Mashatu Game Reserve is located in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana and offers a memorable safari experience in Africa. Bordered by the Tuli Safari Area, the Mapungubwe National Park of South Africa, and a national park in Zimbabwe, this incredible wildlife area forms part of a cross-boundary wildlife conservation area that protects the impressive biodiversity of the region.
Mashatu Game Reserve spans approximately 72,000 acres and boasts a remarkable landscape made up of marshland, open plains, savannah, riverine forests, rocky hills, and sandstone cliffs. The Game Reserve gets its name from the Mashatu tree which can be found peppered throughout the land and provides shade, shelter, and food to an array of wildlife. There are over 50 species of mammals and reptiles, and more than 350 bird species found here, providing an exceptional game-viewing experience.
The reserve lies in a remote eastern corner of Botswana where the great Limpopo and Shashe Rivers converge. There are daily flights out of Johannesburg to Polokwane, and from Polokwane, safari-goers will embark on a two-hour journey by road. For those who want to drive from Johannesburg or Gaborone, the roads are fairly easy and it takes between six and seven hours. Lastly, the Limpopo Valley Airfield on Mashatu serves direct flights from Johannesburg on Thursdays and Sundays.
All water in the camp is filtered to the highest standards and is perfectly safe to drink.
Malaria is a low-risk threat in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve region, so we advise travellers entering the area to consult doctors regarding anti-malarial prophylactics.
The climate over most of southern Africa is temperate, although hot, dry conditions usually occur in the Tuli region. Rain usually occurs during the summer months and short afternoon thunderstorms may be expected.
Mashatu Game Reserve boasts a diverse landscape that includes lush grasslands, marshlands, rocky outcrops, sandstone ridges, and riverine forests, and derives its name from the Mashatue tree found scattering throughout the land. This remarkable diversity provides a sanctuary to a myriad of wildlife species and over 350 species of birds.
The Game Reserve, which is privately owned, offers a truly unique wilderness experience, as it is home to Africa’s big seven land-based giants. These are the African elephant, the giraffe, the eland—the world’s largest antelope, the ostrich, the kori bustard, the lion, and the mighty baobab tree. Among the big seven, safari-goers can expect to see habituated leopards, lions, African wild dogs, the spotted hyena, and various antelope species—all providing quality sightings during a game drive.
With over 350 bird species, avid birders might want to book a private vehicle to get a better view of some of the more notable species. These include green-winged pytilia, the Verreaux's eagle owl, and the Senegal coucal.
The best time to visit Mashatu Game Reserve is during the dry winter months when wildlife viewing is at its best. From May to September, the wildlife of the reserve generally gather around the rivers for water, and since the region is semi-arid, the animals tend to migrate from afar.
From October to April, the landscape is lush, and the skies are bright. However, wildlife spotting can be more difficult during these months. For the bird watchers, this is a great time for birding as the migratory species arrive.
What makes Mashatu Game Reserve an excellent choice when it comes to safari experience is its exclusive adventure safaris. For those with a thirst for the great outdoors, horseback safaris provide a surreal perspective of the landscape and its residence. Furthermore, the active safari-goers can explore on foot or bicycle, with a walking or cycling safari experience. Of course, the guided game drives offer unique insight into the roaming wildlife, and all of these activities pair well with the photographic hides that offer fantastic opportunities for aspiring wildlife and nature photographers.
Those choosing to stay overnight in or around Mashatu Game Reserve can choose from a variety of accommodation options. From safari lodges and tented campsites to stunning villas and wilderness chalets, there is an option to suit any discerning traveller. Modern amenities abound for those who want to reconnect with nature without forgoing the comforts of home.