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Safari Guide

A life of luxury in the Madikwe game reserve

A life of luxury in the Madikwe

The Madikwe game reserve is located in the North West province of South Africa, bordering Botswana. The fifth-largest game reserve in South Africa, Madikwe covers 75,000 hectares of land.

A relatively recent reserve, it became a National Park in 1992 on old agricultural land, and the variety of habitat including grassland, woodland, and high rocky hills, gives way to an equally diverse mix of species.

Elephants, Cape buffalo, black rhinos, white rhinos, and antelope were the first animals to be successfully introduced during Operation Phoenix – the largest relocation of wildlife by humans in history. These species were followed by lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, and Cape wild dogs – and counting the indigenous birds including ostrich, vultures, and the large kori bustard – gives a truly vast opportunity for wildlife spotting.

Madikwe is served by two local airstrips, making travelling to the area very easy. There are a number of lodges and camps available in Madikwe – but we’ve picked out a small selection.

Jamala Madikwe

The Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge


The Jamala Madikwe, Royal Safari Lodge, is a luxury, boutique lodge situated in the heart of the Madikwe game reserve. Combining personal service, the highest standard of modern accommodation, and luxurious surroundings, this is a residence fit for a king.

The villas feature private pools and shower areas, a dining area, and lounge with fireplace. Villas face the waterhole – so you can sit and watch wild elephants as you eat breakfast. Safaris occur twice daily, morning and afternoon, and is followed by award-winning gourmet dining in one of two restaurants before you relax in the open-air bar.

To see the local wildlife you don’t even need to leave the facility; a watchtower overlooks the plains and waterhole, or you can sit and watch from the comfort of a sofa – at a distance of only 20 metres. Alternatively, indulge in the spa for a day or use the gym, before cooling off in the pool while watching the animals roam the savannah.

Madikwe River Lodge

Madikwe River Lodge chapman freeborn

Photo by aha | aha Hotels & Lodges

On the banks of the Groot Mariko River bordering Limpopo, Madikwe River Lodge is a small collection of thatched luxury chalets, that blend perfectly into their surroundings. Suitable for parties of all sizes, there is a full range of amenities available, as well as private balconies overlooking the river, from which you can experience the full extent of the Madikwe reserve.

From the lodge, there are morning and afternoon safari drives every day, as well as a 1-hour drive for children before lunchtime, plus a bird safari. On request, game walks and bush walks are available too.

Each lodge is connected to a central dining boma situated next to the swimming pool, where you can relax in the evening while the hosts entertain you.

For more information on how we can help you with your travel requirements to Phinda, contact +27(0)10 447 8844 or email