Mashatu Game Reserve comprises 29,000 hectares (72000 acres) of privately owned land in the conserved wilderness area known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. The reserve lies in the eastern extremity of Botswana where the great Limpopo and Shashe Rivers converge. This exceptionally diverse landscape includes wide open plains, grassland, riverine forests, rocky hills, marshland and majestic sandstone ridges.
Mashatu, “Land of the Giants”, takes its name from the locally sacrosanct Mashatu or Nyala berry tree (Xanthrocercis zambesiaca) and the giants that roam its terrain. These magnificent dark green trees, which are found along the rivers in the reserve, provide refuge, shade and food to a myriad wildlife. Mashatu, which is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in southern Africa, avails a sanctuary to the largest herds of elephant on privately owned land on the continent. In addition to that, the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe, the world’s largest antelope, the eland, the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, and the world’s heaviest flying bird, the kori bustard are all part of the game drive experience on Mashatu. Add the king of the beasts, the lion and the iconic baobab tree…and you have Africa’s big seven land based giants.
Because of the exceptional diversity of landscapes of the reserve, Mashatu enjoys an ecological biodiversity uncommon in other game reserves. Three members of the Big Five, namely the leopard, the lion and the elephant are complimented by some lesser well-known, but interesting, species, including the aardwolf (or “earth wolf”), the bat-eared fox, the African wildcat, the honey badger, the spotted hyena and the black-backed jackal. For visitors who are interested in bird life and bird photography, Mashatu is home to more than 350 bird species, including the enchanting lilac-breasted roller. The lilac breasted roller has striking plumage which made up of eight different colours. Mashatu is also home to the largest flying bird native to Africa, the Kori Bustard, which is the national bird of Botswana.