Expert Reviews – Mashatu GR

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Southern Africa’s best-kept game viewing secret
Overall rating

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 to be overlooked is partly that it is so remote, situated in the Tuli Block, the part of southern of Botswana abutting the borders with South Africa and Zimbabwe, and also that while it lies within Botswana, it feels more like an extension of the South African tourist industry. Serviced by just two intimate lodges, it offers all-inclusive guided safari packages similar to Sabi Sands or MalaMala, but with so little tourist traffic that you often feel you have the entire reserve to yourself. Game viewing is superb too, though my experience is that it is more about quality than quantity if sightings, so you’d ideally want at least 3-4 days there. Highlights include the large elephant herds that haunt the sandy river beds, excellent lion and leopard sightings, a good chance of spotting the endangered African wild dog, as well as excellent dry-country birding including several species whose core range is focussed on the Kalahari sands of Botswana.

Location for some of my best safari experiences ever
Overall rating

I arrived at Mashatu at the end of a five-week trip from Kenya and the 10 days I spent there still stick in my mind as some of the best experiences I have ever had in Africa. I spent some time on an incredible horse-safari that gave us a chance to gallop with a stampeding herd of eland and to ride – cautiously and as silently as possible – through a very nervous breeding herd of more than 100 elephants. It was thoroughly nerve-wracking. I also mountain-biked through big-cat territory here...which really gives you something more to think about than the normal pitfalls of mountain-biking!

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.3/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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