Safari Game Drives
Away from Madikwe Game Reserve’s lodges and waterholes, your best chance of spotting wildlife is on a guided safari game drive.
Madikwe Game Reserve is vast – and its 80 000 hectares (more than 300 square miles) of safari wilderness are home to a wide variety of animals and birds. The reserve is home to the Big 5, with notable sightings of lion, buffalo, elephant, and white and black rhino as occasional sightings of the famously elusive leopard. But there’s so much more to encounter, from hippo to giraffe, Honey badger, aardvark, baboon, porcupine, warthog, bush baby, zebra, African wild dog, brown and spotted hyena, cheetah… as well as several antelope species, including eland, gemsbok, red hartebeest, tsessebe, springbok, duiker and klipspringer.
Every safari game drive is different, but there are a few general rules of the road. Typically, you’ll head out in the early morning or late afternoon. These are the coolest times of the day, when most animals are more active. Snacks – which feel more like feasts! – are provided throughout the drive.
Safari game drives in Madikwe Game Reserve usually last about 3 to 4 hours (although the length and distance will vary), with a break roughly midway. Those moments are among the highlights of your safari game drive, as you take in the vastness of the African landscape, enjoying coffee (traditionally with Amarula) in the mornings, and sundowner cocktails (usually G&T) in the evenings. This is the perfect time to soak in your surroundings, take photographs, and get to know your field guides.
Your driver will be an expert field guide (game ranger), who has a wealth of knowledge about the bush in general and Madikwe Game Reserve in particular. Trust their judgment, follow their advice, and be sure to ask them questions! On some safari game drives the field guide is accompanied by a tracker, who sits on a seat mounted on the hood of the vehicle. Their job is to help spot animals and their spoor (tracks).
Be sure to pack appropriate gear (including a camera and binoculars), and keep your eyes peeled for game. Day visitors cannot gain entry to Madikwe Game Reserve, and only lodge vehicles are allowed in the area. This creates a uniquely private experience for the reserve’s guests, enabling them to soak in the African landscape and enjoy the largely untamed wilderness.
Madikwe Game Reserve’s field guides are in radio contact with each other, sharing news about animal sightings. There’s an etiquette in Madikwe Game Reserve that ensures no more than three vehicles approach a sighting at a time. This avoids disturbing the wildlife, and avoids the traffic jams that occur in other reserves.
All Madikwe Game Reserve safari lodges offer guided safari game drives as part of their guest experience. Safari lodges that use both a field guide and tracker are: