• Busanga Safaris Mashatu Botswana
  • Mashatu Busanga  Safaris

Mashatu Botswana

A week on safari which can be extended or combined in to a safari to other parts of Botswana or beyond.
Mashatu is a private tract of land at the boundary of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa which forms a massive wildlife conservation area.  Very easily reached, it makes a great single destination safari for a week crammed with wildlife.  

Uniquely Mashatu offers a blend of abundant and diverse wildlife and a wide choice of activities to explore. This is a semi desert environment and is a year round destination, with very little rain fall.

Really suited to photographers Mashatu offers productive game drives in purpose built game safari vehicles and has several photographic hides, built to maximise the photographic potential of the animal subjects that visit them. The hides can be used to view wildlife in the normal manner but have been positioned with consideration of the angle of the sun, the background and the angle the viewer occupies in relation to the animals and birds. And there is so much more to explore on foot, horse back. It’s just that it occurred to me that it’s a good option in November when the water holes are dying up.  ! They have viewing blinds which are right next to the water. They only get an average 5 day with rain a month in the wettest months and then usually passing showers, so you probably wont see rain.

Mashatu have a main camp and also a Bush Camp which is more our style. 

We can avoid single sups but only only in Jan & Feb , They don’t have a green season but it’s not  very expensive,  they include 2 game drives a day but have lots of other activities that they charge separately for, like mountain biking , horse a safaris and viewing blinds with tuition !!


Rates for this Safari
Price excluding international flights:
2018 $4500 pp
No single supplement
Safari Summary


SPECIAL OFFER >>>>   No single Sups are charged in November, January and February .

Here is a link to Mashatu sighting and wildlife reports

You can hire telephoto lenses at Mashatu to save you carry yours or just to help you get the best photos you can.

Flights to reach Mashtau from UK are simply London to Joburg and a short connection to Polokwane, where you are met and transfered to Mashtau
The price we quote includes 7 nights at Bush Camp. Transfers from / to Polokwane.  Meals ,  Game drives and Two half days in your choice of viewing blinds.
Click Printable Version (Below) for pull details of activities and photo hides.
Full Safari Details
Mashatu Botswana


MOUNTAIN BIKE SAFARIS - The more adventurous may join a mountain bike safari in the company of an armed and high experienced guide. On a bike, the cyclist is, in effect, conducting his/her own safari and gets to enjoy the reserve and its inhabitants from a completely different perspective. The groups of cyclists meander along ancient elephant paths. The exhilaration of cycling amongst the “Giants of Mashatu’ is awesome, and should be enjoyed at least once on a safari for anyone with a little interest in cycling. Rides are generally enjoyed early morning.

Valid to 31 December 2016: US$55.00 per person per morning / afternoon cycle (Min 02 pax & Max 8 Pax) Note: children under 12 are not permitted.

WALKING SAFARIS The perfect opportunity to combine exercise with focusing on the smaller and no less interesting creatures of Mashatu, most often missed when out in a vehicle on safari. Although many opportunities arise to view big game, the focus is on the little, often overlooked aspects of the bush - tracks, plants, insects, etc. A walker is part of the environment and not merely a spectator. There is no better place to enjoy a walking safari than in The Land of the Giants. This diverse and mammoth piece of Africa is the perfect place to witness the intricacies of the wild animals of Africa, to learn about the hidden secrets of nature, to find the smaller creatures hidden in their bush homes and to see how the eco-system involves the inter-relatedness of species.
Valid to 31 December 2016: US$50.00 per person per morning / afternoon walk (Min 02 pax & Max 08 Pax) Note: children 8-12 must be accompanied by a parent. No children under 8 years of age.

HORSE SAFARIS - Limpopo Horse Safaris on Mashatu is recognized as having the best schooled horses of all the horse safari operators in Africa. The experiences may differ from Mashatu to the Okavango Delta, to the deserts of Namibia to the migrations of Tanzania and Kenya but one thing agreed on by all visitors and horse operators alike is that the Limpopo Safari horses are the best trained of the other operators.


C4 Images has pioneered the concept for photography in southern Africa, of an exclusive concession to provide dedicated photographic hides within Mashatu Game Reserve.
Guests can sit quietly and watch animals moving directly towards them, all the while taking pictures from unique angles, resulting in exclusive and exceptional quality photography.

Mashatu Game Reserve has become one of the most popular wildlife photography destinations in Africa over the last few years. Its popularity is a result of the photographic products that it offers as well as the excellent wildlife sightings that are viewed daily on the reserve.

Being an unfenced reserve the feeling of wilderness is immediate yet it is the openness of the terrain coupled with the relaxed animals that make it such an excellent photo destination. Whereas many other reserves have long grass and thick bush, Mashatu often has lions and leopard sightings in clear openings. This makes for wonderful photography of the subjects.

One of the biggest highlights at Mashatu is the relaxed elephant population. Having a breeding herd come right up to your vehicle and surround you completely is quite an amazing sensation.

The combination of large cat sightings, the most relaxed elephant population in Africa and the large number of bird life makes Mashatu the destination with the highest ‘hit rate’ for wildlife photographers in Africa.

What are photographic hides?

Photographic hides are structures built to maximise the photographic potential of the animal subjects that visit them. These hides can be used to view wildlife in the normal manner, but have been positioned with consideration of the angle of the sun, the background, and the angle the viewer occupies in relation to the animals and birds. A professional wildlife photographer will accompany participants to the hides. They are close at hand to tutor aspiring and experienced photographers in camerawork techniques which will enhance the quality of their images.

Why photographic hides on Mashatu Game Reserve?

  •   Mashatu is a semi-arid area. This means animals are attracted to water in the dry season (June October), making it an excellent location to allow animals to come to you.

  •   Drying pools in the rivers attract flocks of storks and herons late in the rainy season (February May), where the semi-permanent hides will be in use.

  •   Excellent elephant sightings at the elephant hides and out in the reserve.

  •   Excellent birdlife for the bird photographers.

  •   Open landscape that makes for easy photographing of wildlife.

  •   Relaxed plains animals

  •   Excellent and varied birdlife with many good perches in certain areas-making good bird photography very possible

  •   Excellent leopard sightings and photo opportunities

  •   Good lion and other predators

  •   Open landscape makes for very easy photography with no distracting grass or thick bush

  •   Dry riverbeds frame subjects well

  •   Drying pools create fish traps attracting flocks of heron, storks, etc.

  •   Wilderness area relatively close to the major cities

  •   Good night skies and night photography

    The Concession

    A resident wildlife photographer is based at Mashatu Main Camp to guide participants when they are in camp. Guests can also enlist his/her services while on game drives should they require further tutelage over and above time spent in the hide/s. The services of a professional photographer in camp, and the use of the photographic hides can be booked through Mashatu reservations as an additional activity which will be charged over and above the daily rates for accommodation.


Guests at Mashatu may use the hides for normal game viewing purposes as well as for photography. It must however be noted that regardless of their preference, they will always be accompanied by the photographic guide whilst making use of the hide/s.

Types of Hides Bee-eater Mobile Hide

A canvas tent perched on the side of the Majale River, this hide overlooks the life of a White-fronted Bee-eater colony. The birds are resident to the reserve year round; however they are found consistently at their colonies during the summer months when they breed. This can make the photographing of the birds often unpredictable and the best season is definitely the rainy summer months (October April). This hide is the place for the bird in flight photographer, with the aerial antics of the birds providing the ultimate challenge to capture in camera. When they are photographed, their sheer brilliance in colour makes all the effort very worthwhile. A nearby perch provides the opportunity for beautiful portrait images too. The breeding season starts in September and continues on through the summer season. This heralds courtship displays and bringing food to the colony- a very exciting time for the birds, but an even more exciting time for photographers.

Drive time from lodge: The colony is 20 minutes’ drive from Mashatu Main Lodge. Recommended lenses: 70-200 and up to 600mm.

Reflection / Infinity Hide

The Reflection hide is situated on the edge of riparian woodland along the thickly vegetated Majale River. The area is dotted with large trees, which attract an array of bird life, from the grain eaters to the fruit eaters. A purpose built semi- permanent hide has been erected in front of a water trough so you sit at eye level to the pool which ‘disappears’ into the distance, creating an illusion of the water flowing into infinity. This hide is ideal to visit during the dryer months of the year which typically lie between April-November, however in lower rainfall years the activity could push on into the summer season. Here you can expect to capture intimate bird portraits, bird in flight images as well as those beautiful reflection photographs in the still water; all with lovely clean backgrounds.

This hide has been built to be movable, which means we can change its location due to seasonal changes. We will always keep it in dense woodland so as to attract as many bird species as possible.

Target bird species: Buntings, Waxbills, Canaries, Barbets, Oriels, Grey-go-aways and Finches. Drive time from lodge: 10 minute drive from Main Camp, 20 minute drive from Tent Camp. Recommended lenses: 70-200 and up to 600mm.

Valley Elephant Hide

The Valley Elephant Hide is set in a far more arid environment to the Matebole Hide, and is enclosed by ridges on either side. This valley system channels the elephants walking to their feeding areas right past the hide. Water is sparse in this region, making it an almost essential drinking stop over spot for the elephants year round, however activity around the waterhole is always more frequent when there is little water on the reserve. The ideal time to visit the Valley Hide would be in the winter months between April-November. The valley hide has the most activity of the hides in the wet rainy season and provides some great sightings during this season too.

This hide is different to the Matebole hide in that it attracts many of the drier species, You can expect to see eland, giraffe, zebra, steenbok and wildebeest all coming to drink in addition to the elephants. A leopard is often seen in the valley and has visited the hide on a few occasions too.

The hide is movable and changes location as the birds change their roosting colonies. The bird’s movements are localised and change each season. If you book this hide, please check with C4 Photo Safaris / Mashatu a few weeks prior to your visit to see if the birds are active. If they are not, we can move your reservation to another hide, subject to availabilty.


Target mammal species: Elephant, Giraffe, Eland, Zebra, Impala, Steenbok, wildebeest.
Target bird species: Golden-breasted Bunting, Red- Billed Quelea, Mouse Birds, Finches, Green- winged Pytillia, Long Tailed Paradise Whydah.
Drive time from lodge: 20 minutes from Main Camp, 30 minutes from Tent Camp.
Recommended lenses: Wide angle 12-70mm, 70-200 and up to 500mm.

Matebole Elephant Hide

C4 Photo Safaris’ oldest and most famous hide, this hide has been producing excellent sightings since 2011, with many award winning and published images being taken from inside it. Photographers from around the world come to Mashatu just to visit this hide.

At a waterhole, a modified shipping container hide has been sunk into the ground in prime elephant habitat. Inside, you are seated so that your head is at ground level. Everything you see is from the perspective of lying on your stomach looking upwards. The hide is a strong metal structure and totally elephant proof so you can watch and photograph in total ease as the animals go about their business.

The Matebole Hide is located in an ecotone between mopane grasslands and the thicker central game viewing region of Mashatu. This unique combination of these two habitat types creates a wide diversity of bird and mammal species which reside this area. Elephants in this region migrate daily in the drier season, heading north in the evenings to feed and south in the mornings. The Matebole Hide is situated along these main daily migratory routes, making their visits to the hide very frequent. The hide is best visited in the drier months of the year which falls between April-November.

Target mammal species: Elephant, Kudu, Impala, Baboon, Eland, Vervet Monkey.
Target bird species: Waxbills, Mayer's parrots, African Green Pigeon, Firefinches, Guineafowl. Location: Moddergat, just below Beacon Hill.
Drive time from lodge: 25 minutes drive from Main camp and Tent Camp.
Recommended lenses: Wide angle 12-70mm, 70-200 and up to 500mm.

Lens Rental: (Offered from 1 March 2016)

Why Rent a Lens for your safari?

  •   The ability to rent-a-lens eliminates the worry of in-flight weight restrictions and carrying the extra load on- board. International travel weight restrictions have become stricter each year, making it difficult to travel with large amounts of camera gear; a large lens being by far the heaviest piece of camera equipment you will bring along.

  •   With the large cost to purchase a lens that may be used a few times a year, it makes sense to rent a lens specifically chosen to be the best for the few days in the year that you are on safari.

  •   We have carefully chosen a selection of lenses that are perfectly adapt for the terrain and wildlife viewing of Mashatu. The lenses we offer are suitable for the beginner enthusiast through to professional. With the open terrain that characterizes Mashatu, it is optimal to use lenses that offer the photographer great reach in order to zoom in on your subject. This is why all our lenses exceed the standard reach of 300mm that allows you ‘fill your frame’ and eliminate excessive cropping during post image editing.

  •   It gives you the opportunity to “see through the eyes of a professional photographer” and capture the same type of images that professional wildlife photographers take.

  •   You do not need to be a professional to use the lenses. Our staff will give you a 5 minute introduction to using and caring for the lens before you start taking great images with it.

    What will renting a Lens offer YOU?

    If you don’t own or use a long reach zoom or Prime lens, then the immediate difference in your image quality when using one of our lenses will be the first noticeable effect. The lenses have been crafted for high end results offering the best in sharpness and speed.
    If you already own a Lens, then the ability to rent one eliminates the need to bring along your own. Many people
    don’t own super zoom lenses that reach beyond 300mm. Our lenses all go beyond 300mm zoom length. This allows you to get crystal clear and close up images of your subjects. Some of our lenses extend to 600mm which allows for extreme zooming in to get images of small birds and the “eye of the elephant”. At Mashatu, the desired zoom length for photographing wildlife is between 400 and 500mm.


Renting a lens will offer you:

  •   Less weight to carry while travelling

  •   The opportunity to experience and test out professional quality lenses while on safari

  •   Use lenses beyond 300mm in length, a focal range that not many travellers ever get to experience.

  •   Photograph Mashatu’s wildlife with the optimum range of 400-500mm and thus increasing your chance

    attaining of excellent images

  •   Use lenses that perform best in low light. A lot of animal activity occurs at dusk and this is when these lenses

    still work very well.

  •   We supply beanbags and other support for the lenses when you rent them from C4

  •   To see the world and take images like a professional photographer

    Our selection of Lenses:

    Sigma’s motto is not to be the biggest Lens Company in the world, but simply to be ‘revolutionary’. There new range of SPORT Lenses is a true testament to this and they are on top of the game when it comes to versatile zoom lenses. The close focusing distance of 150mm and the far reaching 600mm ensure that weather you are in the hide or out on game drive, you can capture all the action. The aperture of f5.6 at the short end of 150mm tapers off to f6.3 at the long end at 600mm on this zoom lens. These lenses offer extreme versatility and flexibility, which in turn, means it is very easy for you to use and take excellent images with.

    Our Canon 500mm f4 and Nikon 600mm f4 Prime Lenses offer quality that match their impressive size. A Prime Lens is a fixed focal length and thus versatility is not an option. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise that professional photographers worldwide opt for these lenses to ensure the highest quality images in terms of sharpness and clarity. A low aperture of f4 means the fastest range of lenses on the market and perform exceptionally well in low light conditions. The Autofocus on these two lenses is exceptionally fast and for action or birds in flight, these lenses are outstanding.

C4 Images & Safaris


Nikon Sigma 150 - 600mm f5.6 - 6.3 Lens 2 Canon Sigma 150 - 600mm f5.6 - 6.3 Lens 2 Nikon 600mm f4 Lens 1 Canon 500mm f4 Lens 1

When choosing the lens that will best suit you, there are a few factors to keep in mind that will ultimately help you take better photographs. The best Lens is the one that suits the photographer the most.

Ask yourself the following:

  •   Can or do you want to be able to hold it by hand?

  •   Do I want to be able to zoom, particularly if you don’t own a zoom already to use alongside the large fixed

    focal lenses?

  •   Do I want to change lenses on a game drive if the fixed focal lenses have too much ‘zoom’?

  •   Do I want to sacrifice the lighter weight and smaller size of the SIGMA lenses over a slight edge in sharpness,

    heavier weight and marginally faster speed of the lens autofocus like the big fixed focal 500mm and 600mm


  •   Do I want a lens that will perform marginally better in low light conditions?

  •   Do I want to rent a lens that will cover all wildlife, from birds to close ups?

    Pro’s and Con’s over the Sigma Zooms vs the Fixed Focal Lenses

    SIGMA 150 600mm

  •   Lighter than 500mm or 600mm fixed lens

  •   Versatile, ie: can zoom from 150mm to 600mm

  •   Can be handheld if necessary

  •   For clients wanting to get a feel for a professional photographers point of view but without the burden of too

    much weight.

  •   Can fit into larger camera bag, making it easier to carry

  •   Great all round lens for all types of wildlife.

  •   Easy to manage and hold while out on game drive


Easy to operate

CANON 500mm & NIKON 600mm

  •   Needs support ie: beanbag (supplied) OR tripod/monopod OR Gimbal head (tube clamp provided)

  •   Excellent quality and fast autofocus

  •   Great in low light conditions

  •   Wide aperture for low light and shallow depth of field

  •   May be too much zoom for when close to your subject, so preferable to have a backup wider lens eg: 70- 200mm

  •   Perfect for bird photography and action

  •   Unparalleled sharpness and image quality

  •   EXCELLENT for use in the hides

    Cost of lens rental:
    The cost for 2016 and 2017 USD $95.00 per lens per day. This includes:

  •   Hand over to the client

  •   Insurance of the lens

  •   Maintenance and cleaning

    Photographic Rates (in US$ per person)

    Hide Session Half Day (Morning or Afternoon session) Hide Session Full Day (Morning & Afternoon session) Tutoring at camp. Not included in hide fee
    Exclusive use of Photographic Hides


65.00 130.00 50.00 500.00


65.00 130.00 50.00 500.00

(per day maximum 4 pax)
Lenses rental per day (As from 1 March 2016)
C4 Photographic Vehicle*
*(per day
maximum 4 pax, but ideally suited to 2 pax. Includes
subject to availability upon booking. For dates 1 December -
1 June each year : “book 3 days, pay 2” and "book 4 days, pay 3” special on photo vehicle.)

Conditions of Use

  •   All guests using the hide have to be accompanied by a C4 Images wildlife photographer.

  •   Should the C4 Images wildlife photographer be unavailable, guests of Mashatu can utilize the hides, at the

    normal rate in the company of a Mashatu guide.

  •   Guests will be required to sign an indemnity form before using the hides. This is separate to the Mashatu


  •   Maximum number of guests per hide:

o Matebole Elephant Hide 4 clients o Valley Elephant Hide 4 clients
o Infinity Hide 3 clients
o Mobile hide 3 clients

Please note that the Matebole Hide and the Reflection closes from December to 28 February each year. The Elephant Valley Hide is closed in January each year. Please contact our reservations team for more details.

n/a 500.00

95.00 500.00

1 optional tutor session per day & 1 x hide session

Exclusive use of the photographic hides include the mobile hide, infinity hide and only one of the elephant hides, subject to availability. 

Rates for this Safari
Price excluding international flights:
2018 $4500 pp
No single supplement
Book this safari
Safari Summary


SPECIAL OFFER >>>>   No single Sups are charged in November, January and February .

Here is a link to Mashatu sighting and wildlife reports

You can hire telephoto lenses at Mashatu to save you carry yours or just to help you get the best photos you can.

Flights to reach Mashtau from UK are simply London to Joburg and a short connection to Polokwane, where you are met and transfered to Mashtau
The price we quote includes 7 nights at Bush Camp. Transfers from / to Polokwane.  Meals ,  Game drives and Two half days in your choice of viewing blinds.
Click Printable Version (Below) for pull details of activities and photo hides.
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