Situated in a malaria-free zone, just four hours to the north-west of Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa, stretching over 75 000 hectares.
The reserve was once a barren wasteland, but due to concerted efforts to rehabilitate the area it has flourished once again. It is now home to a diverse fauna and flora including 300 different bird and 66 mammal species, including the Big-Five. In the early 90's Operation Phoenix began to restore this area by relocating 8000 animals to the park. One of the park's biggest success stories was that of the Wild Dog rehabilitation program, which helped to bring the Wild Dog population back from the brink of extinction.
The reserve is open only to those staying at one of the many lodges in the park. Game rangers will take you on guided tours of this wonderful reserve, allowing you to learn about and experience the wild in peace. Choose from one of 16 lodges ranging in style from modern and stylish, to traditional bush-style lodges.
We take a look at two of the great lodges to choose from. For more options go to Accommodation: Madikwe Game Reserve.
Tau Game Lodge
The Tau Game Lodge is a luxury safari lodge with 30 rustic chalets that allow visitors to relax and enjoy the beauty of the bush. Privately owned Tau Game Lodge was built in 1995 and overlooks a vast natural waterhole, which attracts a variety of game, as does the diverse vegetation which thrives in the fertile topsoil. The lodge was designed to reflect the natural surroundings and makes use of the natural resources wherever possible.
The main body of the Lodge is two-leveled and has a comfortable lounge, conference facilities and a bar and dining-room which are semi open-air and overlook the waterhole.
The lodge is decorated with unusual African artefacts, masks and large rugs decorate the high-ceilinged foyer and vivid animal-print fabrics brighten the settees in the bar. Delicious buffet breakfasts and lunches are generally served in the main building or on the verandah alongside the plunge pool, while dinner is served in a cosy boma under the stars.
The décor and furnishings are Africa-inspired and the rooms are equipped with both air-conditioning and ceiling fans. The 30 rustic thatched chalets are spread out in U-formation on either side of the lodge, offering excellent views of animals approaching the water from the opposite bank.
Each chalet has its own wooden deck, which allows one to experience the bush in privacy and is equipped with an en-suite bathroom and open-air shower. There are also inter-leading suites available - perfect for couples travelling together or for families.
Madikwe River Lodge
Right in the heart of the reserve, the Madikwe River Lodge invites you to share the wildness and splendour of Mother Africa in exquisite comfort. Surrounded by 75 000 hectares of African sandveld, this luxurious lodge is ideally positioned on the Groot Marico river.
The lodge offers comfortable accommodation in 16 secluded split-level thatched chalets set in the cool tranquillity of a riverine forest. Each chalet is individually decorated to create a rich African feel, and offer an en-suite bathroom and shower with a full range of guest amenities, ceiling fans, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, and a private wooden viewing deck overlooking the river. Luxury Suite features include a separate lounge area and an outside shower.
Madikwe River Lodge is a child-friendly establishment, and offers six family rooms, with twin beds and an additional sleeper couch. Cots are available on request.
Game viewing is Madikwe's main activity, and the reserve is the fourth largest game reserve in South Africa and boasts the second largest Elephant population. Game Drives and Bush Walks are conducted daily by our excellent rangers, and although children under the age of 8 years are not permitted on the standard game drives, at Madikwe River Lodge specialised Children's Drives are offered.
Outdoor catering is a main part of life at Madikwe River Lodge, and, weather permitting, meals are usually served outdoors. Dinner is served in our Island Boma or in the lodge dining room; lunch is served on the main lodge deck; whilst breakfast is served in the dining room or outdoor deck. The summer months allow for the added experience of Bush Dinners, which can be arranged on request.