This is a fast, fun ride, offering some of the best horses and most exciting game viewing in Africa.
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There is little to match the adventure of the Tuli Trail, a mobile safari which runs between April and October covering 120 miles of the Mashatu Reserve, exploring the banks of the legendary Limpopo River.
The Mashatu Game Reserve is in the Tuli Block, in the southeast corner of Botswana - a little known area offering some of the most exciting game viewing in Africa. It is particularly famous for its great herds of elephant, currently estimated to total over 1,700. Along the river courses which flow into the Limpopo River, huge riverine trees provide shade for eland, impala, wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck, giraffe and zebra, whilst at night the bat eared fox and African wild cat search for prey. The large impala population means there are many lion and leopard in the area, as well as cheetah and wild dog. The Tuli Block also hosts over 350 bird species.
The well behaved horses have been carefully chosen from various breeds. These bush-wise horses include Boerperd, Shire Thoroughbred crosses, Appaloosas and Friesian crosses. They range in size from 15hh to 17hh. You ride in comfortable stock saddles (but English saddles are available upon request). They have a great selection of horses available which will make your safari memorable.
The riding varies from exploratory and informative walks through the bush and in the riverbeds (dry or wet) to many short and long canters. You will also likely be jumping ditches, steep river banks and logs knocked over by elephants (jumping is optional). You could spend up to six or seven hours a day in the saddle, with plenty of breaks. On some days evening rides are also part of the itinerary.
Your first and last two nights are spent at Two Mashatus camp, in spacious safari tents with ensuite flushing loos and hot running water. On the trail you will move to different wilderness camps, some will have showers and flushing toilets and others have individual long-drop loos and shared bucket showers. You may even spend a night or two under the stars in an old tribal court.
The camps at Limpopo are not enclosed and a real treat will be to see game in and around camp.
Non-riders are very welcome on the Tuli Trail. Non-riders have tailor-made itineraries that allow guests to see the bush from a different perspective with game drives, bush walks and bush cycle rides, all with their own guide.
You are riding in an area of dangerous game. Only experienced riders and those with a spirit of adventure should choose these rides. These can be fast, challenging rides which can include gallops, jumping trees dislodged by elephants, and descending the steep river banks.
The horses on the Tuli Trail are some of the best schooled horses you are likely to find on a safari in Africa. They are versatile and athletic; a pleasure to ride.
Tuli Trails are normally scheduled to run between February and November, avoiding the hottest months of December and January. You will have the first and last night at Two Mashatus camp, and the rest of the time at a number of different bush camps.
The following is the likely itinerary for a seven night Tuli Trail.
Please note that the itinerary of each ride may vary due to local
conditions, but always with your best interests in mind. The order of
camps and particular camps used is not guaranteed.
You ride about 30kms each day on average. The norm is to ride out at first light (c.06.30) and ride for between four and six hours arriving at the new camp for lunch. In the afternoon relax in camp and in the cool of the late afternoon enjoy a bush walk or a game drive.
On some days your riding will be split so you will ride in the morning and in the afternoon. The evening rides are normally much steadier and gentle in pace.
You will be transferred by air charter. You will be met at Johannesburg International Airport at 11am for the flight which will depart from Johannesburg at c. 12:00 (1 hour flight time). If you are travelling by road on arrival at the Botswana border at Pont Drift you will be met by a representative from Limpopo Horse Safaris.
You should arrive in time for a late lunch in the thatched dining room.
After lunch you change into your riding clothes (so it will be best to pack these near the top of your bag). Then meet your horse and have a short introductory ride to acclimatise both horse and rider to one another. You will have a short introductory ride in the area first and then ride from the stables to your first camp Two Mashatus (if you arrive late you will be transferred in a vehicle to camp).
On arrival at camp celebrate the end of your first day with refreshing sundowners. Dinner and overnight at Two Mashatus.
The day begins early with tea or coffee brought to your tent. After a light breakfast the ride heads off from the dense woodland along the Limpopo River towards the shallow rocky hills that mark the edges of the great river valley. Your destination for tonight is Majale River Camp, a rustic series of cabins atop the steep banks of the Majala River.
After lunch and a siesta, there is a bush walk allowing you the chance to get closer to the smaller wildlife upon the ground. On foot you are able to witness the smaller creatures and plants that are missed from horseback.
Dinner is prepared over an open fire pit by Martha or Grace, both culinary wizards. Your day draws to a close with the sounds of the bush all around eating your dinner in the thatched lapa overlooking the river.
Today, is a long mornings ride and your journey takes you through the heart of the Mashatu to the ancient rock formations synonymous with the Limpopo Valley. Long canters sweep past the Giant Baobab trees silently surveying the land as they have done for centuries we follow the ancient elephant trails stamped into the soil. Your ride continues to Kgotla camp, an old tribal court on the banks of the Mocloutse River.
This afternoon you may have the chance to relax a little bit before heading out to the nearby village of Lentswe Le Moriti and afterwards to a stunning sundowner spot in the Mmamagwe Hills overlooking the Mocloutse River. This ‘Amphitheatre’, is an ancient and awesome rock formation. Here you can discuss the highlights of your day from a rocky outcrop and gaze out over the plains below.
Return to camp for dinner.
A shorter mornings ride exploring the sandstone formations, including the famed Solomon’s Wall. Ancient civilisations harboured their wealth in between these hills, where two mighty rivers meet – the Limpopo and the Mocloutse.
Later this afternoon you will have the chance to ride again on a quiet evening ride.
An early rise and hearty breakfast sets you up for a long day on horseback. Today’s ride takes you through mopane bush and across large open plains, where hopefully you will be joined by herds of wildebeest and zebra. You arrive at Liana camp on the banks of the Limpopo River.
Tonight you have the possibility of an evening game drive in search of the big cats.
Sundowners are taken in the bush, usually overlooking a Kopje, before returning to camp for another welcome dinner.
Our ride today meanders its way through the beautiful plains between the Mojali and Majele rivers. This area is abundant with game and offers spectacular views into the Limpopo River valley.
You will ride your way back to base camp, Two Mashatus. With the feel of a returning traveller you will arrive at Two Mashatus where you will have the opportunity to relax by the pool and enjoy the comfort of a permanent camp with its shady tents and ensuite bathrooms.
After some lunch, you will ride out to one of the nearby koppies for a sundown drink.
Dinner and overnight at Two Mashatus.
Today’s riding will hopefully offer great game viewing from horseback as we explore the Pitsane river valley on an all-day ride. The Pitsane has a spring high in the hills, which provides regular drinking holes along its course to draw thirsty herds of game.
History has it, that the area you are riding in today there was a skirmish during the Boer war and Bryces store and an old supply post was destroyed. There was once a stage coach line called Zeederbergs, which ran from the cities of the Transvaal in South Africa to the newly forged settlements of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). These coaches crossed Limpopo and followed the Pitsane River crossing into Zimbabwe. Today a picnic lunch is served in an area of shady Mashatu trees before exploring the area further in the afternoon.
You will return to Two Mashatus camp in the afternoon with time for a cooling drink around the pool.
Dinner is in the Llala palm rondavel. Experience your last evening in the bush, relaxing around the fire pit with the unforgettable sounds of Africa echoing around you.
The last day of your Tuli Trail adventure begins early in the morning. Ride along the Limpopo River, with hopefully the possibility of one last photo of the magnificent elephants. Arrive back at the stables in time for a refreshing shower and change before brunch.
Transfer to Johannesburg. You arrive into Johannesburg in time to connect with a flight back home or to continue your holiday in South Africa.
Non riders can enjoy the beautiful Mashatu Game Reserve from the comfort of a game vehicle. Or for the more adventurous, experience the bush from another perspective with bush walks and cycling safaris. Whilst the riders head out on horseback, you will set off on an adventure of your own! Meet up with the rest of your group for lunch and afternoon activities, which are taken together.
On the Tuli Trail, you stay at a number of wilderness camps including three nights at Two Mashatus, two nights at Kgotla Camp and one night at Majale River Camp and Liana Camp.
These wilderness camps all offer accommodation in canvas ‘A’ frame tents with beds (made up with sheets and duvets) and additional blankets for colder nights. Liana Camp has bucket showers and long-drop loos, which may be shared. Kgotla Camp has shared flushing loos and hot running water.
One night is spent at Majale River Camp, which is made up of rustic cabins. This camp has shared secluded outdoor shower and toilet facilities.
The camps are not enclosed and a real treat will be to see game in and around camp. It is not always possible to give you a double bed whilst on the Trail as most of the tents have twin beds. However, the two beds may be put together to be in effect, a double bed.
On all the safaris you should be prepared to share. It is not usually possible to guarantee single accommodation throughout.
Upcoming DatesThere are set dates throughout the year and additional dates may be available on request for groups of four or more.
LIMPOPO TULI TRAIL (7 nights)
| 1 May - 30 June
| 1 July - 31 December
|6 January - 28 February
|1 March - 30 April
|1 May - 30 June
|1 July - 5 January 2019
INCLUDES Accommodation; full board; drinks; riding; one game drive; one massage treatment
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT No single supplement if prepared to share, otherwise $1,365 (7 nights) for 2017 and 2018
PAYABLE LOCALLY Tips
NEAREST AIRPORT Johannesburg
TRANSFERS The transfer by air from Johannesburg to Limpopo is $546 (2017) and $585 (2018). If the
air transfer is not available, a road transfer is arranged at $217 (2017) and $246 (2018) per
person each way (min 2 guests)
In The Saddle Gallery
In the remote eastern corner of Botswana, lies an area known historically as the Tuli enclave; an area full of history and legend. Transfers arranged from Johannesburg airport.
May to August days are clear and sunny. Early mornings and evenings can be cold. From October onwards day time temperatures time can rise to high 30s. December to February are the main rainy months.
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This is a fast, fun ride, offering some of the best horses and most exciting game viewing in Africa.
Take a wide angled lens to fit your big smiles into the photos! A head torch is a must for camp.