru Lodge
- Jamala Madwike Royal Safari Lodge
- Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge
- Thakadu River Camp
- Thuningi Safari Lodge