The malaria-free Madikwe is one of the prime game reserves of South Africa and is particularly known for its wild dog sightings & family safaris.


Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the best malaria-free wildlife reserves in South Africa. It lies north-west of Johannesburg in the wide open plains of bushveld, close to the Botswana border. If you are looking for a malaria-free safari in South Africa, then Madikwe should be top of your list. It offers quality game-viewing, excellent safari lodges, as well as a true African ambience.

The malaria free Madikwe Reserve is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa at 75,000ha. Plus it boasts a healthy wildlife population with plenty of the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo). You may also be lucky enough to see packs of wild dog on a Madikwe safari, a rare and privileged sighting. Given its open savanna terrain, Madikwe offers plenty of elephant, lions and plains game including sable, gemsbok, springbok and giraffe, even cheetah. Plus over 360 recorded bird species.

Whether you are a honeymoon couple, or a family, there are plenty of lodges to suit all tastes. Some Madikwe lodges are offered as ‘Safari Houses’ on an exclusive use basis. This is ideal for a group of friends or a larger family party.

Madikwe is not the most accessible of game reserves. As it is a 4+ hour drive from Johannesburg. But you can opt to fly-in and out instead. Or why not combine a Madikwe safari with the Marakele National Park in the same broad area. There are also (pricey) seat-in charter flights combining Madikwe with the Greater Kruger Park.


Why you may love it

  • Malaria free Big Five game reserve
  • Excellent Wild Dog sightings
  • Wide variety of lodges to choose from
  • Superb Family Safari programmes with fun activities such as identifying spore, frog hunts, kid’s game drives

When to visit Madikwe

November to March

Summer rainfall

Madikwe shares a Summer rainfall climate with the rest of the northern part of South Africa, Typically the rains start in November. The rains are heaviest in January and February but usually take the form of late afternoon or evening downpours which are actually welcome as it cools the air and keeps everything lush and green. Temperatures are hot and humid during the day and stay warm in the evening and night. This is not the best season for safari as the bush is lush and verdant so it’s harder to spot the game. Plus animals don’t need to come to rivers and waterholes so much to drink. However birding is excellent and the game-viewing is still reasonable within the private game reserves.
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 19 ℃ / 66 ℉

April to May

Dry season

This is the start of the dry season and the safari season. By the end of March the rains have stopped, making game-viewing much easier. The landscape is still green and lush but grasses start dying down. The sunsets are superb as the skies are clearer. Nights are cooler but still very pleasant to eat outside though this starts to change in May.
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 9 ℃ / 48 ℉

June to July

Still the dry season

Traditionally this is the best time to visit as the dry season continues. The bush is less dense and the animals flock to the waterholes to drink. Daytime temperatures are pleasant (20-22C). But nights can be very cold, because of the altitude. So you will need to have warm clothing once the sun sets. Mornings on the game drive vehicle can be cold so pack warm clothing.
MAX TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉
MIN TEMP 4 ℃ / 39 ℉

August to October

Getting warmer

It starts to warm up again from August onwards. Thought this is technically Spring it is actually just the end of the dry season. So it is the perfect time for safari. The temperatures heat up nicely in September and October prior to the start of the summer rains which usually start in November. However October can bring some early heralding showers.
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 16 ℃ / 61 ℉

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Milandi’s review of Tuningi Safari Lodge, Madikwe

Heidi has been at Tuningi for 14 years with her husband (both ex Kings Camp in the Timbavati) and she is a great host. The property has a real ‘home away from home’ feel and you get the impression nothing is a problem. I loved its relaxed atmosphere. And as with a number of other Madikwe lodges, it offers a great family safari option.

Pros: Stunning hide near waterhole with nice lunch / dinner spot under trees,  Kids play area and good kids safari programme.

The two-bedroom suites are great for either families or 2 couples sharing. It is a good option for families with smaller kids as it is fenced,

Tuningi is a good option for both families and couples, and manages to get the mix right.

Cedarberg : Milandi Joubert
Did you know
  • SizeThe Madikwe Game Reserve is 680km2
  • Birding350 bird species are recorded within the park

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Sonja Brand

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Sonja, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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