Madikwe is testimony to a truly enlightened conservation plan which has created this exceptional wildlife reservation for the preservation of a unique wilderness area of Kalahari thornveld in one of the more remote regions of South Africa. Madikwe is host to almost every game species including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. About 250 species of birds have been recorded at Madikwe, which is a transition zone between the Kalahari thornveld and bushveld ecological regions of Southern Africa.
To enter Madikwe is to stand at the very threshold of wilderness Africa. This is a near-perfect ecological environment where every plant, animal and insect forms an essential part of an intricate web of survival. Here, life and death are complementary for the continued existence of the natural system where man is reminded that his very existence through the ages has been rooted in such an intricate design. Madikwe has been developed to provide a highly personal experience for the visitor. The park is open to guests who have a wide choice of accommodation options at the many safari camps located throughout the park. Day and night drives in open safari vehicles form an essential part of any visit to the park, and these are guided by experienced rangers whose knowledge will greatly enhance the overall wildlife experience.
'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.' 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. A recent study done by the Japanese government identified five key sites in Sun City, Pilanesberg and Madikwe as 'areas with the most tourism potential.
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. The market from nearby Gaborone is also key to the Madikwe area, visitors often pop over the border for the weekend.
Madikwe River Lodge is one of the first lodges built in the region. The view from the lodge over the Marico River and its almost tropical forest is absolutely breathtaking. Another drawing card of the area is the cultural pull. Madikwe is an area steeped in legend and has a fascinating history that dates back to the Stone Age.