Madikwe was created from 300 square miles (75,000 hectares) of former farmland in South Africa’s North West Province, bordering Botswana. In 1991, Madikwe was the site of the largest game-relocation program in Africa, reintroducing 10,000 animals of 27 major species back into the reserve over a six-year period. The program has been hugely successful and game viewing is at its prime today. Madikwe is one of the best areas in Africa to see wild dogs and hosts the second largest population of elephants in South Africa after Kruger.

Depending on your itinerary, Madikwe can be a more convenient safari alternative to Kruger. It is driving distance from Johannesburg, easily combined with Botswana, and is malaria-free. The landscape is unique to Southern Africa with its open savannahs, giving it a very East African feel with some plains game that cannot be seen anywhere else in South Africa.

The downside to Madikwe is that it can get very crowded. All safari vehicles can roam freely throughout the reserve so it’s very likely that you’ll be sharing your sightings with other visitors. You’ll need excellent guides to provide you with the best game-viewing.

The best times of year for visiting Madikwe for both temperature and game viewing are April, May, and June and then September and October. Jaci’s Safari Lodge is our favorite property in Madikwe.

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Jenna Stockman