Thakadu River Camp
Did you know?
Madikwe inspired a new win-win approach to South African conservation.
At first glance, you'd never guess the little North West village of Molatedi was a South African conservation success story.
A few neighbours chat over the fence. Two trading stores receive a desultory trickle of customers. You notice that around the streets and houses, only old people and very young children are to be seen. Where are the unemployed adults?
The answer lies across the lion-proof fence only a few kilometres down the road, at Thakadu River Camp, one of Madikwe Game Reserve's luxury accommodation camps.
The story of Madikwe started during the 1980s, when an academic study showed that of all the options, devoting 60 000 hectares of degraded farmland to wildlife conservation and tourism would generate the most jobs.
The groundbreaking approaches used here pioneered a great leap forward in ensuring people benefit from parks.
The park directly employs 1 200 people in conservation and tourism, but the multiplier effect nearly triples those numbers. Entrepreneurs from neighbouring villages handle supporting industries like laundry, food deliveries and plumbing.
It is a triumph of South African conservation. From degraded farmland, this is now a Big Five reserve. Most importantly, the people of Molatedi, the Batlokwa Boo Kgosi tribe, recently became the proud custodians of a 100% community-owned game lodge, Thakadu River Camp, within Madikwe.
This 5-star wholly owned community based safari lodge is set within a riverine forest, overlooking a clear green tributary of the Marico river and the staff's sense of pride in Thakadu is palpable.
As one community leader in Molatedi pointed out: ‘Before Madikwe, people here had no hope and no purpose. But now you can see they have self-esteem, direction, vision, the intention to make something with their lives.'
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Who to contact
Thakadu River Camp Reservations
Tel: +27 (0) 11 805 9995
Fax: +27 (0) 11 805 0687