History & Geography

The Madikwe region has been witness to human settlements and struggles for tens of thousands of years. Several Stone Age and Iron Age sites are located on the reserve. Artifacts discovered at the Marico River date as far back as the Early Stone Age, between 250 000 and a million years ago.

More recently, Madikwe was the site of African tribal migration and thereafter European colonial settlement.

Indeed, the complex and dynamic human struggles that have shaped the historical and cultural heritage of present-day South Africa have all, in some way or another, been experienced and contributed to upon the land that is today one of the most beautiful nature game reserves in the world. In fact, it was here that Sir David Livingstone, the famous discoverer, first met and later married Mary Moffat.

It is more fitting, in the context of the Mateya Safari Lodge, to highlight this historical instance of harmony and romance, for therein is a metaphor for the programme of human and ecological development which today is shaping the prosperous future of this beautiful stretch of land.

The oldest exposed rocks on the Madikwe Game Reserve are estimated at around 2630 million years old, calculated using radiometric dating.

Enselberg hills (rock formations that rise abruptly from the surrounding plains, and are often dome shaped) are scattered throughout the Madikwe Game Reserve. The formation of these hills, referred to as the Gabbro, coincided with a remarkable process in the history of South Africa, which was coming to it’s end about 200 km away from the present site of the reserve. The great pile of sediments that today make up the gold bearing Witwatersrand Basin appears not to have spread as far as the present day Madikwe, the lava certainly did. It is fitting then to note that the heritage of South Africa’s wealth and prosperity was formed very near to Mateya Safari Lodge, which is one of South Africa’s most exclusive private game lodges.