Madikwe Game Reserve general travel guide

The Madikwe Game Reserve is quickly becoming one of South Africa’s top safari destinations and it is easy to see why.


Being Malaria free, relatively cheaper when compared to other places such as Sabi Sands and with some of the best game viewing, more and more people are coming to Madikwe from all across the globe for their safaris.


In this guide, I will be discussing the various ways of arriving at Madikwe Game Reserve. It is assumed for this guide that you have already made your booking at Madikwe Game Reserve. If you have not, I would strongly suggest that your read this post I made on why it is important to use a travel broker specializing in safaris.

If you would like to know what to expect at the various lodges, please take a look at our Madikwe Lodge Review section.


Traveling from Johannesburg


This is by far the most common option to travel to Madikwe Game Reserve. The drive to Madikwe Game Reserve takes around 4 hours and if you take a flight, it only takes 45 minutes.

The roads are kept in good condition and if you travel via Zeerust (the longest route) it will be tar road all the way until you reach the game reserve.


Air travel to Madikwe Game Reserve


I like using Federal Air to fly to Madikwe Game Reserve. They have 2 scheduled flights into and out of Madikwe Game Reserve. I prefer using this due to their established infrastructure and great service.

This is by far the easiest way, but the most expensive way to get to Madikwe Game Reserve.

Something to keep in mind is that landing fees at Madikwe Game Reserve may be charged extra.

These tickets can also be booked with your booking agent or with the lodge reception as well as directly with Federal Air.


Road transfer


Madikwe Game Reserve has no scheduled bus or shuttle transfers. Road transfers are all done via private transfer companies, with one or two lodges offering their own transfer services at an additional cost.

These private transfers are usually done in well maintained vehicles that are comfortable. We would suggest bringing a tablet to watch movies or read a book on as the drive can be quite boring.


Car hire/self-drive


By far the cheapest and most common way for guests to arrive at Madikwe Game Reserve. The road to Madikwe Game Reserve is well maintained for the most part and one only needs a vehicle that doesn’t have a very low nose. I have personally driven the road in a Suzuki Alto which is by no means an off-road vehicle and it was no problem.

We would suggest using a GPS, however the roads inside the park are very seldom up to date on any GPS. At the gate, the guard will provide you with directions to your lodge.

The roads inside the park are relatively well marked and getting to your lodge is easy.


Traveling from Botswana


Unless you are a resident of Botswana or already in the country, this route is not suggested. In theory, Madikwe is only about half an hour drive from Gaborone, however, you need to go through one of the busiest border crossings between Botswana and South Africa.

This can be a pain as you already have to go through customs when landing at Gaborone and then once again while entering South Africa. I have had guests who were stuck for two hours at the Gaborone border crossing.


Road transfer


There are various transfer companies who provide shuttle services between Gaborone and Madikwe Game Reserve. I would suggest that you speak to your booking agent or the lodge about their preferred supplier to ensure that you receive a quality transfer.


Car hire/self-drive


Renting a car is still cheaper than a private transfer, but not by much as there are additional costs associated with taking a rental car across the border.

If you drive your own vehicle, there are additional costs associated with permits at the border crossing. Once through the border, depending on the lodge you stay at, you can expect to drive for another 30 minutes to an hour.

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