Overview – Mashatu GR
Mashatu is part of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and is a very underrated destination for watching wildlife. This area is one of the largest private reserves in southern Africa. Mashatu only has three of the Big Five, with rhino and buffalo absent, but elephant and leopard sightings are unparalleled. Mashatu is not about marking off species from a list, but more about quality sightings of some flagship animals.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent wildlife viewing (especially leopard and elephant)
- Off-road driving is permitted, which facilitates quality sightings
- Game drives, walking safaris and night drives available
- Adventure activities, such as horse riding and mountain biking
- Big private reserve with only two, small, exclusive lodges
- Excellent guiding and tracking
- Beautiful arid scenery
- Only expensive, all-inclusive packages available
- Limited variety of animals with buffalo and rhino absent
Mashatu doesn't have the widest variety of wildlife, but the quality of the sightings is usually phenomenal. Elephants are the star-attraction, but predators are well represented. Leopards are very common, and a lot of individuals are habituated and easy to follow. Lion, wild dog, spotted hyena and cheetah can all be seen. Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and a variety of antelope species, are all found in this sparse habitat.
The reserve comprises a diverse wilderness of savannah, riverine forest and wetland. Most striking are the sandstone cliffs jutting out of the plains and the dry riverbeds, frequented by herds of elephants digging for water. The majestic nyala berry tree or ‘Machatu’, found along the rivers, provides shade and food for a variety of animals.
Weather & Climate
Summer in Mashatu (October to April) can get quite hot. Most days the temperature will steadily build up until the afternoon, when sudden showers then cool everything down. By contrast, the winter months (May to September) are fairly mild (and dry), with a notable chilliness early in the morning and at night.
Best Time to Visit
May to September, which is the area’s Dry season, are the best months to visit. Mild temperatures make the game drives more enjoyable, and a lack of thick vegetation makes wildlife spotting easier. The worst time of year to visit is December to February, when the temperature can hit 45°C/113°F and the animals spread far and wide in their search for shelter.
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Mashatu GR Safari Reviews
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Most Helpful Expert Review
Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
Southern Africa’s best-kept game viewing secret
The largest private game reserve in southern Africa, under the same management as the legendary MalaMala near Kruger, Mashatu is one of the finest and most underrated reserves I have visited anywhere on the continent. The reason it tends...
Latest User Review
Mashatu blew me away with its massive herds of elephants, its incredible Matebole hide and big cats
Loved everything about our stay at Mashatu. I took my Dad for his 70th birthday and there was no better way to celebrate our shared love of wildlife than a few hours in the Matebole Elephant Hide. Was just amazing - even though I only had...