Botswana : Tuli Block
The Tuli Block is a thin strip of land along Botswana's south-eastern border, a timeless prehistoric landscape where three countries, and two rivers, the Shashe and the Limpopo, meet. It is an extremely picturesque and diverse wilderness with river-hugging forests, savannah plains, open marshlands and boulder-strewn rocky outcrops, all punctured by huge peculiar-looking Baobab trees. This rugged, open countryside is cut by rivers and gorges, creating a habitat that supports a wide range of wildlife, including over 350 bird species and large herds of elephant. As well as the traditional open 4WD game drives, mountain bike and horse safaris are a speciality in this area, as well as walking trails. You can also visit Tuli's ancient archaeological sites, so it's a fascinating destination for those interested in African history and culture, as well as the wildlife. While night game drives are not permitted in Botswana's national parks, they are one of the main attractions of the private game reserves in the Tuli Block. Such nocturnal animals as leopard, lynx, genet, spring hare, porcupine, aardwolf and aardvark can be seen on the after-dark drives.
Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris host excellent riding trails in the Tuli block through its stunning riverine terrain, African mopane bushveld and famous sandstone formations. The wonderful scenery is complemented by frequent sightings of game including antelope, birds, lion, leopard, elephant, wild dog and hyena. Depending on the season, this riding safari can be a mobile camping safari or a static camp, with the added comforts this provides. There is also a more luxury seven-night Limpopo Lodge Ride on offer using a combination of the Two Mashatus Camp and private family-owned lodges. The riding is combined with game walks and game drives, and is suitable for experienced riders only (minimum group size is two, and maximum is eight). A four-night safari in Botswana can be combined with four nights riding in the Limpopo Valley in South Africa. Non-riders are welcome on all safaris and will be offered the opportunity to do other game activities.
Mashatu Main Camp
With 14 suites Mashatu Main Camp is one of the largest camps in the Tuli Reserve. The lodge has a thoughtful layout and all the rooms are extremely comfortable, huge and with en-suite bathrooms and direct views into the bush. In the evening there is a boma to enjoy the evening meal under the stars and during the day the dining area overlooks a permanent waterhole. The food here is outstanding; every meal there is something new and original and such a huge selection. A large pool is located in the centre of the lodge with ample shade and relaxing loungers to laze away in the heat of the afternoon.
The lodge is completely safe and well suited to families who want to introduce children to the wonders of the bush. There is a fascinating 'Discovery Room' and there is an ongoing Elephant research project that guests can get involved in. Other activities include cycling, horse riding, walking, archaeological site visits and both day and night game drives.
Mashatu Tented Camp is a small tented bush camp (during the last visit a leopard had made a kill next to the main reception!) in the northern area of the Tuli Reserve. There are only 7 tents all set amongst the thick bush and well spaced from each other. The tents are rustic in character but have every comfort, large wooden furniture, electric fans, en-suite showers and a private veranda.
The camp is small and welcoming; the management couple are professional and very friendly and will help you get the most out of your visit.
Nitani Lodge is the smallest and most up market lodge in the Tuli Block. There are only 5 large rooms in an exclusive corner of the lodge, each 'house' is completely private with en-suite bathrooms, plunge pools and uninterrupted views out to the surrounding bush. Most of the camp is built on high walkways with minimum impact on the environment. Every small detail has been thought of including a well stocked wine cellar, air conditioning and a large swimming pool and spa treatments. There is a star gazing computer so that you can make the most of the clear night skies and each room has its own telescope.
At Nitani you relax to your own timetable where the staff will work around your plans and expectations, the activities are plentiful and this area has so much to offer and guides are on hand to take you on both day and night game drive, walking safaris, archaeological tours or just bird watching in camp. Horse riding and cycling can also be arranged with other lodges in the area.