Tuli Block Conservancies
Travel to Tuli Block Conservancies – Experience Multi-activity in Botswana
Originally set aside as a transit route for Cecile Rhodes Cape-to-Cairo railway, the Tuli Block is now home to the world’s largest population of elephant on private land with some of the world’s biggest privately owned game farms.
The Tuli block became its awkward long narrow shape when it was given to Cecil John Rhodes in the late 1800’s to build a railway line. There were far too many small rivers to cross, so the line was eventually constructed further west. Access to the area was historically bad due to poor quality dirt roads and by the 1960’s it became obvious that game farming and tourism were the better options for Tuli Block land. Farms began to consolidate into conservation areas, which became privately owned reserves including the Tuli Game Reserve and Mashatu – which is the largest privately owned game reserve in Southern Africa.
The wildlife areas are located between the Limpopo, Motloutse (Great Elephant) and Shashe Rivers and is a diverse wilderness of open grass plains, marshlands, massive trees hugging the riverbanks and a fascinating variety of rock types. Giant boulders and rocky outcrops are punctured by huge peculiar-looking Baobab trees and cacti-like Euphorbias.
There are few fences in the entire Tuli area which permits unrestricted travel for animals along a large section of the Limpopo River. As a result most game farms and private lodges see migrant populations of impala, wildebeest, kudu and zebra as well as resident bushbuck, waterbuck, warthog and hippo. Nearer the Motloutse River you can add hyena, elephant, lion, leopard and cheetah to the list.
Mashatu boasts the single largest population of elephants on privately owned land (in excess of 700), and you are almost guaranteed to see lion and leopard while staying there plus a zebra, giraffe, eland, impala, steenbok and cheetah.
There are a wonderful variety of birds here, some who soar and others who prefer to keep their feet on the ground. Circling in the thermals you will see lappetfaced vultures, majestic black eagles and martial eagles, while darting to catch insects are brilliantly coloured bee-eaters, kingfishers and rollers,. On the ground are ostriches, huge kori bustards, saddle-billed storks and the rather peculiar-looking ground hornbill. Other birds to watch out for are giant eagle owls and Meyer’s parrots.
It is the only place in the world where one can ride mountain bikes or horses among huge herds of elephants or take a canoe along the banks of the Limpopo River. The Tuli wildlife areas are all under private management, so all visitors must have prior bookings. Rangers and trackers are usually from the Tswana tribe
During night drives (a speciality) you are likely to encounter the strange-looking springhare, which resemble small kangaroos as they hop around in the headlights. Genet, lynx, leopard, porcupine, aardwolf and aardvark are all shy nocturnal animals that might be seen.
Tuli has a choice of several comfortable lodges.
The Tuli Block Conservancies are easily accessible from Gaborone or Francistown. Mashatu is right on the South African/Botswana border so a safari to this reserve is an easy trip by road from Johannesburg or by direct flight into Mashatu by Air Botswana.
- Activity based excursions – including biking, canoeing and horseback riding
- Large population of elephants in every size
- Night drives reveal rare nocturnal animals, look out for eagles and eagle owls by day, strange-looking ground hornbills and unique geology with unusual rocky outcrops