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feedback on Mashatu &Pafuri

Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:02 AM
  #1  
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feedback on Mashatu &Pafuri

I am considering Mashatu in Southern Botswana, and Parfui and Mala Mala in South Africa for a trip in 2008.
I've read a great deal about Mala Mala on this board, but nothing on either Mashatu or Pafuri. I'd love to hear from somone who has been to those 2 camps.
Barbbroom is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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I know nothing about Parfui, but I seem to one of not too many Fodorites who have been to Mashatu. If you do a search for "Mashatu" on Fodors you will find some threads that mention Mashatu, but I am going to just cut-and-paste my comments from one of those. I think it may be even harder to get there now than when I wrote that post back in August.

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 Feb 4th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Thank you so much for your very informative reply! We will definatley do the Mashatu tented camp. It sounds just like what we are looking for.

Are drinks included for cocktails and at meals? I know you said they were included for sundowners.
Thank You!
Barbbroom is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:33 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Before you commit, check to be sure you know what arrangements you have to make to get there. From what I have seen, the flights from Johannesburg do not fly directly to the Limpopo Valley Airfield as they used to, and you either have to take a second flight or have a 2-hour drive to camp. Alcoholic beverages at the camp, other than sundowners, were not included when we were there. I'm not trying to discourage you, as you could tell we really liked it, but I am just going with my "forewarned = no whining" policy. The staff is probably different now, but Robert was an excellent guide. If you haven't seen it yet, hey have a pretty good website at www dot mashatu dot com. There is a pretty nice gift shop at Main Camp, they will take you there from Tented Camp for a visit. Feel free to e-mail me at hguy47 at aol dot com if you would like more info or some pictures.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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It was the curtailed flights that nixed my
decision to include Mashatu in this summer's itinerary. Thanks hguy for the info. I will have to get there sometime.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 02:45 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Barbbroom,
You must be reading my mind! I'm considering Mashatu for 2008 and have been wondering about how to combine it with some other places. Pafuri and Mala Mala are also on my list of places to consider. You even have my same requirements- quality wildlife in a rustic setting. I did a mobile tent safari last year and I don't need anything fancier than that. I was told by our driver in Joburg that Mashatu is driveable from there. I don't know about you but spending a day in a car is preferable to spending a day waiting around airports.
What time of year and how long were you
thinking of staying at Mashatu? I'm thninking at least one week at Mashatu since I'd like to spend a day each with the elephant and leopard researchers.
I was thinking about Pafuri on the way to Mashatu and then capping it off with Mala Mala on the way back. Let me know what else you find out and I will do the same!
Lily
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Mashatu to Joberg is very driveable, but takes 5-6 hours on good roads. We did a car transfer from Mashatu to Mala Mala and that took about 7 hours.
Mashatu was excellent, but quite unlike other parts of Bots in terms of scenery. Game viewing was excellent, with lots of Lion, Leopard and plenty of smaller predators.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 05:09 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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napamatt,
When you say the scenery was very different from Botswana, what did you mean? More open? more trees? Less water? Did it affect game viewing?
Thanks!
Lily
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