STEVENSFORD GAME RESERVE – TULI BLOCK BOTSWANA

STEVENSFORD GAME RESERVE

 

Long weekend and we are on our way to the Tuli Block in Botswana. A trip which should have taken us two and a half hours, nearly took 9 hours, with 6 hours out of that battling to get through the Groblersbridge Border post. Both sides.  Due to the heavy flooding the area has had, all the border posts on the Limpopo were closed and some in fact are still closed and with our luck, the Groblersbridge only opened 3 days before.  Hence, heavy traffic trying to get through with staff on both sides caught unprepared.  However, I will not complain too much about the standing in the sun and the frustration, as I met some nice people in the que and we had many laughs, as each one had a story or stories to tell…and what the hell..we are in Africa.  If we cannot get appreciate ‘African time”, we do not belong here.

At last, we were through and another 45 minutes and we were at Stevensford Game Reserve. Stevensford is about 500km from Johannesburg (and for us from our home around 225km) in the Tuli Block and is a 4500 hectares of unspoilt bush and 3km of Limpopo River. The cottages is set in camp away from the river and in the bush and for the more adventurous, a few camping spots on the banks of the river, with basic ablutions etc.  The cottages are all equipped with their own little kitchen with everything you need, a little boma with braai (barbeque) and small fire pit. The bedrooms and nice, cool and beautifully clean with fresh crisp white sheets .   The chalets get serviced daily and staff lit your fire each night.  All you do is cook your food and relax.

Image

When we got there, the farm manager told us there was a leopard kill not even 200m from our chalet. Unfortunately, someone or something must have scared it off and the carcass was left.  Other half went to place his night camera, in case something came back to eat or scavenge.  Alas, when we checked the following morning, nothing even touched the carcass and by then the maggots were already busy with their job in cleaning up the carcass.

After checking the carcass we took a leisurely walk along the Limpopo river bank. Tons of birds and this is a twitchers’ paradise.  It is wonderfully quiet and cool under these huge massive trees and you get a sense of peace, which was very welcoming after the hub of city life.

 

We decided to go for a morning ride at the top farm and you basically cross the ‘main’ road to the other side and enter via a gate. We were the only people there and it was just great.  We had great sightings of Giraffe and also some Eland.  And of course some of the usual buck as well as Zebra.  Unfortunately there is no Elephant in this part of the Tuli , which was a disappointment, but I understand that there is quite a lot of  agriculture in this part of the Tuli there is a fence dividing this part of the Tuli from the rest.

However, this is a place of natural beauty. The ocra red of the Kalahari soil is breathtakingly against the white of the Sheppard tree’s bark, and the bright blue sky with the green of the bush.  And here you will have great opportunities for photography when the light is just right in the late afternoon.   It is stunningly beautiful.

 Image

For the next 3 days this little heaven was our home and we just relaxed, walked and went for short rides. You are allowed to go for self drive night drives.   However, if you do, please take in consideration the little night creatures as well as the nocturnal birds as we found a Bronze Winged Courser one morning, killed by a person who went on a night drive by themselves.  This is an uncommon bird to see and it was indeed very sad seeing this beautiful bird dead, because people are irresponsible.

Image

 

I will recommend Stevensford as a place of relaxation and beauty and I hope we will get the opportunity to visit again.

Image

Mashatu – Home of the Giants

 

Mashatu Game Reserve is located in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve of Botswana bordering South Africa. It is the embodiment of all that defines Africa. Space so open and vast, taking it all in is almost too much; majestic skies open to the universe and unfettered by smog; a quiet so loud it thrums with life; and unexpected adventure .

Mashatu’s camps are an expression of the warm hospitality of Africa’s people. Relaxation is key, regardless of whether your choice is the luxury of Mashatu Main Camp, or the rustic appeal of Mashatu Tent Camp.

Safari vehicles meander into the bush twice a day, bringing visitors into close contact with an Africa that is largely known only in wildlife documentaries and glossy books. But this Africa is real, and distinctly tangible through all six senses.

Mashatu Game Reserve is a place to connect you to the essence of what life is meant to be. Uncomplicated, bold, and beautiful.

The Mashatu Tent Camp (and my favourite)  – Just 15 minutes from Mashatu Main Camp is a refuge.  The Mashatu Tent Camp is almost one with the environment – just blink and you might miss it! This is the leisure choice for the guest who seeks the ultimate one-on-one bush experience, or who prefers a more intimate environment with never more than 14 companions (and no children under 12 years of age).

8 completely private comfortable tents are tucked under the branches of enormous trees, accessible via meandering pathways. The tents are themselves spacious and comfortable (enabling adults to stand upright). Each unit is mounted on a concrete platform, and has its own private outdoor en-suite facilities (including W.C and shower). Have you ever showered under the stars?
Instant camaraderie is a by-product of this characteristic camp. Meal-times are shared without pomp and ceremony, either in the open-air thatched gazebo, or in the boma overlooking a floodlit and popular waterhole. A plunge pool provides a refreshing break from the unrelenting sunshine typical of the summer months.

Clients may remove themselves further by visiting the hide, also overlooking the waterhole. The sturdy and shaded structure enables bush enthusiasts to sit quietly and to obverse animal species going about their day. And the best part – the animals are completely unaware that they are not alone. It is humbling indeed to be an observer, standing where the world is perfect

image-11 tented camp mashatu mashatu-tented-camp-480a