South Africa Family Safari & Beach Holiday
The ideal South Africa safari choice for families with young children, this itinerary prioritises ease, comfort and fun for little ones and their parents.
Spread over 750 square kilometres of wilderness, Madikwe Game Reserve is located in the northwest of South Africa close to the border of Botswana. With much fewer visitors than both the Kruger and Eastern Cape reserves, this malaria-free safari destination is under-explored and therefore offers a much more exclusive experience.
Consisting of vast plains of both woodland and grassland, the reserve is bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains. Madikwe’s healthy wildlife population is a result of an enormous game relocation of roughly 8,000 animals which took place in the 1990’s to re-establish this area of arid farmland. The reserve is home to the Super Seven – the Big 5 plus the endangered cheetah and African wild dog.
Easily accessible by car from Johannesburg in only five hours, Madikwe is a great choice for all types of discerning travellers, including families. Whilst the density of wildlife is sparser than some of South Africa’s more well-known areas, the safaris are packed full of exciting information and are often more rewarding. Learn how to track big cats and follow in the footsteps of the gentle giants. Many camps also offer bush walks led by an armed guide. These generally focus on some of the smaller things from termites to birds and provide a fascinating insight into the ecosystem of the bushveld.
Steeped in history, the Madikwe region has been celebrated in the books of the renowned South African author Herman Charles Bosman. In addition, the famed warrior Mzilikazi and many traders, missionaries and explorers including David Livingstone and Sir Cornwallis Harris have passed through. The game reserve is run by the North West Parks Board in collaboration with both the private sector and local communities.
We recommend visiting Madikwe during the dry season (June-October) when the bush is less dense allowing for better viewing of animals. The cooler temperatures are much more comfortable and the animals tend to collect around the waterholes, making it slightly easier to spot what you are looking for. November to May brings the rains, turning the bush a vibrant green and attracting an influx of migratory birds. The scenery is stunning at this time of year and newborn animals are in abundance, but this thick greenery and excess water can make game viewing a little tricky.
Madikwe Game Reserve is a great feature on our Madikwe and Zanzibar Bush & Beach break. In addition, it’s an easy choice for self-drivers and families looking for a comfortable Big 5 safari in a malaria-free area. Get in touch to add Madikwe to your tailor-made trip.
Our trips featuring Madikwe include staying at Jaci’s Lodges, which offer luxury accommodation for every type of safari-goer and is particularly family-orientated. Perched on the banks of the Marico River, it is located in one of the prime positions in Madikwe for excellent game viewing.