Madikwe Safari Lodge Travel Tips | Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge Menu

Madikwe Game Reserve Travel Guide

By Madikwe Hills on January 14, 2020
Visas, tipping etiquette and getting to Madikwe Game Reserve.

For visitors to the abundant wildlife areas of South Africa, navigating the regulations and logistics of getting here can be quite overwhelming – especially for first time travellers.

If you’re thinking about visiting South Africa in 2020, we’ve put together some information to help you navigate the most common stumbling blocks visitors face.

Keep reading our blog below for help info regarding visas, tipping and getting to Madikwe Game Reserve.

South Africa Passport & Visa Regulations


For the majority of foreign visitors to South Africa, entry into the country is straightforward and hassle free.

All visitors must be in possession of a valid passport in order to enter the country and in some cases, a visa.

Travellers from certain countries (Scandinavian countries, Japan, USA and most Western European and Commonwealth countries) do not need to formally apply for a visa.

Upon arrival in South Africa, these will automatically be given a free entry permit sticker that outlines how long they may remain in the country.

This automatic entry permit is usually for a maximum of 90 days, though the immigration officer may tailor the time period according to the airline tickets held.

Foreign nationals from some other countries are offered this service, but for a maximum of 30 days. If the visitors want to stay for a longer period, they will have to apply formally for a visa, as opposed to relying on the automatic entry permit.

Good to know:

Travelling with Children in South Africa


Travelling with little ones in South Africa is a little bit complicated. With effect October 2014, parents travelling with a child need to produce an unabridged birth certificate that shows the names of both parents.

In cases where the certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.

When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than three months old, from the date of travel.

All documents must either be original or certified true copies of the original, by a competent authority. Documents not in English must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

For more information also visit the Department of Home Affairs South Africa website.

Currency and money in South Africa


The South African currency is the ‘Rand’, denoted by the symbol R – with 100 cents making up R1 (one Rand).

Most foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks and Bureaux de Changes which you’ll be able to find at the airport upon arrival. Most major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa, and their affiliates are accepted.

For a helpful currency converting app, try XE CURRENCY CONVERTER
The XE Currency Converter app provides live, up-to-the-minute currency rates and allows you to save and view them later when you might be offline.

In a country like South Africa, with a changing exchange rate, you’ll never need to wonder again if you’re getting a good deal or not.

And for those baffled by the metric system, try the METRIC CONVERSIONS app.

Travellers from the US often have a difficult time dealing in kilograms and centimetres when they get to South Africa. Never be confused about your suitcase weight again with the Metric Conversions app.

Whether you’re figuring out your travel distance in kms, cooking with millilitres or figuring out the volume of your shampoo, this app has got you covered with easy conversions.

Find out more about our top recommended travel apps on our blog here.

Tipping on safari in South Africa


Most restaurants in South Africa do not add a service charge to bills and it is customary to leave a 10-15% tip. Parking and petrol station attendants can be given whatever small change you have available. This is always appreciated, even though it may seem a small amount.

Tipping at Madikwe Hills is never anything that is expected, but always greatly appreciated. Tipping is for when you feel that the staff went the extra mile and made your experience truly remarkable. You may tip in local currency, foreign currency or you can even add it onto your bill and settle it via credit card.

Our advice to guests when asking about tipping is:
Ranger: Between R250 and R300 per room per day
Tracker: Between R150 and R200 per room per day
General Staff are pooled together and we all share (Housekeeping, restaurant, kitchen, maintenance): Between R250 and R300 per room per day.

The currency does not matter, whatever is easier for you. Please do not hesitate to ask our team if you have any further questions.

Getting to Madikwe Game Reserve


Please do not follow your GPS! Google Maps do not yet supply the best directions to get to the lodge.

Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest game reserves situated in the North-West Province of the country. The 75 000 hectare reserve is one of the few in Southern Africa classified as malaria-free.

Located 20 kilometres across the border from Gaborone, the reserve lies within a transition region between lowveld bushveld and the Kalahari thornveld.

Madikwe Game Reserve can be reached by car from Johannesburg in four and a half hours.

For those who wish to experience an exhilarating fly-in safari, Federal Airlines operates scheduled 45 minute charters from OR Tambo to Madikwe Game Reserve.

The Lodge is a short, complimentary transfer from the strip.


Federal Airlines offers a world-class executive daily air shuttle service operating from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to Madikwe Game Reserve.

Federal Airlines operates a fleet of late model turbine and piston aircrafts. All flights are undertaken by professional and highly experienced commercial pilots.


Registered, professional transfer companies, with all insurances and indemnities in place, are used for Road Transfers.

The vehicle type used will depend on the number of people on the transfer. Please enquire for further information on these transfers.

When in doubt, get in touch with our friendly reservations team at Madikwe Hills. We look forward to helping you plan your trip to Madikwe.

What to pack on safari


The seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are directly opposite to those of the Northern Hemisphere. For summer months, lightweight (cottons and linens), short-sleeved clothes are best, although a light jersey / jumper might be needed for the cooler evenings.

Umbrella’s and raincoats are essential for the summers, and the Western Cape winters. Warmer clothes are needed for the winter months. Umbrellas and raincoats are provided at Madikwe Hills. Don’t forget:

  • Sun protection – SPF, hat, sunglasses
  • Camera and binoculars
  • Light-weight clothing
  • Comfortable walking shoes or boots
  • Charging units and adaptors

If you’d like to enquire about visiting Madikwe Game Reserve, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly and efficient reservations team via email at or filling in our online enquiry form.

We look forward to welcoming you to the one and only Madikwe Hills in the near future.


Image credits: 

Madikwe Hills 
Federal Airlines

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