Another ‘wilderness’ favourite of ours tucked into a secret corner of Botswana where the sandy Shashi river converges with the crocodile and hippo invested Limpopo river ‘all set about with fever trees’ within a sprawling savanna of stately baobabs and verdant nyala trees, after which the game reserve takes its Tswana name…

This unspoiled corner of conservation significance represents African tranquillity and authenticity set in isolated splendour criss-crossed by meandering riverbeds and ancient game trails free of tourist pressure and modern day distractions.

Nowhere else in the sub-region are black-maned African lions more magnificent in regal appearance or the variety of plains game more abundant as one traverses camera in hand across the sprawling savanna in open safari car comfort in the company of two highly experienced and bush-attuned nature guides from the immediate Tswana community.

This is an ancient land of archaeological mystery and intriguing historical allure dating back through the centuries of gold prospecting and ivory trading associated with early explorers, fortune seekers, bible toting missionaries and ruthless Arab slave traders of an African era now long past…

Vistas of scenic pristine savanna beauty in abstract patterns of green and brown, interspersed by meandering sandy river-beds and isolated kopjes, extend to distant horizons across a tapestry of pastel shades in response to the changing moods of the seasons and prevailing rainfall patterns in this semi-arid but wildlife-rich environment.

At days end as the red orb of a classic African sun melts into the distant woodland and twilight dissolves into a starlit sky of meditative magnificence, one savours the scent of the acacia fire and the cacophony of sound as the creatures of the night vocalise in orchestral harmony in the malevolent darkness beyond the flickering firelight…

Primordial is a fitting descriptive as the quavering contact calls of jackal and the whooping of hyenas inter-mingle with churring of nightjars and frog-like chirps of owlets, as a prelude to the spine -tingling reverberating resonance of a lion roaring in the distance as the ultimate sound of the wilderness.

Click here to listen to the night sounds of the bushveld …

‘Mashatu’ is nothing short of awesome in every sense of the word as elephant, lion, leopard and cheetah along with a wide variety of endearing smaller mammals and colourful birds are encountered during the course of an interpretative game drive along tracks and trails less travelled in this remote wilderness conservancy.

Wildlife viewing opportunities within the varied and scenic bushveld habitats constitute what ‘Mashatu’ in the wilderness sense is all about for the visitor, along with a selection of superb accommodation options from fully serviced safari tents set deep in the bush or luxurious air-conditioned chalets with refined comfort and internet connectivity at the main lodge.

Access by way of self-drive or an overland transfer from either Johannesburg or Polokwane in Limpopo to the RSA/Botswana border post is one option for the cost conscious traveller, while a scheduled fly-in to the Limpopo airfield from Lanseria airport in Johannesburg is another worth considering if travel time and budget so dictate.

Either way ‘Mashatu’ represents an bushveld experience at the highest level of unspoiled environmental authenticity, as well as providing a ‘gateway’ introduction for an internal flight to experience the world-acclaimed Okavango Delta of pristine swamp magnificence and a diversity of wildlife and photographic opportunity integral to this RAMSAR proclaimed site …..


A twice weekly flight operates between Mashatu (Limpopo Valley Airport) and Maun which links the Okavango to SE Botswana and makes a combination of a dry country habitat (Mashatu) and the water wonderworld of the Okavango a reality.

Also read our blog Magical and Mystical Mashatu for our in depth review of a safari experience at this special place.

Soundscape by


Patrick and Marie-Louise Cardwell
PO Box 74, Simons Town 7995 South Africa
Ph/Fax: +27 21 786 1414
Mobile: +27 83 272 2455
Skype: mlcardwell

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