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Curious about Mashatu!!!

Old Jun 4th, 2006, 10:10 PM
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santharamhari
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Curious about Mashatu!!!

Hi! Has anyone been to Mashatu in the Tuli area of Botswana? I just saw a documentary on the Discovery channel (India) last week.

I went to their website, and it looks like great value for money......wonder how the game-viewing is. They have detailed sighting reports and looks pretty good.

Unfortunately, i hv no more safari time on my upcoming August safari.....but, would be curious to go there on a future trip.

The website just talks about access from Joburg, but, how does one get there from say, the usual northern Botswana game-viewing areas?

Gosh, Africa has so so so many options.....however, i think we are all fortunate and lucky enough to discover what ever part of it,in our lifetimes!!!!

Thanks
Hari
 
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 03:38 AM
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I'm curious about Mashatu also. I plan on seeing it for myself next summer. $ is always an issue for me so their rates are very appealing! I'd also like to combine some time in Zambia with my visit to Mashatu. Gotta have something to look forward to when I get back from my Botswana mobile tent safari this August!
Lily
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 05:23 AM
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I was at Mashatu in October 2003 and found it very enjoyable. It is definitely worth considerng if your budget is not huge. The rooms are very comfortable and the food is up to the standard of Mala Mala.

Game viewing is excellent, we saw lots of Lion, three Leopard, Wild Cat, Jackals, elephants and general game.

It is very dry there in October, and we found the general terrain a little depressing because of the lack of water.

The water hole outside the eating area is teeming with life and a lovely spot to just hang out at.

We stayed at Main camp and so have no comments on the tented camp.

All in all, I would definitely recommend it for big cats and for those with a more limited budget.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:13 AM
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We were at Mashatu in March 2003, and although it admittedly was our first camp on our first safari, we loved it. We later went on to four Wilderness Safari Camps in northern Botswana, progressing ever "upwards" to our final stop at Mombo, and although they had nicer facilities, we enjoyed Mashatu just as much.

We stayed at the Mashatu Tented Camp, but we did visit the Main Camp one day just to see it and visit the gift shop. IMO, the Tented Camp was a much better place to stay to get more of the feel for the bush, and cost much less (rack rate $180, versus $300 for Main Camp through March 2007, per their website -- drinks not included, except for sundowners). The Tented Camp is quite comfortable, natural, and simple, whereas the Main Camp is in an enclosed area with a large gate, carefully tended grounds and paths, and brick buildings -- very nice, just not what we wanted for our safari experience. Tented Camp has a hide, a two-minute walk away across a dry river bed, overlooking a water hole. I believe there are seven tents, and the camp is unfenced (we had bushbucks crashing through the brush around our tent). The brush is quite dense in the camp, so there is no landscape view there, but some spectacular vistas during the game drives.

Meals included coffee, biscuits, cereal and juice before dawn, a full breakfast after the morning game drive, a light late lunch before the afternoon game drive (all in the simple but comfortable common area), and dinner in a lantern-lit small "boma" with a central firepit, looking out over a ravine, just down a short trail (with an armed guide in the dark) from the common area. The food was good, nothing spectacular. Each tent had its own toilet and an open-to-the-sky shower in a reed-enclosed area connected to the tent.

The two camps are only about 10 minutes apart and share the same game drive area, so that doesn't change regardless of where you stay. We had both a guide and a tracker in an open vehicle, and they were both excellent. We saw most of the "usual" animals, including leopards, lions (only 2 females), and cheetahs, but no buffalo nor rhino. The afternoon game drive stays out well after dark, so you get a taste of night drives. You can also do bicycle rides as well with a guide (during the day, of course). The topography is much different than the Okavango Delta, being fairly hilly in some areas, with more trees, and some dry riverbeds.

Back in 2003 you could fly from Jo'burg to the Linyanti airport twice each week, with the flight then going on to the Kasane airport (to go on to Victoria Falls and northern Botswana areas), so you could conveniently plan a stay at Mashatu for either 3 or 4 days. However, I believe (but am not sure) that now there are only flights to and from Jo'burg, so you would have to back track. Some of the other visitors while we were there had flown in in a private plane, some others had driven in their own vehicle.

Overall, Mashatu Tented Camp was a wonderful experience, and an excellent value. It is a little harder to get to now, so that could be a factor. If you can fit Mashatu in to your travel plans, I highly recommend it.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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santharamhari
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Thanks Napamatt,

Will strongly consider it for future safaris as an add-on.

Thanks
Hari
 
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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I also stayed at the tented camp in Jul03. I ditto what Matt and hguy47 said. It is harder to get to than some other camps but I would definitely go again. I loved the tented camp.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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Thank you, all! I have been considering Mashatu for our next trip (don't know when that will be!), so this information is very helpful to me too.

Celia
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for all the great info! I will definitely add it to my "to do" list for my next trip. The tented camp sounds exactly right for me and the price can't be beat! I'm glad to hear that the wildlife viewing was good.
Mashatu Here I Come!
Lily
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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I was going to lead a group trip here but it fell through. It is possible to go out with a leopard researcher who can track radio-collared leopards for a very reasonable price of $35 per research drive. I would recommend anyone heading to Mashatu book one drive with the researcher as you will probably find it very interesting how they use the telemetery equipment to track animals and it gives you a great chance to find them.

I think a great itinerary is to drive to Sabi Sands and be saturated with animals and then drive to Mashatu with a nice mountain escape overnight to break up the drive and get a one day change of pace from safari -- somewhere like the Coach House in Tzaneen where you could bike, swim, golf get a message whatever before hitting the big open space of Mashatu. Combined with Elephant Plains in Sabi Sand you can have a tremendous safari at a pretty reasonable price. I would still like to get a group to do that trip.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 12:59 PM
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Predator - have you been to Elephant Plains? I think I've only read one trip report from EP here on Fodors.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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Sundowner: I have not but I have seen a couple of very good reviews for it and I think for its price it offers very comparable game viewing to much more expensive properties in the area. It is definitely a camp I plan to get to at some point.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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santharamhari
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Thanks hguy47 for your detailed msg. Sorry, dont know how i missed it earlier......maybe our posts crossed at the same time.

Also thanks sundowner and pred, now i will def put Mashatu on my list.

I would think...the very low overall vegetation would make spotting and photographing animals very good.

Also, they probably have good guiding like at Mala Mala.

Hari
 
Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 06:10 AM
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Hari,

I'm looking at going to Mashatu in July 2007

Predatorbiologist :
without knowing you wrote this, I plan on doing exactly what you recommend :
saturate ourselves with animals in Sabi Sand (or Timbavati) for 3 nights, then drive up to Tzaneen, then have 4 or 5 nights at Mashatu tented or main camp (maybe a combination of both because the tents might be a bit cold in July), go out to do the search for elephants and predators , and after that come back and stay 2 nights at the Outpost in N. Kruger (Pafuri area). I've choosen the Outpost because of the design of the rooms, the very good wine cellar which is included, and the comments on the good food.

Has anyone stayed at the Outpost or mayb Pafuri camp (WS) before ?

hilde

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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 07:23 AM
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santharamhari
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Awesome Hilde!!!

Hari
 
Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Hilde,

You have an assignment for August of 2007. Please tell us about your Mashatu stay. Four of five days should allow for plenty of insight.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Hilde: well done! That should be a tremendous trip with a great variety of wildlife, habitats,and activities.

I hope to plan something similar when I have the opportunity.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 09:29 PM
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Hari , Lynn,

I am waiting to get a total price from my travel agent here in Belgium. If this is within my limited budget (hey, we're a family of 5, paying for at least 2 rooms per night!) ,I am sure I will go ahead and book this itinerary.
Leaving Gabon and Zambia for a future
trip (when it's just me and my husband traveling)
I'll definitely write a report then..

predatorbiologist,
me too , I like the variety of that trip.
I hate traveling long distances.
That's why I always try to build a good itinerary with no full days lost in traveling,
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 06:36 AM
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Hilde,

Gabon too?! That's moving to the top of my list! You should be my scout. Have you learned anything interesting about lodges, camps, or operators for Gabon that you would wish to share? I could swap you some Zambia insights.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:35 AM
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Cherri Briggs from Explore has just spent a month in Gabon researching safari tourism there for her Tour Operating business and as she always does her research properly would be your best source of information on Gabon - www.exploreafrica.net and mail [email protected]
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