Tuli Riding Safari

Mashatu Botswana: (IT-BORT04)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/botswana_mashatu_tuli.aspx

Mashatu Botswana
Allow the noble spirit of the horse to carry you on an amazing wildlife safari journey in Botswana; listen as your hoofbeats fall in the rhythm of the Africa!

This spectacular horse safari is in the remote Tuli Block of the south-eastern corner of Botswana; home to the impressive Mashatu Game Reserve, the “Land of the Giants” is an area of great diversity, magnificent vistas, unique land formations, wondrous history and legends as ancient as time itself. It is the home to seven of Africa's heralded "Giants": the African elephant, the lion, giraffe, the baobab tree, the eland, the ostrich, and the kori bustard. Each safari is an experience of a lifetime! Here you are surrounded by exotic flora and fauna and bordered by the majestic Limpopo River, guided and befriended by expert horseback guides and jeep rangers. Imagine being enveloped in the wild African bush, falling sleep in tents under the mighty baobab (Mashatu) trees while the lions and hyena serenade you under the starry night sky, waking again to retake your position in the saddle for the ultimate safari vantage point.

Our classic and most popular safari, the Tuli Safari, is a seven night mobile safari, which covers approximately 120 miles over the course of the week and is scheduled from February to November. Each riding day ends at beautiful camps with welcoming walk-in tents, full size beds, fresh cotton linen and hot showers. The safari embraces fine dining in the wilderness and every evening is a delightful mix of good food and good company.


This is a wilderness ride, so nights will be spent in a mixture of lodges and camps.

A total of 3 nights at the Two Mashatus camp, 1 night at Majele River Camp, 2 nights in Kgotla camp, and 1 night at the wilderness fly camp. We have electricity at the stables, and can return batteries to be charged as well as laundry within 24 hours.

Night 1, 6, & 7: Two Mashatus Camp

Nestled in the shade of a Mashatu tree with two traditionally built Lala palm rondavel dining and lounge areas. Accommodation is in big A-frame walk-in tents pitched on teak platforms with en-suite bathrooms. Each tent is private and positioned in the shade of a tree with a small deck area in front on which to relax during the afternoons. There is also a pool onsite.

Night 2: MajeleRiver Camp
Rustic cabins set atop the Majale River. A beautiful thatched lapa dining and rest area set in the shade of a thicket old Mashatu trees. Accommodation is made up of two twin room units with each unit sharing a bathroom separate flushing toilet and secluded outdoor showers. As well as a large fixed site tent with adjoining outdoor bathroom.

Night 3 & 4: The Kgotla

The Kgotla is an old tribal court from a nearby community, which was relocated to the banks of the Motloutse River on the western periphery of Mashatu. The boma is an open-air traditional African enclosure made up of a circle of Leadwood logs. Guests sleep on beds around a large log fire which sits on a hearth in the centre of the boma. Bathrooms are shared.

Night 5: Liana Camp

The “Fly Camp” in traditional safari “A” frame tents with comfortable full size beds, cotton sheets and duvets. Facilities include hot bucket showers and a “Bush-WC”. Meals are cooked over a camp fire.

Room Occupancy
Triple occupancy is possible, however it may be a bit of a squeeze.
If you are willing to share, the single supplement fee does not apply.

Two highly trained experienced bush chefs will look after your every need. Breakfast is buffet of cereals, toast, fruit yoghurt and a egg or other dish e omelets or pancakes or muffins or porridge.  Lunch is a buffet eg quiches, salads, and home made breads.  Dinner is a 3 course meal served to you at the table, often under the canopy of stars! Vegetarians and other special diets are catered for; please inform us of any special dietary requirements. Please also advise us if any guests will be celebrating a birthday or special occasion, that you may want us to be aware of to help plan something special! All water in the camp is filtered to the highest standards and is guaranteed perfectly safe for drinking. All drinks are included with your tour.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions if given prior notice. 

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Experience
Guests must be experienced riders. They must ride regularly (at least once or twice a week) and be comfortable at a canter and gallop as well as being able to do small jumps should they have to. Our horses are mostly English schooled, so we highly recommend that Western riders have a course of lessons in English style prior to arrival.

Pace & Riding Terrain
We cover approximately 120 miles over the course of the week (6 riding days). Long extended canters are a feature of the safari.
We will enjoy exploring the differing topography of the area: open bush, wooded riverine areas, wetlands, and strange rock formations home to large baobabs.

We have a stable of 45 well cared for horses, with something to suit everyone including warmbloods, boerpherds, and other cross breeds, ranging from 15 to 17 hands.
Our safari horses have been hand selected for their endurance, courage and responsiveness.
Our philosophy has entailed managing our horses as a free roaming herd within large tracts of natural pasture, rather than in stables or paddocks. Our horses are at ease with each other and within their environment, which generates calm and contented natures. As a result, we can offer our guests responsive, subtle and honest rides.

Saddles are South African McClellan’s a military saddle designed for long hours in the saddle. They offer particular comfort and airflow for the horses back and padded seats and fenders for the riders comfort.

Weight Limit
No proper weight limit but please inquire if over 95 kg.

Guides & Safety
Guides leading the safari have many years’ experience and most have grown up in the area and know the bush like the back of their hand. Our guides have either professional or assistant guiding licenses with the Botswana Qualifications Authority. They are qualified to use firearms and qualified in first aid.
All rides are conducted by two experienced professional guides. The lead guide is armed with a rifle and a bull whip. All management staff and guides do regular first aid training with a specialized doctor for remote areas. The lead guide has a local phone and a radio for use in emergencies.

Hard Hats
They are compulsory. Please bring your own well-fitting hard hat.

Children under 16 please enquire. Strictly no under 12’s.

Non-riders are welcome on this trip. We can provide guides for walking safaris. It is also possible to follow the same itinerary as the riders by bike (the route will be different) for the same pricing as riders. A relaxed bike ride could cover 15- 25km in the morning and more advanced cyclists could cover up to 40km per day. The pace is generally easy going with regular game sightings, and a scenic picnic stop with an option to opt out of the ride at the mid-morning break if preferred.


Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1

Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to our reception area by the stables. After a light lunch it’s time to head off to meet your horse for the week. You will embark on a short introductory ride to make sure that you and your horse are well suited and then ride out to camp, where supper will be served in the Llala palm dining room of the Two Mashatus Camp

Day 2
The day begins at sunrise with tea or coffee brought to your tent, followed by a light breakfast. Mount up and head off from the dense woodland along the Limpopo River towards the shallow rocky hills that mark the edges of the great river valley. Your destination for night two is Majele River camp, a rustic series of cabins atop the steep banks of the Majele river. Here in the heart of the Mashatu area the game is plentiful. The Tuli area is home to one of the largest herds of free roaming Elephant south of the Zambezi and you are almost assured of great viewing of these incredible creatures. After lunch and a siesta you will take a gentle guided walk to a nearby lookout. Dinner is prepared over an open fire and enjoyed in the thatched lapa overlooking the river.

Day 3
An early wake up call heralds a new day. Today, your journey takes you through the heart of Mashatu to the ancient rock formations synonymous with the Limpopo valley. Giant Baobabs silently surveying the land  as they have for centuries, ancient elephant trails stamped into the soil and wonderfully long canters around the open scrub. This ride brings you to the banks of the Motloutse River and amongst dense old Mashatu trees a Leadwwod Boma that we call “Kgotla” after the old tribal court that was once held in its enclosure. The open-air traditional African enclosure gives perfect security to nights spent under the stars and a unique experience of the African bush up close and personal. Afternoon on day three is a choice of a guided walk or ride to the “Amphitheatre”, an ancient and awesome rock formation. Your walk concludes with traditional sundowners looking out over the Motloutse River. Back at “The Kgotla” dinner is enjoyed around a large log fire. The night is spent in the comfort of your bed set within the boma but with a ceiling provided by the southern skies, a blanket of stars to send you to sleep, a truly unique experience and just about as far away as you can get from city life and the modern world.     

Day 4
Is a choice of either a morning and afternoon ride, exploring the amazing sandstone formations including the famed Solomon’s Wall. Some of the oldest civilizations in southern Africa had their settlements in this valley, their kings safely nestled in royal kraals at the tops of these flat topped hills. The Mapungubwe topography is ancient and timeless, and combined with great wildlife sightings, it is certainly an incredible riding experience. Or the group may prefer a long morning ride and an afternoon excursion to the nearby village of Lentswe Le Moriti and the basket weavers followed by a trip to the Mmamagwa hills. At the end of a short easy climb and beneath a beautiful Baobab you are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Tuli area with South Africa to the South, Zimbabwe to the North and Botswana around you. This is a sundowner drink you will remember for many years to come.    

Day 5
An early rise and hearty breakfast for a good start on what is probably your longest day on horseback. Winding your way through the Mopane bush, always with the chance of sighting elephant, you will make your way to the rich plains area close to the Limpopo River.  Liana Camp is snugly nestled amongst giant Mashatu trees that line the Liana lagoon, a tributary to the Limpopo River. To ease your aches we use the afternoon for a game drive that takes us deep into the reserve in search of the big cats that the Tuli area in renowned for and hopefully, encounters with leopard, cheetah and  lion.

Day 6
Our ride today meanders its way through the beautiful plains between the Mojali and Majele rivers. Abundant with game and with spectacular views into the Limpopo River valley we work our way back to our base camp, Two Mashatus. With the feel of a returning traveler we end the ride back at Two Mashatus where you will have the opportunity to relax by the pool and enjoy the comfort of our permanent camp with its shady tents and ensuite bathrooms. That afternoon we ride to one of the nearby koppies for a sundown drink.

Day 7
Todays riding promises great game viewing from horseback as we explore the Pitsane river valley on an all day ride. The Pitsane has a spring high in the hills which provides regular drinking holes along its course to draw thirsty herds of game. An area where history has it there was a skirmish during the Boer war and Bryces store, an old supply post was destroyed. A Picnic lunch is served in an area of shady Mashatu trees before exploring further in the afternoon. There was once a stage coach line called Zeederbergs that ran from the towns of the Transvaal in South Africa to the newly forged settlements of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Those coaches crossed the broad Limpopo and followed the Pitsane river crossing into Zimbabwe. You will return to camp in the afternoon with time for a cooling drink around the pool. As the final day draws to a close you may take to your tent for a peaceful and dreamy last night in the bush.

Day 8
Your last ride in the Limpopo valley is a great opportunity to snap one last picture of elephants and a long and winding canter through the scattered Mustard bush with your guides. Arriving back at the stables with plenty time to enjoy a hot shower and a tasty brunch you get to say farewell to safari companions and newfound friends, it’s time for your onward journey.

--Please note that this is only an example as is subject to change.--

Other Activities
Afternoon game walks and once a week night game drives are also part of the itinerary. In addition to the game experience, Mashatu offers notable archaeological sites including the Mmagua Ruins.

Rates and Dates for Tuli Riding Safari

Rates include:

Combines 3 nights at the Two Mashatus camp, 1 night at Majele River Camp (rustic bedrooms and shared bathrooms), 2 nights in Kgotla camp (sleeping under the stars), and 1 night at the wilderness fly camp, all meals, drinks, 6 riding days, bush walks, drinks, laundry, guides

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionGBP ~US$
    20198 day trip, AP (High)£3080$4130
  • B
    20198 day trip, AP (Low)£2310$3095
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.34

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Single supplement (if not willing to share) £ 750 $1,005
2019 Air transfer from/to Johannesburg Airport at set times, return, pp on a Sunday (max 6 pax) - Mar 1st to Nov 30th £ 500 $670
2019 Road transfer from Johannesburg Airport at set times, return, per car (1-3 pax) £ 875 $1,175
2019 Road transfer from Johannesburg Airport at set times, return, per car (4-8 pax) £ 1,060 $1,420
2019 Air transfer from/to Johannesburg Airport at set times, return, pp on a Sunday (max 6 pax) - Jan 1st to Feb 28th & Dec 1st to 30th £ 825 $1,105

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 10/13 - 10/20 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 10/20 - 10/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 10/27 - 11/03 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 11/03 - 11/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 11/10 - 11/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 11/17 - 11/24 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 11/24 - 12/01 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 12/01 - 12/08 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 12/08 - 12/15 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 12/15 - 12/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2019 12/22 - 12/29 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve
A 2019 12/29 - 01/05 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP (High) 2 /10 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Transfers, gratuities, purchase of curios

Other Info
Meeting: Mashatu Game Reserve
Airport: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JHB)
Transfer: Johannesburg International

                                        Selebi Phikwe area














Average High Temperature (°F)













Average Low Temperature (°F)













Average High Temperature (°C)













Average Low Temperature (°C)













Source: NOAA

Botswana's climate is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. Often a heavy downpour may occur in one area while 10 or 15 kilometers away there is no rain at all. Showers are often followed by strong sunshine so that a good deal of the rainfall does not penetrate the ground but is lost to evaporation and transpiration.

Summer (September to April)
October, November and February are the hottest months! Temperatures in summer can vary from 12 C to 38 C at midday. The rainy season falls in summer, between November and March. In summer during the morning period humidity ranges from 60 to 80% and drops to between 30 and 40% in the afternoon.

Winter (May to August)
This is a period of very little rain, and delightful temperatures by day and refreshingly cool at night. Great time for those who prefer to avoid intense heat or insects. Temperatures during winter months vary from 4 C to 24 C at midday. In winter humidity is can vary between 40 and 70% during the morning and fall to between 20 and 30% in the afternoon.

For tourists, the best visiting months are from April through to October - in terms of both weather and game viewing. It is during this period that the wildlife of the great spaces gather around what water there is - the natural waterholes and the borehole-fed dams - and are at their most visible.

What To Bring:
If taking the vehicle transfer, we have no weight limit for luggage.
If taking the air transfer, you are limited to 15kg + 6kg carry-on per person. Soft bags only!

What is supplied?
- Towels
- Shampoo
- Shower gel
- Lotion

What we recommend you bring
- Hard hats: recognized riding helmets are compulsory for everyone due to new insurance regulations, and we recommend investing in a good quality ventilated hat for your stay with us. You also may not be covered by your own insurance if you do not wear a hard hat!
- Suitable riding gear. Jodhpurs or long trousers. Half chaps are recommended
- Suitable riding footwear such as ride/run boots
- Alternative footwear such as sneakers or hiking boots for around the camp
- Neutral-coloured clothing (khaki, brown, beige and green) that blends in with the bush (no brightly coloured or white clothing)
- Long sleeved shirts for riding
- T-shirts and shorts for around the camp
- Warm clothing (for winter, May to August) including fleece jacket and one other jacket for early mornings and evenings
- Waterproof raincoat (for summer, November to March)
- Sun hat
- Swimsuit
- Headlight
- Camera, film, cables to re-charge batteries (turnaround time is 12 hours) or spare batteries
- Small pair of binoculars
- Reading material
- Passport, travel itinerary, insurance details and medical information
- Sun block, lip balm, mosquito repellent
- Basic first aid kit with plasters (band-aids), painkillers and antihistamine
- Some cash for curios/tips all major currencies are accepted