Madikwe - South African Private Game Reserve
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
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
(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
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.
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.