Bird watching in the Madikwe Game Reserve is excellent and it is a prime venue for Marico Bushveld birding with some 313 bird species being recorded, including migrants and permanent inhabitants.
Covering an area of 620 km², Madikwe Game Reserve is an impressive piece of Marico Bushveld, recently proclaimed and managed as a cooperative venture between Northwest Parks & Tourism Board, the community, and private enterprises. It is situated close to the Derdepoort border post on the North West Province's border with Botswana. Due to the size of the area, a minimum of two days is required to see a fair cross-section of the bird species which are present in Madikwe.
A weekend visit during the summer months may be expected to render 190 to 210 bird species out of the 313 bird species recorded to date, and during the winter months 120 to 130 bird species can be expected.
Besides good birding, one is likely to encounter a fair range of Africa's larger fauna, including Lion, Cheetah and Leopard, Elephant, White and Black Rhino and Buffalo. The area is also of great cultural interest, with the old school building where Herman Charles Bosman taught in the reserve, and the outline of Abjaterskop looming just beyond the western boundary.
Directions to the reserve should be obtained on booking accommodation. No day visitors are allowed in the reserve. Only residents at the various lodges may enter the reserve.
|Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Game Reserve Specials:
Madikwe is a good place to see many dry north-western species. Yellowthroated Sandgrouse are resident on the plains, and are usually present in large numbers. Other species which are regularly recorded on the plains include Kori Bustard, Temminck's Courser and White Stork. Both Doublebanded Courser and Burchell's Courser have also been recorded, and Bronzewinged Courser is a regular summer visitor to the wooded areas. Pied Babbler is always present, but is frequently heard rather than seen due to the dense bush. Desert Barred Warbler can also be relied on to show, so long as one is familiar with the almost supersonic call.
Madikwe Game Reserve Habitats:
The predominant habitat is typical dry acacia woodland, with severe Dichrostachys encroachment in many areas. Other habitats include old cultivated lands (the so-called Madikwe Plains), riverine bush, koppies, and both small and large bodies of water. A section of the Molatedi Dam falls within the reserve boundaries, although this section has not yet been incorporated into the fenced area of the reserve.
Madikwe Game Reserve Facilities:
Guided game viewing drives, walks and night drives are conducted by the various lodge and camp operators, using the extensive network of roads which has been developed. Independent movement within the park is not permitted at the time of writing, but there are plans to open a section to day visitors and overnight campers in future.
Madikwe Game Reserve Birding:
A visit to the Madikwe Plains is a must during the early morning or late afternoon, where many of the specials are to be found. Following good rains, large numbers of Common Quail and Harlequin Quail are to be seen, as well as good numbers of Kurrichane Buttonquail. Corncrake has also been recorded in wet years. Access may however be difficult at these times, due to the predominance of heavy black clay in the area. Large numbers of Chestnutbacked Finchlark are usually present, as well as Melodious Lark, Redcapped Lark, and Rufousnaped Lark, with Greybacked Finchlark making an occasional appearance. There are 3 seasonal pans on the Plains, which are excellent spots at any time of day, but particularly in the evening and early morning when the sandgrouse congregate.
The Marico River north of Madikwe River Lodge is fringed by dense bush thickets and tall riverine vegetation and is a good place for exercising one's warbler identification skills. Icterine Warbler, Olivetree Warbler, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat are among the species that occur. This is also a good place to look for African Finfoot.
Madikwe is a good place for raptors. Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Black Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle and African Hawk Eagle, as well as Blackbreasted Snake Eagle and Brown Snake Eagle are all regularly sighted, with Steppe Eagle and Lesser Spotted Eagle infrequent visitors. Whitebacked Vulture, Lappetfaced Vulture and Cape Vulture are also usually seen. Montagu's Harrier is occasionally seen hunting over the Plains, as are Pale Chanting Goshawk, Gabar Goshawk and other Accipiters.
A visit to the Molatedi Dam wall, which is outside the park, is often rewarded with good sightings of various raptors, especially during migration seasons.
Bluecheeked Bee-eater are regularly seen at Tshukudu and other dams during the summer months, while Swallowtailed Bee-eater regularly frequent the open woodland areas.
Pied Babbler and Desert Barred Warbler are commonest in the central and eastern parts of the reserve, and are found in similar habitat to the colourful Melba Finch, firefinches and waxbills.
Seedeaters are well represented in all parts of the reserve. All 5 species of Southern African sparrow are resident, four bunting species, as well as Pintailed Whydah, Shafttailed Whydah and Paradise Whydah. A visit to any of the waterholes on the plains during the hot part of the day should be rewarded by good sightings of these and many other seed and insect eaters.
Reserve bird list
For more on birding / bird watching in the Madikwe Game Reserve you can go to:
Madikwe Game Reserve Guide -
Madikwe Game Reserve Accommodation:
Mosethla Bush Camp - Mosetlha is family owned and run, a rustic and intimate, unfenced bush camp nestling at the very heart of the magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve.