Mashatu Photographic Hides
There are two main Mashatu photographic hides that we tested. The Matebole Hide and the Elephant Valley hide. There is a further hide called the reflection hide which we did not test as it was still settling down.
It was at the Matabole Hide at Mashatu that Greg du Toit took an award winning image of elephants which won him first prize in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.
There is also a bee-eater hide, which is particularly good in the seasonal period.
How we rate Mashatu Hides
Mashatu Game Reserve
Mashatu covers 29 000 hectares of private land within the Northern Tuli Game Reserve at the centre of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area which spans the borders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It offers great predator and elephant viewing with 350 species of birds.
What you will see
What you will see at the hide depends hugely on season. We visited in May, which was too early for the hides to be operating fully. Over four hide sessions, we did not see a single elephant, which was disappointing. But the images that we have seen from others show that when the landscape does become dry (June onwards) they can be outstanding.
When to visit
The dry season, from June to October is the best time to be in the hides. The bee-eater hide would be best during October and September.
Why we loved it
At Mashatu guests are accompanied by a trained photo guide who joins them in the hide. The sessions, which are usually run over three hours, replace a normal game drive activity.
Photographers need to know
The hides are like a bunker with has a large metal door opening and then guests climb in via a stepladder. It’s a fairly tricky entrance for older guests. There are no toilets or refreshment areas.
Mashatu Photographic hides arfe extremely popular with photographic groups and bookings should be made well in advance.