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Covering an area of 620 km², Madikwe Game Reserve is an impressive piece of Marico Bushveld, recently proclaimed and managed as a cooperative venture between Northwest Parks & Tourism Board, the community, and private enterprise. It is situated close to the Derdepoort border post on the Northwest Province's border with Botswana. Due to the size of the area, a minimum of two days is required to see a fair cross-section of the species which are present in Madikwe.

A weekend visit during the summer months may be expected to render 190 to 210 species out of the 313 species recorded to date, and during the winter months 120 to 130 species can be expected. Besides good birding, one is likely to encounter a fair range of Africa's larger fauna, including Lion, Cheetah and Leopard, Elephant, White and Black Rhino and Buffalo. The area is also of great cultural interest, with the old school building where Herman Charles Bosman taught in the reserve, and the outline of Abjaterskop looming just beyond the western boundary.

No day visitors are allowed in the reserve. Only residents at the various lodges may enter the reserve.



Madikwe is a good place to see many dry north-western species. Yellow-throated Sandgrouse are resident on the plains, and are usually present in large numbers. Other species which are regularly recorded on the plains include Kori Bustard, Temminck's Courser and White Stork. Both Double-banded Courser and Burchell's Courser have also been recorded, and Bronze-winged Courser is a regular summer visitor to the wooded areas. Southern Pied Babbler is always present, but is frequently heard rather than seen due to the dense bush. Barred Wren-Warbler can also be relied on to show, so long as one is familiar with the almost supersonic call.



The predominant habitat is typical dry acacia woodland, with severe Dichrostachys encroachment in many areas. Other habitats include old cultivated lands (the so-called Madikwe Plains), riverine bush, koppies, and both small and large bodies of water. A section of the Molatedi Dam falls within the reserve boundaries, although this section has not yet been incorporated into the fenced area of the reserve.



Guided game viewing drives, walks and night drives are conducted by the various lodge and camp operators, using the extensive network of roads which has been developed. Independent movement within the park is not permitted at the time of writing, but there are plans to open a section to day visitors and overnight campers in future.



A visit to the Madikwe Plains is a must during the early morning or late afternoon, where many of the specials are to be found. Following good rains, large numbers of Common Quail and Harlequin Quail are to be seen, as well as good numbers of Kurrichane Buttonquail. Corn Crake has also been recorded in wet years. Access may however be difficult at these times, due to the predominance of heavy black clay in the area. Large numbers of Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark are usually present, as well as Melodious Lark, Red-capped Lark, and Rufous-naped Lark, with Grey-backed Sparrowlark making an occasional appearance. There are 3 seasonal pans on the Plains, which are excellent spots at any time of day, but particularly in the evening and early morning when the sandgrouse congregate.

The Marico River north of Madikwe River Lodge is fringed by dense bush thickets and tall riverine vegetation and is a good place for exercising one's warbler identification skills. Icterine Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Garden Warbler and Common Whitethroat are among the species that occur. This is also a good place to look for African Finfoot.

Madikwe is a good place for raptors. Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Verreauxs' Eagle, African Fish-Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle and African Hawk-Eagle, as well as Black-chested Snake-Eagle and Brown Snake-Eagle are all regularly sighted, with Steppe Eagle and Lesser Spotted Eagle infrequent visitors. White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture and Cape Vulture are also usually seen. Montagu's Harrier is occasionally seen hunting over the Plains, as are Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Gabar Goshawk and other Accipiters.

A visit to the Molatedi Dam wall, which is outside the park, is often rewarded with good sightings of various raptors, especially during migration seasons.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater are regularly seen at Tshukudu and other dams during the summer months, while Swallow-tailed Bee-eater regularly frequent the open woodland areas.

Southern Pied Babbler and Barred Wren-Warbler are commonest in the central and eastern parts of the reserve, and are found in similar habitat to the colourful Green-winged Pytilia, firefinches and waxbills.

Seedeaters are well represented in all parts of the reserve. All 5 species of Southern African sparrow are resident, four bunting species, as well as Pin-tailed Whydah, Shaft-tailed Whydah and Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah. A visit to any of the waterholes on the plains during the hot part of the day should be rewarded by good sightings of these and many other seed and insect eaters.



Directions to the reserve should be obtained on booking accommodation. No day visitors are allowed in the reserve. Only residents at the various lodges may enter the reserve.

Accommodation is available in the area.

Madikwe Game Reserve
Tel: + 27 18 350 9931/2 Fax: +27 18 350 9933

Madikwe Game Reserve Website

Details updated 2002
Peter Irons and Markus Hofmeyr 1998

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