The Game Reserve

Madikwe - South African Private Game Reserve

Aireal view of the Lodge... Tau Game Lodge is part of a unique wildlife project.

Madikwe, a South African private game reserve created in 1991 from 75,000 ha of farmland, which had been extensively degraded by overgrazing, was chosen as the site of Operation Phoenix. The government-sponsored, biggest-ever game- relocation programme in Africa involved re-stocking and conserving flora and wildlife, which had long since disappeared from the region.

Ten thousand animals of 27 major species, including wild dog, cheetah, lion, white and black rhino, buffalo and elephant, have been re-introduced to the Madikwe Game Reserve over a six year period with animals coming from various reserves and breeding centres and game viewing is now at its prime.

Lion in the Reserve... (Northwest Parks Board (formerly Bop Parks) has adhered to a strict policy of introducing only those species, which once occurred in the area). Madikwe is run as a three-way partnership between the State, the local communities and the private sector.

Madikwe, therefore, should not be looked at as solely a protected area or tourism destination, the reserve acts as a major social and economic core and engine around which the development of the region can be based.

The name of Operation Phoenix is appropriate: like the mythical bird that burnt itself to a crisp on the pyre and then rose from the ashes to live again with new vigor, nature has regained a stronghold on the land and the programme has been hugely successful.

Elephants in the Reserve... Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the country's fourth largest game reserve. It is situated in the North West Province and is bordered by Botswana in the north, the spectacular Dwarsberg Mountains to the south, the Marico river to the east.

The diverse habitat in the reserve, from acacia, savannah to riverine, ensures a unique combination of species such as springbok, gemsbok, sable and impala. The birdlife is also spectacular, and this is one of the few South African private game reserves that are malaria free.

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