Mashatu-MalaMala Africa Photo Safari
This is an EXCLUSIVE 8-day wildlife photography safari at MalaMala Private Game Reserve in South Africa and Mashatu Private Game Reserve in Botswana with professional wildlife photographer and instructor Kathleen Reeder. MalaMala and Mashatu offer the most concentrated geographic opportunities to photograph the BIG FIVE in a non-touristy way in all of Africa. This safari caters to 6 photographers only. It includes exclusive use of 2 open vehicles at each reserve, providing each photographer with a full vehicle row for viewing, equipment and set up. At Mashatu, it also includes exclusive use of 2 underground hides, designed and built especially for photographers, offering eye level photography while the wildlife drinks water. This safari is designed for intermediate and advanced photographers who are in good physical condition and can easily walk a mile on uneven terrain.
May 20: Met by Kathleen Reeder at Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport
May 20: Overnight lodging at Garden Court, OR Tambo Airport
May 21: Flight from Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport to Mashatu (1 hr)
May 21 – 25: 4 days/nights at Mashatu Private Game Reserve
May 25: Charter Flight from Mashatu to MalaMala (2 hr)
May 25 – 28: 3 days/nights at MalaMala
May 28: Flight from MalaMala to Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport (1 hr)
Price and Terms
- $8,200 per person, double occupancy
- Add $800 for single supplement
- $4,000 non-refundable deposit required upon registration
- Balance due by February 20, 2017
- Cancellation after February 20, 2017 requires 100% of balance due
- All lodging, meals and ground transportation
- Air transfers to/from Mashatu and MalaMala and back to the Johannesburg OR Airport
- All game drives and use of photographic hides
- All instruction and guidance prior to and during the workshop
- International air transportation to/from Johannesburg OR Airport
- Trip Insurance (highly recommended)
For air transfer flights in Africa, luggage restrictions are 33 lb checked and 13 lb carry on; soft bags only
Mashatu Game Reserve comprises 72,000 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 Giants”, takes its name from the locally sacrosanct Mashatu or Nyala berry tree 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 of 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 many other interesting species, in. For bird photographers, Mashatu is home to more than 350 bird species, including the enchanting lilac-breasted roller. The lilac breasted roller is Botswana’s national bird and has striking plumage made up of eight different colors.
Photographic hides are sunk into the ground right next to a waterhole that is in prime elephant habitat. It is located on a major elephant thoroughfare on route to shade on the banks of the Matabaole and Majale Rivers where the elephant wait out the heat of the midday sun. Shortly after sunrise, when the mornings heat up, the elephant herds pass the hide and drink. Inside, seating is arranged so that photographers’ heads are at ground level. Elephants tower above photographers as they splash and drink in the water as close as 10 feet away. The hide is a strong metal structure and totally elephant-proof allowing for total peace of mind. Many other species also visit the water hole.
Mammals and reptile on Mashatu Private Game Reserve include Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Common Duiker, Eland, Impala, Klipspringer, Kudu, Steenbok, Waterbuck, Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Cape Fox, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Zebra, African Wild Cat, Caracal, Serval, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Aardwolf, Spotted Hyena, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Thick-tailed Bushbaby, Lesser Bushbaby, Cape Clawless Otter, Honey Badger, Striped Polecat, Sprinhare, Tree Squirrel, Bushpig, Warthog, African Civet, Large / Small-spotted Genet, Banded Mongoose, Selous Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, White-tailed Mongoose, Antbear, Pangolin, Rock Dassie, Yellow-spotted Rock Dassie, Scrub Hare, Common African Python, Leopard Tortoise, Nile Crocodile, Tree Monitor, Water Monitor.
Our accommodations at Mashatu will be a 30 minute vehicle transfer from Mashatu Main Camp to a refuge that is very different. The Mashatu Tent Camp is almost one with the environment; blink and you might miss it! This tented camp is the leisure choice for the guest who seeks the ultimate one-on-one bush experience and who prefers a more intimate environment. Eight completely private tents are tucked under the branches of enormous trees, accessible via meandering pathways. The tents themselves are spacious and comfortable and large enough that adults need not duck to move around in. Each is mounted on a concrete platform and has its own private outdoor en-suite facilities, including W.C. and shower. Imagine showering under the stars!
MalaMala Game Reserve is the first commercial private game reserve in South Africa and is the model on which all other private game reserves now operate.
A map of the reserve demonstrates the significance of MalaMala’s location in relationship to Kruger National Park. The unfenced eastern boundary with the Kruger National Park allows wildlife to move freely onto MalaMala and many of the territorial animals such as leopard, lion and rhino will have a territory overlapping a portion of both reserves.
MalaMala’s river frontage running north to south is the lifeblood of the reserve, especially in the dry winter months. It is also an important boundary between the areas of human habitation on the western bank of the river and the pristine wilderness area of MalaMala on the eastern side between the river and the Kruger National Park.
When animals move it is often due to water. Wildlife moves from the 4 million acres east of the Sand River, through MalaMala to the river and back again resulting in two way traffic across the reserve.
MalaMala is the oldest and largest private game reserve in the area. Due to the superior environmental policies of MalaMala over a long period of time, the land has remained fairly undisturbed resulting in prolific abundance of tertiary grasses. This attracts the herbivores which in turn attracts the predators.
When grass and ground is disturbed the resultant grass species to first grow up are known as pioneering species. Due to these grasses having to grow in tough areas they tend to be bitter to taste and not very palatable. If left undisturbed several grass species will grow in that area until the tertiary species finally grow through. Animals enjoy this sweet grass the best and will therefore stay in an area which has the most tertiary species of grasses.
There is no time limit on sightings which is an ideal scenario for photographers – no ‘queue to view’ as this enormous tract of land has a low density of vehicles traversing the area.
TOTAL SIGHTINGS: MAY 2016
LION – 75
LEOPARD – 97
ELEPHANT – 123
BUFFALO – 92
CHEETAH – 11
CAPE HUNTING DOG – 5
RHINO SITINGS NOT PUBLISHED FOR THEIR PROTECTION
Our accommodations at MalaMala will be the MalaMala Main Camp that has ten luxury rooms. Camp facilities include:
• Mobile phone coverage (MTN) and complimentary wireless internet connectivity
• An impressive lounge, air-conditioned dining room and historic bar
• A library with satellite television and complimentary internet connectivity
• A large safari deck, in the shade of a Jackalberry tree at the Sand River’s edge
• A safari boutique with quality clothing, jewelry and artifacts
• A massage service available on request