Overview – Mashatu GR

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the 'Botswana & Namibia' guide.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the 'Botswana & Namibia' Lonely Planet guide.

Anthony is the author of the 'Botswana & Namibia' Lonely Planet guide.

Mashatu is part of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and 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. The exclusivity of the reserve with very limited vehicles out on game drives makes for quality sightings. Even more so due to the sparse vegetation.

Best Time to Go May to September (Winter)
High Season May to Oct, Dec to mid-Jan (Not very busy)
Size 290km² / 112mi²
Altitude 517-677m / 1,696-2,221ft

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 three small, exclusive lodges
  • Excellent guiding and tracking
  • Beautiful arid scenery
  • Only expensive, all-inclusive packages available
  • Not a Big Five destination; buffalo and rhino are absent

Mashatu GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Elephants are the star-attraction in Mashatu, but predators are well represented too. 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. Smaller predators regularly spotted include African wild cat, bat-eared fox and black-backed jackal. Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and a variety of antelope species, are all found in this sparse habitat.

Scenery

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 ‘Mashatu’, found along the rivers, provides shade and food for a variety of animals.

Weather & Climate

Summer in Mashatu (October to April) can get very hot. Although this corresponds with the Wet season, rainfall is sporadic. By contrast, the winter months (May to September) are fairly mild (and totally 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 wildlife viewing is generally superb. December to February can be uncomfortably hot with peak temperatures sometimes hitting 45°C/113°F.

Want to Visit Mashatu GR?

Mashatu GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Southern Africa’s best-kept game viewing secret
5/5

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
Claire Roadley  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Jun 12, 2019
Mashatu blew me away with its massive herds of elephants, its incredible Matebole hide and big cats
5/5

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...

Full Review