The Mashatu Game Reserve is a diverse wilderness of savannah, riverine forests, marshland, open plains and sandstone outcrops. The reserve is situated in the remote eastern corner of Botswana, at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. In an area called the Tuli Enclave, it is here that Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe meet. Mashatu Game Reserve – the largest of the Rattray Reserves – is home to the largest elephant population on a private reserve.
Mashatu Lodge is an oasis among the undulating and seemingly endless plains of the wild. Burning torches at the camp’s entrance welcome safari-goers home, where they experience the embodiment of sublime hospitality.
For the family traveller seeking decadence, the 14 Luxury Suites will meet and exceed your expectations. These lodgings were considerately positioned along the camp’s perimeter, creating seclusion from people and thoughtful interactions with the bush and its residents. Each suite has an air-conditioner for bodily refreshment, and delicately furnished in black and white prints of Africa’s most precious animals. The spacious en-suite bathroom holds shower and bath facilities. Families can relax, knowing that the double bed, large single bed and expansive sitting areas offer more than enough room to accommodate children.
The lodge’s hub is the swimming pool, where travellers unwind between game drives and other activities. The Discover Room is the educational centre, a veritable portal through which the discerning visitor can see the world as it was millennia ago. The relics and specimens of animals of all sizes will give you a more profound understanding of prehistoric creatures like the crocodile.
Meals are a sumptuous celebration of traditional African Cuisine – flavoursome, but lacking in ostentation. Fresh fruits, vegetables, home-made breads and pies, succulent meat dishes and delicious desserts will appeal to a guest who appreciates home cooking at its best.
For a touch of retail therapy, the fully stocked curio shop showcases a variety of African crafts, clothing and jewellery. Fear not – if you run out of sunscreen or your battery runs flat, you can replace these too.
Activities and Wildlife
With water as coveted as it is here in such proximity to the Kalahari, Mashatu is a favourite for animals seeking refuge. Twice daily game drives in open Land Rovers, led by experienced rangers will take you to see this plethora of wildlife.
Mashatu is home to no less than seven of Africa’s “giants” – the African Elephant, the Lion, Giraffe, the Baobab Tree, the Eland, Ostrich and the Kori Bustard. It is therefore fitting that these giants have a massive habitat, and some 75 000 acres of pristine game land have been set aside to house these creatures.
During the course of the game drives and other activities you will participate in during your visit, you are likely to come across animals wearing collars. These collars house radio transmitters, and are the means used to keep track of certain individual elephants, leopards and wild dogs. They are the focus of various important research programmes conducted at Mashatu, in collaboration with various external environmental organisations or sponsors. Mashatu have also fitted collars to a number of our male lions for a very different reason. Over the last few decades the lions and many of the other species of Mashatu game have been lured across the borders to be hunted – legally and illegally – in adjacent Zimbabwe and South Africa. The legal hunting, due to its selective nature, has been especially damaging to the lion population as the professional hunters – in pursuit of the best trophy for their wealthy clients – usually target the biggest and best (usually male) of a particular species.
If you are keen on an adventure, there are other activities on offer – go bushwhacking on foot, gallop through verdant Mopane plains on horseback or confront Mashatu’s terrain on a mountain bike. Even delving deeper into this exceptional land with Mashatu’s specialist research activity or a cultural tour are possibilities.