Mashatu Game Reserve is as indeed as it is called
the land of Giants
in reference to the gigantic Mashatu trees that are spread across the game reserve area besides the big game that roams the plains. Mashatu game reserve is found in the remote south eastern border of Botswana and South Africa in the
area as part of the three Bostwana game reserves found near the confluence of the Limpopo River and its valley beds.
The private game reserve covers an area of 305 sq km of riverine forests, savannah grasslands, strange gigantic Mashatu trees, Baobab, shrubs, river beds, rocky (sandstone) outcrops and in a nut shell very beautiful landscape.
Botswana is a country that is filled with precious jewels and one of them is the Mashatu Game Resreve which has untouched beauty in the country. The Mashatu Game reserve is located within the Northern Tuli Game reserve at the border of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Also referred to as the Land of giants by the locals, this little known Game reserve is one of the best reserves in Botswana and even though many tourist are yet to know about it, it is the perfect destination for all those that want to watch wild life in a quiet area while enjoying the wilderness.
The Mashatu game reserve is majorly known for its large number of elephant species which amount to about 900 species, 350 bird species that have been recorded and her vast nature which allows for the easy driving through the reserve. The roads within the reserve are wide enough which means that they can hold a large number of elephants and these herds can be seen moving around the reserve every day.
Photo safaris in the Mashatu game reserve
The wild life in Mashatu game reserve is enough to make your photo safari worth it and not forgetting its landscape that is quite different from the rest of the game reserves also makes it a good destination for all photography lovers. During the photo safari in Mashatu, you will be able to see the numerous wild life in form of birds and animals that habitate within the game reserve and all this can be done under the photo hides that are provided by the management of the Mashatu game reserve.
The photographic hides are majorly built around the water holes since most animals can easily be viewed from the water holes as they come in to have a drink and this is due to the fact that the game reserve experiences semi-arid conditions. All tourists are supposed to be escorted by a professional wild life photographer to the hides and all those that are not good with the camera are taught how to take nice photos of the wild. There are majorly two hides which are classified under the underground hides that are used when it comes to photo safaris within the Mashatu game reserve and these are:
- Underground photographic hides, these are provided to all those that come into the reserve for photography and these helps tourists get photos of the animals from different angles and who wouldn’t want to get good quality photos of the African wild life. These hides that help you the animals without being noticed are the valley elephant hides and the Matebole elephant hide.
Horse-back riding within Mashatu
Horse-back riding also helps you get a closer look at the different animals that habitate within the Mashatu. The landscape within the reserve is good for a horse-back ride and as you head out, there will be an experienced tour guide who will show the ropes of riding the horse for those who are new to riding and he will also take you to the best places where you can easily view the other animals that live within the reserve. For those who are just learning, note that you will not be allowed to ride through the reserve but can ride within the farm under the supervision of a trainee. The horse-back riding normally takes place very early in the morning before the overhead sun and heat become a problem and it is only possible for only those that are above twelve years of age. There are several African trained horses that carry out the job and this is one adventure that you would not want to mis out.
Game drives through the Mashatu
The Mashatu game reserve experiences the semi-arid weather which means that the best time for all those who want to go for wild life viewing should do it during the dry season which runs from June to October because during this time animals can easily be seen as they head down to the different water holes that have not yet dried up in search of water. The game drives through the Mashatu game reserve can either be private or you can go with others in a group and some of the animals species that you will see when you get to Mashatu include lions, elephants that amount to about 900 in number, the bat eared fox, zebras, leopards, warthogs, ostriches, the elands, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, giraffes, wild dogs and many more other species.
Cycling through the Mashatu game reserve
Mountain bikers can be seen getting ready to cycle around the game reserve and this is mostly done between the months of June and October when the cycling roads are a bit accessible. Cycling through Mashatu shows you what the reserve is made up but from a different angle as the bicycles help you get to all the narrow routs and places within the park that cannot be easily accessed by a car. It is also one way to get a close look at the elephants that rule the reserve and other wild animals and as you prepare for cycling, you will need to carry lots of water due to the weather conditions experienced in the reserve, a helmet, knee and elbow caps to protect you when you fall and not forgetting an experienced tour guide to take you through the passable cycling routes through the Mashatu game reserve and While cycling, you will also get to meet the locals who live in the area and get to interact with them at length.
Nature walks through the Mashatu reserve
Nature walks through the Mashatu game reserve are always carried out in the presence of a tour guide. This is the one time that you will get to see all the small animals and birds that you missed out while driving around because walking provides a different wild nature experience that you cannot get while in a car. it will be good for all those that want to exercise, see the vegetation close up but do not forget to carry water, good hiking boots and appropriate clothing while going for the nature walks and note that they are normally carried out in the mornings to avoid the heat that comes with the afternoon.
Birding in the Mashatu game reserve
Birding in the Mashatu game reserve is done between the months of November to April during the wet season when the migratory birds fly into the country. The reserve has about 350 species that have been recorded and the best way for one to see these birds is by driving through the reserve near the water banks and some of the bird species that can be seen include the Malachite king fisher, the Verraux’s eagle owl, the green winged Pytilia, the Senegal coucal and the white browed scrub robin and many more other bird species.
When to visit the Mashatu game reserve
The best time for all those that want to go for animal viewing is during the dry season which is experienced between the months of July and October and this is due to the fact that in most cases, the water dries up during the dry season which forces the different animals to move around in search of water in the different corners of the reserve and it is also the best time for one to go for camping, nature walks and photo safaris within the reserve.
The best time for one to go for birding is during the wet season because it is during this time that the numerous migratory birds fly into the country due to the conducive weather during this time. The roads within the reserve might not be the best to drive on especially during this time but you will enjoy your exploration of the reserve.
The land of giants has everything that will give you a chance to experience the real African wild life that has been untouched and while here you can also join your trip to the Mashatu game reserve with the Northern Tuli game reserve where it is located. Getting there will not hard as you can either fly to the place or drive there but make sure that you get to know whether the roads are conducive for you to drive to the reserve. This will be one of the many ways you can explore Botswana as a country and you will not regret it.
From the cities that surround the Mashatu game reserve, the accommodation facilities that are located within and outside the reserve and other secrets that you will only discover once you visit the reserve, the Mashatu game reserve is its self a beautiful secret that needs to be unraveled by anyone who visits Botswana. While driving through the reserve, make sure that you have a 4×4 car as it sometimes gets hard to access all the parts of the reserve especially when it rains.
The land of giants befits its habitats such as African elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, aardwolf, wild cat, bat eared fox, honey badger, black backed jackal, caracul, snakes, chameleons, baboons spotted Hyena, porcupine, zebras, leopard, lynx, civets, genets and several other mammals (big and small)
More than 300 birds nest in the Mashatu Botswana game reserve with significant sights such as the world’s biggest bird, ostrich, lilac breasted roller, king fisher, kori bustard and many other birds. Adventurous mountain biking is an interesting way to experience the wild Mashatu animals as you ride past herds of elephants, giraffes feeding on acacia branches, over the spectacular sandstone outcrops and all the time within the intense heat of the mid day sun!
The cool winter months of April to September are preferred times to visit Mashatu Game reserve on your Botswana safari excursions. Temperatures can be as high as 42ºC in the hot dry season and 14 ºC making way for the chilly nights.
Find luxury Botswana Game lodges and safari accommodations in Mashatu game reserve. There are two luxury camps found within the reserve.
Mashatu Main camp
Mashatu tented camp
have spacious rooms, wild themed furnishing, excellent dining and above all have good game viewing spots. There is optional accommodation from Tuli Safari lodge and other neighboring bush camps in other fringing private game reserves.