Mashatu Game Reserve forms a major component of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. Situated within the ‘jewel area’ of the reserve and flanked by the national parks of both South Africa and Zimbabwe, Mashatu management pride themselves on the ecological preservation of the flora and fauna that reside within the reserve.
It is recognised that there are no fences that divide the sovereign components of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Park. Unlike the vast majority of private parks in southern Africa where the animals within that reserve are constrained by fences, there are no fences inhibiting the free movement of wildlife between the three countries. Instead, it should be appreciated that the animals that reside on Mashatu are not constrained by fences and other manmade limitations but that they reside on Mashatu for no other reason other than that they choose to do so. An enormous endorsement of Mashatu.
It is well known that pursuant to the massive poaching threat that Africa’s rhino poaching populations face, elephant are next and are already feeling the impact of ruthless poachers in East Africa. Mashatu provides a refuge for the largest herds of elephant on privately owned land in Africa.
Human densities within national parks and private reserves are ever increasing as the viabilities of such conservation areas are threatened by ever increasing costs of management and anti-poaching initiatives. Mashatu management have made a firm decision to maintain human densities on Mashatu as levels below the comparative statistics of reserves on private land in South Africa and elsewhere. By limiting the number of tourists, one naturally limits vehicle traversing in the reserve. Instead, the tourism focus has been expanded to adventure tourism where the impact is substantially less severe. Horses (horse safaris), bicycles (cycling safaris), the human footprint (walking safaris) and ‘stationary tourists’ (photographic hides) limit the imposition of tourists in conservation areas and, in addition, provide a unique selling point for the Mashatu enclave in the greater ecotourism industry in southern Africa.
Mashatu has, over the past 30 years, made it policy to benefit the residents of community villages on the periphery of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve through the opportunities of employment and provision of services. Priority is given to these community residents and, in many instances, present employees of Mashatu are the children and grandchildren of community members who have worked at Mashatu.
Most areas in Africa, which are earmarked for the conservation of wildlife and natural environment, are realising the increasing necessity for ecological preservation and support of the communities who live on the periphery of these areas, as well as the retention of their culture. In addition to the major contribution which the custodians of these sanctuaries make, they garner additional support from guests who enjoy these areas. This is done by way of charging the guests a daily levy, which is earmarked for conservation, community and culture.
With effect from the 1st of January 2019, all reservations at Mashatu, irrespective of the nature, will attract a conservation levy of $10 per person per night. This conservation levy will be included in all reservation pro-forma invoices for settlement prior to arrival at the respective camps within the reserve. For standing reservations made post the 1st of January 2019, these will be amended to include the levy.
The sustainability of wildlife areas in Africa is only possible through an association of three partners namely; custodians of the wildlife areas, the communities who reside on the periphery and those reputable travel professionals whose guests share this ethos.