The Mashatu Game Reserve is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. It is a privately owned land that covers an area of 29,000 hectares. Known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, the Mashatu Game Reserve is a conserved area that is situated in the eastern Botswana, where both river Shashe and Limpopo converge. Furthermore, this area consists of a splendid landscape, rocky hills, riverine forests, grassland, and sandstone ridges.
The name ‘Mashatu’ means ‘Land of the giants’. It comes from the magnificent local dark green trees such as sacrosanct Mashatu or Nyala berry trees. These are the giants of the reserve that are found in abundance, spread over the entire area. The Mashatu Game reserve is one of the biggest privately-owned reserves and features one of the biggest herds of elephants in a privately owned reserve. With so much to discuss, let us explore the beauty of the Mashatu Game Reserve, which has kept the entire world on its toes.
The Mashatu Game Reserve has much more to offer than giant trees and splendid landscapes. In fact, the tallest mammal in the world along with the world’s largest antelope, the largest bird, ostrich, and the heaviest flying bird, all are found here. In addition to that, the reserve also houses king of the jungle, the lion, which could be found resting and relaxing underneath the iconic and popular baobab tree. If you were to combine all these animals and trees, you get a reserve that actually does house some of the largest living things in the world.
There are few boundaries in the entire Tuli area which allows clear travel for animals along a large section of the Limpopo River. As a result most game farms and private lodges see migratory inhabitants of impala, wildebeest, kudu and zebra as well as resident hippo, bushbuck, waterbuck, and warthog. Nearer the Motloutse River you can add elephant, lion, hyaena, leopard and cheetah to the list.
Mashatu avowals the single largest population of elephants on privately owned land (in excess of 700), and you are almost certain to see leopard and lions, 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 magnificent variety of birds here, some who fly 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 scurrying to catch insects are radiantlycoloured 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.
The credit behind the reserve housing so many species goes to its exceptional landscape diversity. It features an ecosystem that provides a perfect habitat for each type of animal. As a result, along with lions, leopard, and elephants, you will also catch a glimpse of the African Wildcat, bat-eared fox, honey badger, and black-backed jackal.