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How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

Oakland California
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How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

I've been on Safari's in Namibia, Kruger and Timbavati. I am planning a safari with some other young travellers. We are on a budget but want to stay in cabins not camping b/c of the Feb weather. Can anyone tell me if the game viewing is as good at Madikwe as Kruger? Thnaks so much for your help! -Jessica

Paw Safaris
Photography Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours, Multi-day Tours, Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Hoedspruit, South...
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1. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

Madikwe is great especially for wild dog sightings.

Zagreb, Croatia
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2. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

We stayed twice in Madikwe last year, both times at Impodimo Game Lodge, one at the end of January and the second time in early August, so we got to see it in both wet and dry seasons. We flew from Johannesburg the first time and drove the second. Driving (apart from being a hell of a lot cheaper) was also more interesting - basically a chance to see a lot of rural SA and the roads are pretty good.

The key thing with Madikwe is that it is private, so you don't get the "mass attack of the jeeps" which can take place if interesting game is sighted in the Kruger (not to mention the ugly scenes in Kenya!). The lodges follow a protocol of the first jeep to arrive has exclusive rights until it allows another jeep in, and so on. The net is that the biggest crowd is 2 jeeps.

Madikwe doesn't teem with game (say like Masai Mara) but has plenty, and the park is so peaceful (I guess because it is private) that you can get a real "one on one" feel in encounters with the game. There are some really good waterholes for watching elephant, rhinos etc. A few highlights: a night drive which first had an entire pride of lions walk around our jeep (could have literally reached down and touched some of them); also at night, following two male lions cross country as they hunted (quite exciting in the dark); being charged by a bull elephant in must (exciting!) and, a pack of (rare) wild dogs chowing down on a freshly-killed Wildebeest. We didn't visit the river, so I don't know what it has. One other point - the park itself is almost achingly beautiful (which Kruger isn't).

I would also be happy to strongly recommend Impodimo - it is managed directly by the owner (who also lives there - his wife manages the "hotel" side of the operation). Steve (the owner) also does quite a lot of the game drives himself - he is ex-Kruger and vastly knowledgable about the game (my daughter talked to him for hours in the course of the drives). Accomodation is luxe lodge, there is a pool (cold in Winter), food is great and an excellent wine cellar (which to us was so cheap as to seem almost free - so we had a lot!). The web site is www.impodimo.com - it isn't cheap (!!) but I would also say good value.

Madikwe Game...
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3. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

Hi Jessica

We're SOuth African and do the bush quite often - mainly Kruger and Pilanesburg, and now MADIKWE - Madikwe is stunning!!

Stayed at Mosetlha Bush Camp a nuimber of times - right in the middle of Madikwe Game Reserve. Rustic, intimate and Affordable - about a thousand rand a night. Excellent rangers. Decent food. Comfortable accommodation.

A couple of distinct advantages that Madikwe offers:

Malaria free

Close to Johannesburg (max 4 hours drive)

No private vehicles crashing into or hogging sightings - this means all game viewing is done only by the lodge jeeps. This makes for superior game viewing (you'll often see big five animals about 2 mietres away (your rangers are seriously good and you feel safe!) - they have the Big Five - black and white rhino + lions (loads!!) + elephants + leopard + buffalo - and also wild dog, cheetah, hyena and all the other prerdators.

Very special reserve, started in 1991 (look at www.thebushcamp.com for all the history), Operation Phoenicx bringing in loads of big game, supporting the local communities, no poaching ... all that good stuff!.

My recommendation, undoubtedly, MADIKWE GAME RESERVE in the North West Province.

SOUTH AFRICA
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4. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

Madikwe is a great reserve, offering excellent game viewing. Your chances of seeing leopard aren't that great, as leopard sightings in Madikwe are still few and far between (in comparisson to the Timbavati and Sabi Sand lodges where leopard sightings are offered on almost every drive). Don't know how young your fellow travellers are, but if they are very young, then a great plus would be the fact that Madikwe is malaria free! There are numerous lodges that I can recommend - if you're looking for a very affordable option, try Mosethla Bush Camp. "Medium" priced lodges are Tuningi Safari Lodge, Madikwe River Lodge and as a previous poster mentioned, Impodimo.

5. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

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6. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

I fully agree with Peter Wild Life: the Kruger is still the real thing and I will not consider Madikwe in the same light.

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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7. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

I'm no fan of Madikwe either. I took 2 groups there - stayed at a fabulous place, Jaci's - but it really does still look like farm land that has been stocked with wildlife. At least to me. A better choice for diverse wildlife, I think, would be finding a moderately priced place in one of the reserves outside Kruger.

Madikwe Game...
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8. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

I am (and this doesn't happen very often) completely speechless at the negative views of MAdikwe from PeterWildlife, Mike Lee and BwanaDave - whilst Madikwe was indeed originally four farms in Bophutatswana, they were bought up by Bop Parks Board, who did a careful and in depth environmental impact analysis on the land and came up with the Madikwe concept - a project highly regarded by conservationists world wide. Madikwe game Reserve was formed in 1991 as the FOURTH LARGEST GAME RESERVE IN SOUTH AFRICA. It's not just a couple of old farms, cobbled together and stocked with a few impala and warthog!! OPERATION PHOENIX, the first project of its kind introducing a world record 16000 head of large mammals into the area, was responsible for stocking the reserve with ALL SOUTH AFRICAN MAMMALS, including the BIG FIVE, WILD DOG and cheetah. In addition to all of this, their bird list boasts 340 species ... this is not some MIckey Mouse spot where you play on safari, Madikwe holds its own amongst the best game viewing areas in Southern Africa - and don't underestimate the pull of it being a malaria free area, or the fact that there are no tourist vehicles crashing around this pristine area, trashing animal sightings and the delicate ecology alike.

But if malaria, tar roads, speed bumps and visitors racing around like lunatics, hanging (or getting) out of their vehicles and showing scant regard for your enjoyment of sightings is what you're looking for, obviously Madikwe is not for you!

9. Re: How does Madikwe compare to other parks?

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