5 Unique Animal Experiences You Can Have in Madikwe Game Reserve

By Focus Online Team on August 28, 2023

Each and every wildlife encounter is unique, but at Tuningi Safari Lodge, we go the extra mile to ensure you get the most out of your visit to Madikwe Game Reserve.

Our reserve is 75 000 hectares of pristine African bushveld and has a unique story of its own. Just over two decades ago, this haven for wild animals of every shape and size was arid land used primarily for cattle-grazing. It has been painstakingly restored, now teeming with life, and we are proud to be part of this success story in South Africa’s conservation history.

Below you’ll find a list of unique animal experiences you can have in the Madikwe Game Reserve when you stay at Tuningi.

Something Different

1. Morning vs Night Drives

Game drives are the foundation stone of any safari holiday. Madikwe Game Reserve is home to over 86 different mammal species, each with their own patterns of behaviour and preferred time of activity.

By facilitating two game drive slots per day, Tuningi maximises guests’ chance of seeing as many different animals as possible – early risers and nocturnal creatures alike.

Lions, which spend most hot afternoons dosing in the bush, are most likely to be seen in the early mornings or evenings, when they emerge to drink or hunt. Birds, on the other hand, are heralds of the morning.

Our modified game viewing vehicles are a unique experience in themselves, with state-of-the-art fittings and a roof for sun protection in summer months.

Your safari is topped off with tea, filter coffee and biscuits in the bush during morning drives, and a picturesque stop to enjoy drinks and canapés in the afternoon.

Check out our Summer & Winter Schedules here.

2. More Than The Big Five

The Big Five, so-named by hunters of old who considered these to be the most dangerous animals to hunt on the African plains, are but a few examples of the incredible animal encounters you can have in the Madikwe Game Reserve.

Our guides have a deep knowledge and understanding of the bush, and would love to introduce you to more obscure creatures that call this place home.

Have you heard of the aardwolf, or seen a lesser bushbaby with your own eyes? Madikwe is home to a myriad of incredible creatures found only in Africa.

Enjoy drawing up your own unique list of must-see animals from our extensive Mammal List.

3. Birding Paradise

You don’t have to be an avid birder to marvel at the incredible diversity of birdlife in Madikwe Game Reserve. This region is home to over 420 bird species, and whilst some of them require an expert eye to identify, many of them don’t.

Here you are uniquely placed to see large birds, like the Martial Eagle or the Secretary Bird, alongside small Mocking Chats and Carmine Bee-Eaters.

Our diverse owl species are a particular treat to see. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of a Giant eagle owl, or a very small Pearl-Spotted owlet.

View Madikwe’s exciting bird list here.

4. Wild Dogs

Although the African wild dog is an incredibly vulnerable species, we are fortunate to boast a healthy population in Madikwe.

After Operation Phoenix, a wildlife relocation project which was concluded in 1997, our Wild dog population has grown and flourished under the watchful eyes of Madikwe’s dedicated team of conservationists and wildlife professionals.

No South African wildlife safari is complete without witnessing the painted wolf in its natural habitat.

We love these unique animals so much that we’ve dedicated an entire blog post to them. Click here to get the full story of the Madikwe Game Reserve’s history with the African wild dog.

5. Hiding Out

Our hide is one of the best spots to get up close and personal with animals in Madikwe Game Reserve.

It is uniquely positioned beside an active water hole and gives our guests an eye-level perspective of the animals’ comings and goings.

There’s nothing like sitting safely in the hide, mere metres away from a herd of elephants who are noisily slurping up water. Some curious youngsters like to sniff at the viewing panel with their trunks.

The hide is also an ideal spot to snap some stunning photographs for your Instagram grid or enjoy a quiet morning coffee before the rest of the world wakes up.

A Unique Bush Experience

At Tuningi, everything we do is to take you closer to the animals you love. Our professional team of guides know where to draw the line to ensure each encounter is exhilarating, yet safe for humans and animals alike.

It’s our honour to share each and every unique animal experience with you.

Stay With Us

Ready to pack your bags and come on safari?

Contact our helpful reservations team with enquiries at

If you’re already sold, go to our online booking platform and secure the dates for your next South African wildlife safari today.

We look forward to welcoming you to Tuningi Safari Lodge!

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