US First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia listen to their guide during a safari in Madikwe Game Reserve
Only a three-hour drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, Madikwe Game Reserve offers travellers a great escape to one of South Africa's premier bush destinations. With 66 mammal and 300 bird species across 75 000 hectares, sprinkled with luxury lodges, it obvious why the US first family chose to visit. Madikwe is located in a malaria free area of South Africa and this makes it perfect for family vacations. The reserve was opened in 1991 after a feasibility study decided that a wildlife reserve encouraging tourism was the best and most beneficial industry for this remote location. Storming successes followed with the introduction of the mammals after the 150km perimeter fence was built. This movement of animals was the largest translocation exercise in the world - 8000 animals across 28 species were brought in including the Big 5 (leopards already lived in the area), a range of buck and herbivores. This whole process lasted 6 years and was completed in 1997.