We want to draw your focus to one of South Africa’s lesser-known reserves, Madikwe. This relatively new reserve – established in 1991, exactly 30 years ago – it has made remarkable steps forward in its ecology and wildlife conservation. Once farmland to the local people, the land has been bought back to its natural forms from years gone by and it has come on leaps and bounds in all capacities since it was founded. Located in the Northern region of South Africa, bordering Botswana, it has mild to hot summers (between November to March) with warm winters that have cold nights (June to August). The eco-system is mainly dry bushland crossed with desert, as it borders the Kalahari Desert. Madikwe Game Reserve is a hidden jewel and is the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa and is bursting with wildlife. Several rare species pop up in Madikwe, as it covers the natural transition zone between the Kalahari and bushveld. Madikwe is home to lion, leopard, huge herds of elephant, buffalo, white and black rhino as well as many different antelope species. One of the best species Madikwe has a huge pack of wild dog, which really is something to see. On top of all these fabulous mammal species, is the bird population, with over 350 species of birds, making this a paradise for birders!

Properties we would recommend staying at in Madikwe would have to start with Molori. Molori Safari Lodge is in a remote part of Madikwe which offers exclusive game viewing all whilst enjoying wonderful views of the Dwarsberg Mountains. Madikwe is well known for being one of the best places in Africa for wild dog and we’re not surprised – this reserve is a haven for wildlife. Molori is heavily involved in helping the park with rhino conservation. The suites are heaven and have floor to ceiling glass walls which are easily retractable. There are two presidential suites, which can cater for those wanting utter privacy throughout. The food at Molori is unbelievable as well, whether it be breakfast, lunch or supper, the food is superb and full of flavour, with excellent wine pairings as well.

Our second property we recommend would be Jamala Madikwe. A wonderful owner run property with superb staff, always there to help and the perfect balance of comfort and pure luxury. Jamala Madikwe offers a very personal and warm service and has panoramic views of Madikwe. The lodge is situated beneath an old canopy of Leadwood Trees and the adjacent watering hole attracts tonnes of wildlife. At Jamala Madikwe they urge you to indulge in one of their favourite lodge activities – sofa safaris. It literally is was it says on the tin; gin and tonic in hand, settle back into one of the sumptuous sofas in the main mess area and sit back and enjoy the rolling wildlife that meanders down to the watering hole and perhaps Rodney (one of the owners) may join you and regale stories of Madikwe’s past – he is full of fascinating knowledge and you can’t help but listen, enchanted to him. The villas at Jamala Madikwe are incredibly spoiling and due to the small size of the lodge you can guarantee your whole safari will be tailored just for you.