Botswana Safaris

Mashatu Lodge, Botswana

If a Botswana safari is in your future, Mashatu Lodge in the Mashatu Game Reserve is perfect for wildlife and the 4-star lodge experience. Mashatu Lodge is close to the central areas of the reserve, where the wildlife density is high.
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Mashatu Lodge, Botswana

Words & Images by Diana Andersen

When people imagine an African safari, the images that come to mind are often those seen in Tanzania and Kenya, where sweeping savannahs with low-spreading trees are common. Giant trees and winding riverbeds are not typical African icons, but Mashatu Game Reserve in the southeastern corner of Botswana features both. Mashatu translates to ‘Land of the Giants’, referring to the reserve’s massive Mashatu and Boab trees and the elephants that roam in large numbers throughout this area. A visit to Mashatu is a unique African experience you will always remember.

What to Expect at Mashatu Lodge

In the game reserve, my second stay after Tuli Safari Lodge, Mashatu, is at Mashatu Lodge. This beautiful lodge is the first camp in the Mashatu accommodation portfolio to be established and offers excellent luxury accommodation. Fourteen unique and very private suites overlook the African bush surrounding the camp. The trees are alive with birds, and the main dining areas overlook a waterhole that elephants and other wildlife frequent.

A guide accompanies you to your room after a typical Mashatu welcome with a cool towel and a refreshing drink. As a bird lover, the walk to the room was delightful, with paradise flycatchers dancing around the trees above and a yellow-billed hornbill landing on the balcony as I entered the suite.

If you visit in November, the suites’ air conditioning is a relief in Mashatu’s hot summer conditions. You can also enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming pools between your daily game drives.

The Discovery Room

Another feature in keeping with Mashatu’s conservation efforts is the Discovery Room, a remarkable collection of natural treasures from the reserve. Skulls, horns, and other information about many of the reserve’s plants, animals, and features are on display, making it a great learning resource for families staying at the Lodge. Mashatu also offers a children’s learning program to entertain and educate children in camp during their stay.

Mashatu Lodge

The grounds of Mashatu Lodge.

ANIMALINFO PUBLICATIONS
DIANA ANDERSEN
Diana Andersen is a professional photographer with a Bachelor of Arts in Design. Major Australian galleries and collections hold her award-winning work. After years as a practising designer and a lecturer in design, Diana turned her attention to her other passion, animals, and became a zookeeper working in conservation. A published author, Diana initially used photography to illustrate her books, but it has since become a passion. Diana founded Animalinfo Publications in 2007.
Giraffe Fine Art print by Diana Andersen

Giraffe

A beautiful, intimate portrait of a Giraffe drinking by Diana Andersen. Professionally printed on premium fine art paper with archival inks, this image will look fantastic in any home or office. SHOP >

Leopard mother and son argue over a kill at Mashatu Game Reserve

BOTSWANA SAFARI 2024

Join a safari to the amazing Mashatu and Chobe in 2024, led by wildlife photographer and instructor Diana Andersen. Learn More >>

A Day at the Lodge

A day at Mashatu Lodge begins with an early knock on the door before sunrise. Like other camps in the reserve, the Lodge provides a light breakfast before the day’s activities begin. Mashatu offers twice-daily game drives in their open 4-wheel drive safari vehicles, but you can book other activities at an additional cost while staying within the reserve. These include visiting the Matebole Hide, an underground photographic hide where you can get a front-seat view of Mashatu’s elephants and other wildlife as they visit the waterhole to drink. You can also experience Mashatu on horseback, walking or bicycle tours.

The morning game drive includes a tea break, during which you can stretch your legs and enjoy a hot drink and a snack before returning to camp for a delicious brunch. Afternoon drives begin after high tea and finish with a sundowner in a safe location, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink while watching the sunset over Mashatu. Dinner is served on your return to camp, overlooking the waterhole. Dining at Mashatu Lodge features excellent traditional African cuisine that will not disappoint.

Southern Masked Weaver at Mashatu Lodge

Southern Masked Weaver at Mashatu Lodge

Southern masked weaver, Mashatu Lodge

Southern masked weaver in the grounds of Mashatu Lodge

Spotted bush snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus)

Spotted bush snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus)

Wildlife Experiences at Mashatu

Mashatu Lodge is close to the central areas of the reserve, where the wildlife density is high. The importance of having excellent guides and trackers on safari can’t be understated. It is remarkable how little they need to see to be able to spot elusive leopards and other animals. My guide, Fish, is Mashatu’s most experienced, with almost 40 years under his belt, and his tracker, Ephraim, has 20 years. Between the two, the afternoon game drive was remarkable, a testimony to their years of training.

The dry river beds in winter provide transit routes for many animals, including giraffes, blue wildebeest, kudu, herds of impala, and elephants. Water is close to the soil’s surface, and small pools form where the elephants dig, attracting other animals. With recent showers and the rainy season approaching, small amounts of vegetation had sprouted in the riverbed. While impalas and baboons foraged on the river bed, the vast overhanging branches of trees along the river provided perfect cover for predators looking for an easy meal.

The safari vehicles navigate the rugged terrain without effort, winding in and out of the riverbeds looking for predators. Leopards take their kills into the tree branches to avoid losing them to competitors, and lions drag them into the shade to prevent eating in Mashatu’s scorching summer sun. Within a short time, my guides found a leopard with an impala kill at the base of a tree. As we sat and watched, another approached. It was her son, anxious to share his mother’s meal, but he was told to mind his manners and wait his turn! The opportunity to see and photograph this natural behaviour was both exciting and a privilege.

After leaving the leopards enjoying their meal, we found lions feeding on a giraffe kill. Giraffes are plentiful in Mashatu, and this area’s powerful resident lion pride has learnt to bring them down. It was a substantial giraffe, and I was relieved I did not witness its demise.

The vehicles in the reserve cover different areas but contact each other when there is a sighting. I couldn’t have been happier with what I had seen during the day’s drive, but as we followed the lions, the call came over the radio that cheetahs were also in the area. When we found the cheetahs, the light was beautiful, and the sun was setting, a spectacular finish to a wonderful day in Mashatu.

Leopard mother and son argue over a kill at Mashatu Game Reserve

Leopard mother and son argue over a kill at Mashatu Game Reserve.

Male lion in the central areas of Mashatu Game Reserve.

Mature male lion at Mashatu.

Young male lion at Mashatu Game Reserve in the late afternoon light.

Male lion at Mashatu in the late afternoon light.

Young leopard at Mashatu.

Young lion at Mashatu.

Cheetah at sunset at Mashatu Game Reserve

Getting to Mashatu Lodge

Mashatu Game Reserve covers 42,000 hectares and is one of the largest in Southern Africa. The Pont Drift border post between South Africa and Botswana is the most commonly used entry point when visiting Mashatu.

Air transport is available to take guests from Johannesburg’s Lanseria airport to the Limpopo Valley Airfield (LVA), a private airport within Mashatu Game Reserve. By road, the border post is an enjoyable 6 ½ drive from Johannesburg, allowing you to see some of South Africa’s countryside. Mashatu Connect, the reserve’s transport booking entity, will handle all your transport requirements regardless of which you choose.

Being privately owned land, only Mashatu’s vehicles are allowed within the reserve, allowing you to enjoy this remarkable part of the world in relative seclusion. After completing border formalities at Pont Drift, you will cross the mighty Limpopo River in either a vehicle or via a cable car when the river is flooding. Your welcoming guide will meet you and transport you to Mashatu Lodge, where your adventure of a lifetime begins!

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Giraffe Fine Art print by Diana Andersen

Giraffe

A beautiful, intimate portrait of a Giraffe drinking by Diana Andersen. Professionally printed on premium fine art paper with archival inks, this image will look fantastic in any home or office. SHOP >

Leopard mother and son argue over a kill at Mashatu Game Reserve

BOTSWANA SAFARI 2024

Join a safari to the amazing Mashatu and Chobe in 2024, led by wildlife photographer and instructor Diana Andersen. Learn More >

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