Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe is one of South Africa’s largest game reserves, covering 75 000 hectares (750km2).
This magnificent, malaria-free reserve offers you the opportunity to experience the magic of the Big Five and a true safari adventure. Situated in the North West province with Botswana on its northern border, Madikwe is in a transition area between acacia bushveld and Kalahari thornveld. This means there is a large diversity of terrain and vegetation in the park, from open plains to thick thornveld. The soil is a red colour, indicative of the reserve’s proximity to the Kalahari Desert. More than 60 large mammal species occur in the reserve, and over 450 bird species.
Managed by the North West Parks Board, together with the private sector (lodge owners) and the local people, Madikwe is operated as a joint venture to stimulate ecologically sustainable economic activity based on wildlife, for the benefit of the people of the region.
Mosetlha Bush Camp & Eco Lodge was built in 1995, soon after the declaration of the Madikwe Game Reserve. The founder of the camp was Chris Lucas, who looked for an ideal spot right in the middle of the park. He followed an elephant path to a large mosetlha tree near a pan, and knew that he had found the perfect location.
Mosetlha is owned by the Lucas family, Chris and June Lucas, and their daughter, Caroline, who now runs the lodge. It is staffed by local people who grew up and live in the area. Some have been with Mosetlha for twenty years and longer.
The values upheld at the lodge are simplicity, authenticity and the conservation of our natural heritage.
The lodge has 10 cabins and can accommodate just 16 people, so is small and intimate. There are two game vehicles, driven by excellent fieldguides, Jonny Motsieloa and Justice Rasello.
Background to our name
Mosetlha is the Setswana word for the Peltophorum africanum tree, commonly known as the weeping wattle or, in Afrikaans, the huilboom (“crying tree”). In Setswana, Mosetlha means “the yellow one”, after the tree’s yellow flowers.
The mosetlha is a valuable tree to have in a game reserve as the leaves are eaten by elephant, black rhino, giraffe, kudu, impala and grey duiker. It is also a useful tree for bee-keepers as it’s a good source of nectar and pollen. The tree provides wonderful shade and offers protection against the sun during the hot summer months. It flowers in summer, attracting insects and, in turn, many insect-eating birds.
Apart from offering good-quality timber for making furniture (the wood was commonly used for riempie benches and chairs – with seats made of leather thong – at the turn of the 20th century), the mosetlha has many medicinal uses. Its powdered root is applied to wounds to hasten healing; the bark can be chewed to relieve colic; and an infusion made from the root or a decoction made from the bark and leaves can help to relieve stomach disorders, diarrhoea and dysentery, and to get rid of intestinal parasites. Steam from a hot decoction can be used to alleviate sore eyes, a sore throat or toothache.
It is also known as the “toilet paper tree” because of its soft leaves – but beware, these lovely, large leaves can easily be confused with those of the Acacia amythetophylla, which have small thorny spines.