The Malaria Free Madikwe Game Reserve is a Wilderness Haven
The 75 000 hectare Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the few reserves in southern Africa which is Malaria Free. Located in South Africa along the Botswana border and 20 kilometres from Gabarone, the reserve lies within a transition region between lowveld bushveld and the Kalahari thornveld. As a result the region is host to a tremendous diversity of fauna and flora including the black and white rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog.
Geographically the region has enormous volcanic intrusions known as Inselbergs, wide open plains and the riverine environment along the Marico River in the east of the reserve.
Once farm land (up until 1991), the Reserve has now been restored to its former natural environment with 86 mammals (from mice to elephant), 420 bird species (110 being rare) and 104 tree species.
The entire Madikwe Game Reserve has been enclosed in a 150km perimeter fence which has been electrified to prevent the escape of elephants and the larger predators. There are several entrances to the Reserve, namely the gates of Abjaterskop, Wonderboom, Tau, Derdepoort and Molatedi.
The Madikwe Game Reserve is managed by the North West Parks and Tourism Board (NWPTB), which was formerly the Bophuthatswana National Parks, a conservation organisation that is well known for its pioneering approach to people-based wildlife conservation which it has practised since the late 1970s.
WILD DOGS OF THE MADIKWE
Wild Dogs, also known as Painted Wolves, were once called Cape Hunting Dogs. The Wild Dog is the largest of the wild canids in Africa and is now one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores. It is estimated that less than 5,000 Wild Dogs still survive in the wild and viable populations are only found in larger reserves and uninhabited areas in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Wild Dogs are extremely gregarious animals and are usually found in packs of between five and fifteen members. Each pack has a clearly defined social hierarchy and is led by a dominant (or alpha) male and female. Working together in these highly organised units, the Wild Dog is an effective predator, capable of bringing down prey as large as Buffalo. They are also able to defend themselves against their natural enemies, Lions and Spotted Hyenas.
The bonds between all the members of the pack are very strong, all the dogs cooperate in caring for and feeding any pups as well as any sick or injured members of the pack.
In most packs only the dominant (alpha) male and female successfully reproduce. Although persecution by man, susceptibility to diseases such as rabies, and diminishing natural areas have all taken their toll on Africa’s Wild Dog population, there is now a concerted effort to conserve and protect these fascinating animals.
In December 1994, as part of the huge game translocation operation called Operation Phoenix, wild dogs were relocated into the Madikwe Game Reserve. Three female dogs, captive bred at a breeding station for rare and endangered species, were put into an enclosure in the reserve with three male dogs captured just outside the Kruger National Park. The six animals formed a new pack and were then released into the reserve. The project was resoundingly successful and today the Madikwe Game Reserve has a viable and thriving population of Wild Dogs.
Words cannot express the
beauty of the animals in
One of the best things about
Tuningi and the Madikwe
Reserve is its exclusivity.
...we saw a large variety and
number of differing animals,
birds and butterflies.
Amazing birdlife everywhere
and the waterhole is a great spot
to sit back and relax between
drives, as you never know
who will stop by.
The elephants, at times,
were only feet from us.
Madikwe is a great park.
It’s big enough to have a
complete Eco-system and
all the animals, but small
enough that you don’t feel
crowded by other visitors.
There were so many high points
- the wild dog puppies, the pride
of lions, the wild dogs hunting,
the lion cubs, a herd of elephants
and both types of rhino.