Madikwe is a large, malaria free Big Five game reserve, just 4 hours drive from Johannesburg and 2-3 hours from Sun City. Regarded as one of the finest conservation areas in Africa, its vast plains of open grasslands and woodlands, cover some 750 square kilometres and its rich diversity of vegetation ensures a wide range of game, with 66 large mammal species and over 300 species of birds. It has the Big 5 as well as cheetah and wild dog, hyena, sable, eland, gemsbok and giraffe.
Wild dogs are a speciality of the area and are also known as Cape hunting dogs or painted dogs because of their tricoloured (black, white and tan) abstract coat. They are Africa's most formidable hunters (followed by hyena and lion), and the essence of their successful social system is co-operative hunting and food sharing.
The reserve was created after a detailed feasibility study of the area, which showed that wildlife-based tourism was the most beneficial option for this remote and economically depressed area. It is one of the few game reserves in the world to be proclaimed purely on the grounds of being the most appropriate and sustainable land use for an area.
The reserve consists of vast plains of open woodlands and grasslands, dissected by the rugged Rant van Tweedepoort, and bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains. The area is dotted with huge rocky hills and the entire reserve has been enclosed in a 150 km perimeter fence.