Mashatu and Tuli Game Reserves


The wildlife in the region is found between the Limpopo, Motloutse (Great Elephant) and Shashe Rivers and is a diverse wilderness of open grass plains, marshlands, massive trees hugging the riverbanks and a fascinating variety of rock types. Giant boulders and rocky outcrops are punctured by huge peculiar-looking Baobab trees and cacti-like Euphorbias where elephants, leopards, lion and cheetah can be seen. Night drives reveal rare nocturnal animals the day proffers strange-looking ground hornbill and a unique geology with unusual rocky outcrops.

This attraction of eastern Botswana is today, one of its best-kept secrets. There are few fences in the entire Tuli area which permits unrestricted travel for animals along a large section of the Limpopo River. As a result most game farms and private lodges see migrant populations of impala, wildebeest, kudu and zebra as well as resident bushbuck, waterbuck, warthog and hippo. Nearer the Motloutse River is your best chance of seeing hyena, elephant, lion, leopard and cheetah.

Mashatu boasts the single largest population of elephants on privately owned land (in excess of 700), and you are almost guaranteed to see lion and leopard while staying there plus a zebra, giraffe, eland, impala, steenbok and cheetah. During night drives you are likely to encounter the strange-looking springhare, which resemble small kangaroos as they hop around in the headlights. Genet, lynx, leopard, porcupine, aardwolf and aardvark are all shy nocturnal animals that might be seen.

There are a wonderful variety of birds here, some who soar and others who prefer to keep their feet on the ground. Circling in the thermals you will see lappetfaced vultures, majestic black eagles and martial eagles, while darting to catch insects are brilliantly coloured bee-eaters, kingfishers and rollers,. On the ground are ostriches, huge kori bustards, saddle-billed storks and the rather peculiar-looking ground hornbill. Other birds to watch out for are giant eagle owls and Meyer’s parrots.

Rain falls any time between September through to May and the area turns green and many of the antelopes give birth. Mid-summer months are December, January and February. The land is arid and dry during the Winter months of June – August. There are few insects around and although it is cooler, it is still very pleasantly warm during the daytime with cold nights.

 

Facts

  • The Tuli wildlife areas are all under private management, so all visitors must have prior bookings
  • Night drives are a speciality
  • Rangers and trackers are usually from the Tswana tribe
  • Mashatu is right on the South African/Botswana border so a safari to this reserve is an easy trip by road from Johannesburg or by direct flight into Mashatu by Air Botswana.
  • This is a malarial area.
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