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MMadikwe Game Reserve, one of South Africa’s foremost Big Five malaria-free reserves, was envisaged not by conservationists, but by economists. They found conservation would create more income and jobs than the existing land-use, which was cattle-farming. This successful reserve is now a model that has inspired South African conservation.
Madikwe Game Reserve, right up against the Botswana border in the North West province, is a strange anomaly in the world of conservation.
It was transformed from a number of low-yield cattle farms into a high-yield conservation area. This was not land chosen by ecologists for its rare vegetation or animals. It was chosen by economists because they found that a game reserve here would generate more jobs and money than any other land-use option. Madikwe is now a model of the way conservation can benefit communities.
Another remarkable factor is that this was pioneered in 1991, within one of South Africa’s apartheid-era Bantustans – Bophuthatswana – which was reintegrated into the country in 1994.
OOn paper it seemed idealistic. Yet in practice it worked. Bop Parks launched Operation Phoenix in 1991. By 1997, it had brought in more than 8000 individual animals, the largest translocation of its kind in the world. Several private companies set up very successful bush lodges within the 75 000-hectare park. And the three villages around Madikwe – Supingstad, Lekgophung and Molatedi – are doing very well.
Madikwe Game Reserve, North West
WWomen are particularly empowered – a high proportion of them are employed in the park. Social and financial upliftment aside, Madikwe is now better known as one of the best places to see the Big Five, and it also has the advantage of being malaria free. Madikwe is seen as a model of the benefits that conservation can bring.
You may not be in an exclusive private game reserve (it's actually a provincial game reserve), but you’ll feel as if you are – the experience is almost indistinguishable. The only difference is that you might catch a special sense of pride from some of the people you encounter in and around the park.
Khosi Tyobeka, Zimase Travel
Khosi Tyobeka has built her business around making travelling easy and accessible. Her company, Zimasa Travel, provides tailor-made travel solutions; from planning to the execution of travel or conference needs. The award winning entrepreneur’s flair for business runs in her family. When she was growing up her mother operated a food business in their small village in the North West Province .
Millicent Shai: Founder and owner of Thaba Legae Guest Lodge
When one thinks of tourism in South Africa, the North West Province and its Magaliesberg mountain range and lush bushes come to mind. Not new to leisure and travel, the province has always held its baton, offering the famous Sun City resort and its surrounding holiday destinations. The province’s natural beauty has always added to the allure.
South African Tourism - Heritage Day
Feast your eyes, feed your soul and be inspired by South Africa in full bloom… South Africa is unique. It is one country in the world where one can weave a vibrant tapestry of culture and heritage from the many and varied attractions, experiences and influences that permeate daily living.
Thakadu River Camp in Madikwe Game Reserve: conservation uplifting local communities in North West and Limpopo.
Thakadu River Camp is a Fair Trade Tourism-certified, 5-star lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve, a malaria-free park that brings social and financial benefits to the local Tlokwa community that owns it.
Pilanesberg National Park, North West: spot the Big 5 in an extinct volcano
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The Barberspan Bird Sanctuary in North West: winter waterfowl haven just a few hours’ drive from Johannesburg
Barberspan Bird Sanctuary 3 hours from Johannesburg in North West province is a utopia for birders and ornithological researchers: it is the seasonal home to 20 000 or more birds from 350 species.
In the footsteps of forefathers – Taung Heritage Route, North West
Taung Heritage Route is part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and includes the site where a 2.5-million-year-old fossilised skull of a hominid child was found.
Tau Spa at the Madikwe Game Reserve
The Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe bushveld has a world-class spa offering a variety of treatments and packages where you can relax and rejuvenate in an oasis of tranquillity.
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