Saturday, July 7, 2007

Madikwe Game Reserve

In 1992, Madikwe Game Reserve, created from 75,000 ha of farmland, which had been extensively degraded by overgrazing, was chosen as the site of Operation Phoenix. The government-sponsored, biggest-ever game- relocation programme in Africa involved re-stocking and conserving flora and wildlife, which had long since disappeared from the region. Ten thousand animals of 27 major species, including wild dog, cheetah, lion, white and black rhino, buffalo and elephant, have been re-introduced to the Reserve over a six year period with animals coming from various reserves and breeding centres and game viewing is now at its prime.
(Northwest Parks has adhered to a strict policy of introducing only those species, which once occurred naturally in the area).

The name of Operation Phoenix is appropriate: like the mythical bird that burnt itself to a crisp on the pyre and then rose from the ashes to live again with new vigour, nature has regained a stronghold on the land and the programme has been hugely successful.
Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the country’s fourth largest game reserve. It is situated in the North West Province and is bordered by Botswana in the north, the spectacular Dwarsberg Mountains to the south, the Marico river to the east.
A special feature of Madikwe lies in its unique location, a transition zone on the edges of the Kalahari, where a number of rare species occur naturally.
Madikwe is regarded as one of the finest conservation areas in Africa, offering all the major species, including lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, both white and black rhino along with almost all the plains antelope species. The climate is generally mild to hot, but winter nights can be cold. The birdlife is spectacular and it is also one of the few reserves in South Africa that is malaria free.

Madikwe is already seen as one of the country's new South Africa success stories in the area of upliftment and poverty eradication. 'What the Madikwe model says is that conservation is about people. You need to place people at the centre, that's the only way conservation can work'
'The development of Madikwe is all about stimulating local economic development. We need to attract investment and provide jobs and that's our aim in this part of the world.
Another exciting development on the cards for North West province is the development of the 'Heritage Park' conservation corridor that will join Madikwe and Pilanesberg.This proposed conservation estate will allow a bigger migration space for animals, creating a prime eco-tourism destination. The initiative is a 20-year project culminating in linking up with Limpopo province and Botswana.

Fully catered accommodation is offered at several world class 5 five star lodges within the reserve:

Etali Safari Lodge
Tuningi Lodge
Rhulani Safari Lodge
Tau Game Lodge

Jacki's Safari Lodge Jacki's Tree Lodge
Madikwe River Lodge
Madikwe Safari Lodge
Mateya Safari Lodge
Royal Madikwe Lodge
Mateya Safari Lodge
Madikwe Hills
Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge

Impodimo Lodge

How to get there
From Johannesburg travel to the Hartebesspoort Dam, Rustenburg and continue with the N4 to Swartruggens and then Zeerust. From here take the R505 to the Abjagterskop Gate of Madikwe Game Reserve. This is approximately 350km and is a very pleasant three and a half hour drive.

There are two scheduled flights a day between Madikwe and Johannesburg International Airport. This 40 minute flight is the easiest and most popular way to get to Madikwe. Because the flight is so short chartering aircraft is another popular and convenient way to get to madikwe.