Mashatu Game Reserve is located in Botswana's Northern Tuli Game Reserve and shares unfenced borders with South Africa's Mapungubwe National Park to the south and Zimbabwe's Tuli Safari Area to the north, where the game moves freely between the three Southern African countries. The safari experience at Mashatu is an exclusive and intimate affair where visitors can explore the reserve's vast open spaces and rugged scenery on game drives, horseback, on foot or by mountain bike.

Highlights
  • Diverse landscapes from marshes, rocky outcrops, mopane veld and riverine thickets to rolling hills
  • Open safari vehicle game drives with highly experienced trackers and guides
  • Off-road game viewing and night drives
  • Exclusive, intimate and uncrowded safari experience
  • Low rainfall, warm to hot during the day all year round, with cool to cold nights from April to August
  • Largest herds of elephants on a private reserve in Africa (31,000 hectares)
  • Excellent predator sightings
  • Accommodation ranges from classic tents to high-end luxury
  • One-hour flight from Lanseria Airport to Limpopo Valley Airfield
  • Combines well with Cape Town and Garden Route in South Africa

Situated in the remote eastern corner of Botswana at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers where Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe meet, Mashatu Game Reserve is a privately owned wildlife haven for enormous herds of elephants and predators such as leopards, cheetahs, lions and hyenas.

Landscape of contrasts

Mashatu Game Reserve consists of 31,000 hectares of ever-changing landscape. Imposing sandstone ridges tower over the rock-strewn hills, wide-open savannas and rolling grasslands below. The semi-arid scenery gradually gives way to marshlands and riverine forests where the dark green, rounded crowns of 30-metre-high nyala berry trees lining the rivers on the reserve provide food, shade and shelter to a range of wildlife.

Game-viewing experience

Mashatu Game Reserve is one of the best places in Africa for elephant and predator sightings. The sparse vegetation makes it easy to spot large herds of elephants gathering at dry riverbeds in search of water. And, because Mashatu's qualified and experienced safari guides are permitted to take guests off-road in their open safari vehicles, the chances of getting close to leopards lurking on the banks of riverbeds are exceptionally high.

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Off-road game viewing in Mashatu Game Reserve

(Image: Mashatu Game Reserve)

Other wildlife sightings guests can expect to have on their game drives and night drives include lion, cheetah, hyena, jackal, African wild cat, eland, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, warthog, kudu, baboon, monkey, the shy, nocturnal bat-eared fox and the critically endangered African wild dog.

Mashatu Game Reserve's policy of low-impact tourism ensures that vehicles at wildlife sightings are limited and strategically positioned to be non-intrusive so that the safari experience remains uncrowded, intimate and authentic.

Other activities

Other activities include:

  • mountain bike safaris with a professional mountain bike guide along game trails and elephant paths,
  • wildlife photography sessions with a qualified wildlife photographer in an underground photographic hide or on a dedicated photographic safari vehicle,
  • tailor-made game walks for wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers, botanists, hikers and nature lovers,
  • and horseback riding safaris.

Best time to visit

Mashatu Game Reserve offers fantastic year-round game viewing. With low rainfall each year and warm to hot daytime temperatures throughout the year, the eight rivers traversing Mashatu ensure the animals don't migrate.

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Mashatu's underground photographic hide

(Image: Janet V Kleyn)

November/December

  • Fantastic great cat sightings
  • Warm temperatures
  • Occasional afternoon thunderstorm
  • Hides close on 1 December
  • Keep your eye out for pay-stay specials

January/February

  • Hot weather
  • Afternoon thunderstorms
  • Yellow season with wildflowers and large herds of elephant, eland and other plains game
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Mashatu's yellow season

(Image: Mashatu Game Reserve)
  • Hides are closed
  • Keep your eye out for pay-stay specials

March/April

  • Lush and green with short grass and fewer flowers
  • Warm weather
  • Excellent game viewing
  • Keep your eye out for pay-stay specials
  • Hides are open

May/June/July

  • Mild temperatures and blue skies
  • Start of dry season
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Elephant calves rushing to the water

(Image: Janet V Kleyn)
  • Great predator sightings
  • Hides are open

August/September/October

  • Hot and dry
  • Great predator-prey interaction
  • Perfect light for wildlife photography
  • Excellent game viewing and photographic opportunities at the hides

Getting there

By air - There are direct, scheduled charter flights between Johannesburg in South Africa and Maun in Botswana to Limpopo Valley International Airfield in Mashatu Game Reserve. You can also take a daily scheduled flight from Johannesburg to Polokwane, followed by a two-hour road transfer.

By road - You can drive to Mashatu Game Reserve from Johannesburg. It's a 5.5-hour road transfer or self-drive trip.

Mashatu Euphorbia Villas
Feature Mashatu Euphorbia Villas

Set on the top of a cliff in Botswana's Mashatu Game Reserve amongst euphorbia succulents, Mashatu Euphorbia Villas is an eco-friendly, 5-star safari camp that enjoys sweeping views of the Majale River and endless plains below. Eight secluded luxury villas and four guests per safari vehicle ensure an exclusive safari experience.

Mashatu Lodge
Feature Mashatu Lodge

Mashatu Lodge is a beautiful, waterhole-facing safari lodge in Botswana's game-rich Mashatu Game Reserve. There are 14 spacious luxury suites with large en-suite bathrooms and private bush-facing verandahs. The family-friendly lodge welcomes children of all ages and inter-leading suites are available for families.

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