GABORONE, (The Southern African Times) – The Mopane tree with its unique butterfly-shaped leaves and kidney-shaped pods is often associated with “life” in Botswana – as they are the main food source for a lot of wildlife in the dry season. The Mopane is also the inspiration behind one of Botswana’s most exciting new safari lodges – Mashatu Euphorbia Villas which welcomed its first guests in May 2021, almost a year later than originally planned due to the pandemic.
The result is however well worth the wait! Just eight eco-friendly safari villas have been built using locally sourced materials into a cliff face, tucked away between a forest of candelabra euphorbia succulents. Each villa exudes earthy glamour – complete with a spacious viewing deck and solar-heated plunge pool to soak up the views over the Bojale river in absolute comfort. In addition to the full indoor ensuite bathroom, there is also an outdoor rain shower and a “loo with a view”. Meals are enjoyed in the beautiful Boma-inspired restaurant, in “the nest” cocktail deck/lookout – or in the privacy of your suite.
This “eco-camp” is proudly off-grid – powered by solar energy (the reserve enjoys 95% rain-free days so it would be silly not to!) and uses state-of-the-art greywater recycling systems to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Mashatu is known as the “land of giants” as everything appears larger than life! Big, beautiful skies – infinitely blue by day and starry by night. Vast tracts of wilderness dotted with iconic, mighty baobab trees. It is also home to enormous herds of elephants, the world’s largest antelope (eland), the world’s largest bird (ostrich), the world’s tallest mammal (giraffe), Africa’s heaviest flying bird (kori bustard), Africa’s largest cat (lion), the world’s fastest land mammal (cheetah) and one of Africa’s rarest predators (Wild Dog).
It’s also a place for big adventures with a small impact – where guests are actively encouraged to enjoy their safaris with a dash of adrenaline instead of carbon – be it on foot, by mountain bike, on horseback, or in a photo hide – rather than only enjoying the twice-daily game drives. Mashatu’s guides are some of the best in the business with an average of 14 years of service. With a maximum of 4 guests per vehicle at Mashatu Euphorbia Villas, this is one of Africa’s most personalised safari experiences.
Mashatu is committed to conservation and community upliftment and works in close partnership with the Tuli Conservation Trust and Children in the Wilderness. Almost all (97%) staff across the 4 camps are Motswana, making Mashatu the largest employer in the south-eastern corner of Botswana. During the lockdown, Mashatu paid out in excess of BWP12 million in salaries and wages, retaining all staff members despite its lodges being closed. Mashatu is also currently funding a nurse, Covid PCR & rapid testing services 24/7/365 at Limpopo Valley Airfield for the Tuli block community and is a ‘Travel Partner’ of The Long Run via its Classic Safari Africa membership.
There are daily flights from Johannesburg’s Lanseria airport direct to Mashatu’s Limpopo Valley Airstrip where guests can make use of on-site immigration and customs facilities.