The area where Madikwe Game Reserve stands today was previously farming land used for farming cattle and arable agriculture. However, due to bad practices and general mismanagement, the farming culture in the area was largely unsuccessful.
Before Madikwe became an official reserve in 1991 and restocked with wildlife, work had already begun to remove many derelict farm structures, alien plant species and hundreds of kilometres of old fencing. In the spirit of regeneration, many of the original buildings have been repurposed into workshops. The original outposts are also currently used to house reserve staff and game scouts.
Although the land has since been opened to a few select private farms, and land owners are required to abide by park rules as there are still restrictions on where private vehicles can drive. Other new developments include the establishment of community lodges, which are run by local villages. The profits from these initiatives are used to uplift their communities.
As you see it today, Madikwe Game Reserve consists of vast open plains of woodlands and grasslands. The reserve is dissected by the rugged Rant van Tweedepoort and bordered by the Dwarsberg Mountains to the south. It has also been enclosed in a 150 km perimeter electric fence to prevent the escape of larger animals.
The famous Mafikeng road also cuts through Madikwe – a road known as a historical route used by traders, hunters, missionaries and explorers. King Mzilikazi of the Matabele tribe is also said to have passed through the Madikwe area many years ago on his way to expanding the Matabele Kingdom.
At 765 square kilometres, Madikwe is a substantial wildlife reserve tucked against the border with Botswana. Located just 20km from the capital Gaberone, the landscape is dominated by savanna and light woodland, with a plethora of escarpments and free-standing inselbergs. It also boasts a network of waterholes drained by the Marico River to the east.
Although it is much lesser known than Kruger National Park, Madikwe has the advantage of being non-malarial. It also receives less rain during the November to March green season, resulting in less heat and humidity over the same period. Since Madikwe Game Reserve is off-grid and less commercialised, it offers some of Africa's most exceptional high-value safari experiences.