Birding in Madikwe Game Reserve
Did you know?
Madikwe is surrounded by a 150km perimeter fence to safeguard elephants and large predators.
You'll be richly rewarded with scores of sightings when you go birding at Madikwe Game Reserve. And because of the great variety of habitats, from open grassland and forest to dams and rocky hills, there's an eclectic variety of birds flitting about.
Madikwe Game Reserve is a joint venture between the government, private enterprise and local communities, with over 30 community-run lodges in the reserve. Day visitors aren't allowed in the reserve, so you will have to stay at one of the many lodges where you'll be taken on day and night game drives or bush walks.
A good birdwatching tip is to stay in camp when others go off on game drives. Birdlife is prolific, particularly in the older, well-established camps, especially if there's an adjacent waterhole.
You'll easily spot one of the world's biggest birds – the stately, rather fearsome (it can kill a lion with a kick) ostrich – in the open grasslands. Secretarybirds also stalk the savannah and you're almost certain to see the world's heaviest flying bird – the impressive Kori bustard – hunting in the grass for insects and frogs.
High up above the numerous inselbergs (big rocky crags) expect to see eagles such as the Bateleur and Martial, and once the day has warmed up and the thermals get going, Cape, whitebacked and lappetfaced vultures will start circling looking for carcasses.
There are bush birds galore. Have your camera ready for one of its most dramatically coloured stars – the crimson-breasted shrike. Ask your guide to listen out for its piercing whistling call and then track it down.
Madikwe Dam is an absolute must. Watch thirsty birds of all kinds, including sandgrouse, come to drink as the sun goes down. You may well see wild dogs, elephants, lions and rhinos come to drink as well.