Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa and yet remains one of the lesser- known parks. This makes it a hidden African safari gem as it is regarded as one of the best conservation areas in Africa and offers the Big 5 in a nearly 250 square mile sanctuary as well as the famous “painted dogs of Africa”, the highly endangered wild dog. Introduced in 1994 with a pack of 6 and facing rabies and predation by lions and leopards, there is nonetheless a thriving wild dog population with three hunting packs currently roaming the park. The dogs are somewhat accustomed to the vehicles offering for spectacular photographic safaris.
The land where Madikwe now stands was previously used as farming land. The poor soil meant that farming was mostly unsuccessful, and the South African government then decided that it would best be used as a national park to help economically uplift the disadvantaged area. In 1991 the area was declared a reserve and 10,000 mammals were relocated from other National Parks. The park is currently home to approximately 66 large mammal species and roughly 300 bird species. The flora and fauna in the area are comprised of vast open plains of grasslands, woodlands, rocky outcrops and single mountains. The area is bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains.
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