Posted May 22, 2013
The Magic of Mashatu Game Reserve
As this year races head, it’s hard to believe that only a few months ago a group of us were galloping through the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. Our little group of 8 equine enthusiasts, met in Johannesburg and were driven to Waterberg area for a night before heading to Pondrift Border post where we met our horse safari guide, Wise Mmanoka from Limpopo Horse Safaris. He drove us to the main camp and stable block not far from the border, on the edge of the Limpopo River. It was hard to believe that the Limpopo was just a sandy dry river bed.
Mashatu Game Reserve is located in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve of Botswana bordering South Africa and Zimbabwe. Mashatu Game Reserve comprises 25,000 hectares of unspoiled and preserved wilderness in eastern Botswana, at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. The seemingly endless plains range from savannah to riverine forests, marshland and sandstone outcrops. Mashatu, “Land of Giants”, takes its name from the Mashatu Tree and the giants that roam the reserve – The Elephants. The area rich in a diverse range of both animal and bird life.
We were accommodated at Two Mashatu’s Camp, a basic but comfortable tented camp within the park. An early morning wake up call with tea & coffee brought to our tents before we met around the campfire for breakfast. On our first day we headed back in the vehicle to the stables and the heavens opened and we arrived completely drenched. However, our spirits were not dampened, we were far too excited to find out what steeds we had been each allocated for the next few days. Some retail therapy bought us each a few dry shirts from their little curio shop and we were set to go. I was very happy with my quarter horse cross called Cirammon a 15.3 hh bay who I was to ride for the next 5 days. We were all given a quick test to see we were in control of our horses – rather like been back at pony camp and we were off on our safari. Every morning we had an exhilarating ride and rode for about 5 half hours but we broke the ride each morning for half an hour to get off our horses backs and to give ourselves a break. We rode through diverse terrain and had excellent game viewing. Riding close up to hyena, elephant, vultures feeding on a kill and saw herds of eland and giraffe. The area was desperately dry and was harsh for animals that rely on grazing as there was hardly a blade of grass to be seen. They were all waiting for the rains to arrive, so the wildebeest and zebra were looking rather lean and depressed. However, the carnivores were in peak condition, thriving on the easy pickings. Return to the camp for lunch and a siesta before going out in the afternoon for a game drive or walk.
One particular afternoon we came across a mother cheetah and her 5 cubs sleeping under a tree, all looking in remarkable condition. Another highlight was coming across two lionesses with their small cubs. Our evenings were spent discussing the day’s events with much hilarity, especially as copious quantities of wine were consumed during and after a delicious dinner. Twice we were blessed with a large male leopard that came into the camp whilst we were still sitting around the dining room table and seemed totally unconcerned about the human presence in camp.
West our guide was a great host and had incredible knowledge, not only on the flora and fauna but of the history of the area. Cor and louise Carelsen the owners of Limpopo Horse Back Safaris run a very professional operation and have probably some of the best well schooled horses we have ever ridden on a horse safari. Mashatu is a brillant game reserve for wildlife and a definite recommendation.
HORSE SAFARI TRIPS in the near future
We will definitely be going back to ride next year in Mashatu probably just after the rains and we would like to ride from camp to camp this time. Anyone interested in joining us please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Riding with the Migration in Kenya 11 - 18 September 2013
I am taking a group to ride again with Tristan Voorspy of Offbeat Safaris 11 - 18 September 2013 and have a few spaces left on our trip. This is certainly a trip of life time. However, we can only take experienced riders. Contact us if you are interested
THIRSTY LIONS TAKEN AT THE HIDE CAMP – HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, ZIMBABWE
Safaris and Agricultural Tours back to Zimbabwe
Its been 12 years since we operated agricultural tours into Zimbabwe and we pleased to say that we are starting again, with our first trips running this year. We will only be visiting legitimately owned farms whether commercial or small scale. On the safari side of things Zimbabwe is starting to boom again and become very popular especially Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Mana Pools. We have had great feed back from our clients who have been on safari recently
Gorillas in Uganda
Our first two groups to Uganda to see the Gorillas this year in June and July are fully booked. We have had such an overwhelming response from clients that we are looking to run a third trip later in the year. However, we will definitely be taking groups in 2014. If you are interested please get hold of us.
Daphne & the Zamag Safaris Team
ZAMAG Tours & Safaris
Postnet 726. P. Bag E891. Lusakacell: 00 260 977 618 194.