Travel Report Mashatu (Botswana)

Mashatu, "land of the giants"

The Mashatu Game Reserve is located on the border between Botswana and South Africa in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve.

It is situated at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. The lodge is situated in an area consisting of open savannahs, woodlands, wetlands, open plains and sandstone outcrops. At 30,000 hectares, the game reserve is very large and offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. These include elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, bat-eared foxes, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, various antelope species and many more bird species.

Mashatu is particularly famous for its large herds of elephants. It is estimated that there are over 700 animals in the reserve alone. But bird lovers also get their money’s worth, as the area is extremely diverse with more than 350 different bird species.

With luxurious lodges and first-class service, Mashatu is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. Here you can experience the untouched wilderness and the impressive beauty of Botswana in Mashatu, one of the best safari destinations in Southern Africa.

Where is Mashatu in Botswana?

What you should definitely think about:

Local currencies: Botswana: “Pula”, but US dollars are also accepted everywhere and gladly in the lodges. If possible, take small USD bills with you for tips. Money can easily be withdrawn from any ATM. Otherwise, credit card payments work everywhere.

Vaccinations: Coming from Germany, no vaccinations are required. However, the standard vaccinations are recommended, see Foreign Office suggestions. Malaria prophylaxis is not required between May and October, but of course everyone has to decide for themselves.

Luggage: The photo equipment should definitely be taken on board, so pay attention to the cabin luggage dimensions (!) Otherwise, any type of suitcase or bag will do. Unless you want to fly to Mashatu on a small plane, check the baggage rules with the airline beforehand. As a rule, suitcases are not allowed here.

Clothing: Ideally onion principle, functional clothing and sturdy shoes. As it is “winter” in the countries visited in May, you should be prepared for cold temperatures (especially in the morning). Temperatures can sometimes reach freezing point.

In the lodges in Africa, you can usually have your clothes washed free of charge or for a small surcharge. You often get them back the same day. This saves a lot of luggage.

Getting to Mashatu

There are various options for getting to Mashatu. From South Africa, you can take a short flight from Johannesburg to Limpopo Valley Airfield, which is close to the reserve. Alternatively, there is the option of taking a flight to Polokwane and arranging a transfer or short charter flight from there. For the more adventurous, there is also the option of an approximately 6-hour self-drive from Johannesburg to Mashatu, which is scenic and passes through the Pont Drift border crossing. Either route promises a smooth journey to this impressive safari paradise. Driving your own car is definitely the cheapest option and you should then plan an overnight stay in Polokwane.

Point Drift - Border

If you are traveling by car, you have to enter Botswana from South Africa via the Point Drift border crossing. It is important to know that the car is parked here in no man’s land between South Africa and Botswana and that the vehicle is practically “taken out” once and “brought back in” on the return journey. Nobody understands this, as the car is practically parked at the border station within sight of the border guards, but you still have to get all the necessary import/export papers from the rental car company. So make sure that all the papers are complete before you pick up the car.

As soon as the vehicle is parked, the real adventure begins. You go to a hut or hall where a customs officer sits and takes care of the formalities. You then take a wire basket cable car across the river. During the crossing, you can see the crocodiles below and hope that the basket will hold.

Mashatu Tented Camp

Mashatu Tented Camp in Botswana offers an authentic safari experience amidst the pristine wilderness of the Tuli Block. Guests can stay in comfortable, spacious tents that are well equipped yet retain the charm of traditional camping. The camp offers exciting game drives, guided walks and unique photographic opportunities. After a day of adventure, you can relax around the campfire and enjoy the sounds of the African night. The camp also has a small pool for refreshment.

Mashatu Tented Camp - the tents

The tents at Mashatu Tented Camp in Botswana offer a comfortable and close-to-nature accommodation experience. Each tent is spacious and well-equipped, with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms with hot showers and a private veranda from which to view the surrounding wilderness. The decor combines rustic charm with modern amenities to ensure maximum comfort. Guests can look forward to an intimate and exclusive atmosphere, ideal for relaxing after exciting safaris and nature explorations. The tents at Mashatu Tented Camp offer a perfect balance between luxury and adventure, right in the heart of the African wilderness.

The shower is a bucket with holes, but there is hot and cold water, so it’s fine.

What other accommodation options does it offer Mashatu?

Mashatu Tented Camp is the most affordable option in this great safari area and certainly the one that most reminds you of an adventure in Africa. In addition to Mashatu Tented Camp, Mashatu offers other exclusive accommodation, including Mashatu Lodge and Mashatu Euphorbia Villas. Mashatu Lodge offers luxurious suites with first-class amenities and breathtaking views. It has a pool, restaurant and bar. Mashatu Euphorbia Villas is the latest highlight, with private villas offering maximum luxury and privacy, perfect for discerning travelers. Both camps also offer exceptional safari experiences, as the driving area is identical.

The Mashatu Underground Hide

The Mashatu Underground Hide, or Photo Hide, offers photographers and nature enthusiasts a unique opportunity to experience wildlife up close. This specially constructed photo hide is semi-underground, allowing you to photograph at eye level with the animals that come to the waterhole. Elephants, lions, zebras and many other species can be observed and photographed here undisturbed. The hut is comfortably equipped and offers space for several photographers at the same time. With the support of experienced guides and photographers, you can take unforgettable pictures and capture the beauty of the African wilderness in its purest form. The Underground Hide must be booked for a fee, currently around 160USD / person for 3 hours. This is certainly not cheap, but if the right animals come along, it is a unique experience.

Animals of Mashatu

Mashatu is certainly one of the richest and most exclusive reserves in southern Africa. Here you can really see all the animals and you do see them. For this reason, a visit to Mashatu will be a lasting experience in the hope of returning one day.

Safaritimes Mashatu

In Mashatu there is also a game drive in the morning and one in the evening. Depending on the time of year, wake-up time in the morning is between 5 and 5:30 am and the afternoon drives start at 3:30 pm.

Breakfast is served after the morning safari and often serves as a “brunch”, so that lunch is omitted. High tea is then served before the afternoon drive.

During the day you can move around the camp on your own, in the evening a guide takes you to your tent (after dinner). In the cold winter nights, there are hot water bottles in the beds, which is urgently needed in the sometimes bitterly cold temperatures.

Is it possible to combine a trip to Mashatu with other safari areas?

Yes, you can. Here is an example of the route we took: Munich -> Johannesburg Johannesburg -> Polokwane (African Roots Guest House Polokwane) Polokwane -> Mashatu (Mashatu Tented Camp) Mashatu Tented Camp Mashatu Tented Camp -> Polokwane (Protea Hotel The Landmark Polokwane) Polokwane -> Marataba (Marataba Safari Lodge) Marataba Safari Lodge Marataba Safari Lodge -> Madikwe (Tuningi Safari Lodge) Madikwe Madikwe -> Magaliesburg (Mount Grace African Pride Magaliesburg) Magaliesburg -> Johannesburg -> München

Reise was organized by: AST-REISEN

For Madikwe and Marataba, see our other travel reports.

Fazit Mashatu

The Mashatu Game Reserve is a formative safari experience that you will definitely never forget. Other luxury lodges have been added in recent years, but we found the experience at Tented Camp very authentic and would book it again at any time. If there was one shortcoming at Tented Camp, it was the evening meals, which were certainly filling, but not up to the standard of the South African lodges, for example. Breakfast and lunch were great and the coffee breaks on the morning drives and the sun downer in the evening were always an experience.

Want to order a calendar from our photo tour?

as of 18,90€, Sizes A2-A5

What photo equipment for Mashatu?

The photographic equipment we took with us is listed below. You also have the option of ordering the photographic equipment we used directly via our Photo-Shop and requesting further technical details. There are also lots of extras available there.

All in one Lowepro Runner 450 (Backpack)