The area is generally referred to as the ‘hardveld’ consisting of rocky outcrops and a network of dry riverbeds. Its lifeline is the Limpopo River which is lined by thick riverine forest. Wildlife includes elephant, lion and leopard, African wild cat, and fascinating creatures that are part of the impelling attraction that make Tuli Block one of Africa’s most exceptional destinations.
In the remote, far eastern corner of Botswana, where the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers meet, a diverse wilderness of savannah plains, sandstone outcrops, open marshlands, and riverine forests form the Tuli Block. Distinguished Baobab trees are often spotted among these picturesque settings.
The awkward, narrow land of the Tuli Block was previously occupied by farmlands but is now owned by privately owned reserves, one of which is the Mashatu Game Reserve. Few fences in the area allow animals, such as impala, wildebeest and zebra, to travel freely along a large section of the Limpopo River. During the winter months between June and August, only a scattering of plant life makes this an ideal time for game viewing, and the rainy summer months between October and May provide the best time for birdlife and green settings which welcome newborn antelopes into the world.
MASHATU GAME RESERVE
Along river courses and throughout the Tuli Block’s vast expanse of privately owned land, magnificent Mashatu trees offer shade to the array of animals living in the Mashatu Game Reserve. These trees are what give the reserve its name.
Another one of Africa’s giants seen here are the old Baobab trees which occur commonly on the open plains of the reserve and provides a haven for the largest single population of elephants on privately owned land in Africa. These huge herds of elephants are known as the relic herds of Shashe and are what remain of the great herds that once inhabited the winding Limpopo Valley. It is estimated that there are over 500 of these magnificent beasts here. The reserve is also home to lion, cheetah, eland, impala, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra. Nocturnal game drives offer glimpses of porcupine, aardvark, and springhare, and lucky guests might spot bat-eared fox, spotted genet, tufted-ear Lynx, African wildcat and leopard. Over 350 species of birds have been found. Other ways to view game include guided walks, mountain bicycles and on horseback.
The beauty and ruggedness of this unspoilt African landscape has its fair share of history and legend as well. The Motlouse Ruins and Pitsane Koppie is the place to be if you want to learn about ancient civilisation. Some of the ruins at Mashatu pre-date the nearby Great Zimbabwe ruins, making the area an archaeologists’ dream.