Hidden in the southeastern corner of Botswana, Mashatu is one of the largest private game reserves in the whole of Africa. It offers a wonderfully intimate safari experience with some of the best close-up encounters on the continent.

Where is Mashatu and what can you do there?

Mashatu is part of the Tuli Block, an area of savannah wilderness that neighbours South Africa and Zimbabwe. It’s a private reserve and you can only do a safari here by booking to stay at one of the reserve’s camps.

The highlight of this baobab-studded landscape is a multi-activity safari program. In Mashatu you complement daytime game drives with mountain bike safaris, walking safaris, horse riding safaris, and elephant photography hides.

Safari programs are all inclusive, so you can pick and choose different activities when you arrive. This makes it an excellent choice for large groups of people traveling together, particularly families with grandparents and grandchildren in one group. Everyone can have their own experience during the day then be together at the camp.

What animals can I see in Mashatu Game Reserve?

Habitats collide in this corner of Botswana. Rugged Kalahari-style savannah meets riverine forest, open marshland and sandstone cliffs. This diverse wilderness is able to support many different animals.

Mashatu is most famous for its large numbers of elephants. There are more of the pachyderms here than at any other private reserve in Africa.

All the famous predators live here as well – lion, leopard, hyena, cheetah, jackal, plus African wildcat. You probably won’t see them all on a single game drive but spend three days and you should.

There are over 50 different mammals in the reserve, along with more than a hundred species of birds.

Where can I stay in Mashatu?

The game reserve has three types of accommodation. A lodge is the most luxurious and comes with a swimming pool among other facilities. The camp is more rooted in nature and better for close-up encounters. Large groups can also book a villa.

What else can I do near Mashatu?

There are other game reserves and options in the Tuli Block, including the luxurious Tuli Safari Lodge in Tuli Game Reserve. Like Mashatu it offers a relaxing retreat combined with close-up animal encounters.

Combining Mashatu with other safari destinations

Mashatu is most easily combined with destinations in South Africa. There are twice-weekly flights from O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg and Mala Mala in the Greater Kruger.

Traveling by road it’s an eight-hour drive from Johannesburg to Mashatu, or an equally long drive from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.

Why Mashatu? And not somewhere else?

In Mashatu you can enjoy the service and opulence of a South African safari, combined with a landscape and animal experience that is indelibly from Botswana.

The main reason to visit is to enjoy a varied safari program. This is one of the best places in Africa for close-encounter riding and walking safaris; it’s very safe and makes for both adventure and adrenaline.