Our operations team paid a recent visit to Madikwe Private Game Reserve to get a good understanding of the area.  Madikwe is situated in the North Western Province, along the Botswana border. It is 750 km square (75,000 hectare) of reclaimed farmland, established in 1991. It is the country’s 5th largest game reserve and specialises in wild dog, but has all the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo). Madikwe encroaches on the Kalahari Desert, and is very dry. Access is by road; it is a four hour drive from Johannesburg and 2 hours from Sun City, or air, with Federal Air offering scheduled charters. Our team flew up with Federal Air departing from Johannesburg at 12h00 to Madikwe, with the return flight being at 13h30 every day. It is a mere one hour flight from Johannesburg. There are two airstrips. The Western Airstrip is basic and can accommodate maximum a 12-seater Caravan, the other being the Eastern Airstrip, which is tarred and has a building for arrivals, with toilet facilities. It can also take a maximum 12-seater Caravan.  There are over 20 lodges in the area, some are privately owned by corporates or for personal use only.

Madikwe map

Most of the group-friendly lodges are located in the East, with the furthest lodge being 35 minutes transfer from the airstrip. In fact combining Madikwe Safari Lodge (20 suites), Makanyane Safari Lodge (8 suites), Madikwe Hills Safari Lodge (10 suites), Mateya Safari Lodge (5 suites), Jamala Royal Safari Lodge (8 bedrooms), and Molori Safari Lodge (5 suites) one could get a total of 56 rooms in close proximity to each other.  Etali Game Lodge (8 rooms) and Jaci’s Camp (16 rooms) could be used for overflow.

This is a non-malaria area, a definite plus! The team were very impressed with the quality of the lodges, most of which are luxury 5* properties. More importantly the quality of the game viewing has improved considerably. Madikwe Game Reserve is without doubt establishing itself as a renowned safari region, to rival the Sabi Sands and other Kruger National Park lodges.

It is possible to do joint dinners if the group is spread over more than one lodge, but this is dependent on final numbers, lodges chosen and weather conditions