The land where Madikwe now stands was previously used as farming land. The poor soil meant that farming was mostly unsuccessful and the South African government then decided that it would best be used as a national park to help economically uplift the disadvantaged area. In 1991 the area was declared a reserve and 10,000 mammals were relocated from other National Parks. The park is currently home to approximately 66 large mammal species and roughly 300 bird species. The flora and fauna in the area are comprised of vast open plains of grasslands, woodlands, rocky outcrops and single mountains. The area is bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains.