The Tuli Block is a narrow fringe of land at Botswana’s eastern border wedged between Zimbabwe in the north and east and South Africa in the south. It consists mainly of privately owned game farms offering safari tourism. The eastern section up to and including Redshield has been declared a game reserve, known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve.
Tuli is renowned for its geographical features — Solomon’s Wall by the Motloutse River at the southwestern corner of the Tuli Block, as well as for its location near the Tswapong and Lepokole Hills where the ancestors of the San people left traces of their rock paintings. The Tuli is readily accessible by road from South Africa and all the major cities in Botswana.
Spectacular landscapes, rich and varied wildlife, and a host of historical, cultural and natural history attractions define this unique and very striking corner of northeastern Botswana.
Straddling the Shashe, Motloutse and Limpopo Rivers, which serve as natural boundaries with Zimbabwe and South Africa, the Northern Tuli Game Reserve (NTGR) comprises 71,000 hectares of remarkably diverse habitat, including mophane bushland, riverine woodland, and marshland, punctuated by towering sandstone cliffs, basalt formations and unusually shaped kopjes – making for truly breathtaking scenery.
One of the largest privately owned game reserves in Southern Africa and incorporating three major private concessions (Tuli Safari Lodge, Nitani Private Game Reserve, and Mashatu Game Reserve), the NTGR is home to 48 species of mammals and over 350 species of birds, with an estimated 20 000 animals residing in the reserve.
Most naturally occurring wildlife species are present, including elephant, kudu, zebra, impala, duiker, wildebeest, waterbuck, steenbok, and warthog. Large herds of eland – often not seen elsewhere in Botswana – are present, and these are indeed an awesome sight. All major predators, including lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena, are present, and the birdlife is prolific.
The NTGR is adjacent to a larger area of eastern Botswana called the Tuli Block. This is a ten kilometre wide strip of land running approximately Northern Tuli Game Reserve 180 kilometres south to Martin’s Drift that holds a string of commercial agricultural and game farms, several of which also offer tourist facilities.
Travellers keen for a more active safari experience will delight in all there is on offer. You can hike the reserve, bike the reserve, horse-ride the reserve, and even hot air balloon the reserve! At Mashatu Game Reserve, guests can accompany elephant or predator researchers, to gain first-hand insights into the behaviour, feeding habits, territories, demography, and social structure of these animals, as well as critical wildlife conservation issues. A similar experience awaits guests at Nitani – as they come to understand the complexities of a long-term hyena research project.
Molema Bush Camp, a community based tourism project managed and operated by Tuli Safari Lodge, is an ideal way to take part in a tourism concept that is rapidly gaining momentum in Africa. Local communities become active partners in tourism projects, from which they can more readily see clear-cut financial and social benefits.
Molema is a joint venture between three local villages: Motlhabaneng, Lentswe le Moriti and Mathathane and two tour operators: Tuli Safari Lodge and Talana Farms.
Archaeological sites provide an important historical perspective to the region. Iron Age sites demonstrate the formidable skills in pottery, mining, and smelting of the Zhizo, Leopard’s Kopje and Mapungubwe peoples, who practised agriculture and animal husbandry in the area.
Artifacts from the Mapungubwe Kingdom (1220-1290AD), a precursor to the Great Zimbabwe civilisation, reveal the sophistication of the technology and society of its people, and their extensive trade networks.
The NTGR will form the heart of the proposed Shashe/Limpopo Trans- Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA), its signatories – Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa – agreeing to cooperate to conserve and manage shared natural resources. Rich in biodiversity, the proposed TFCA will cover approximately 4,872 square kilometres and will be one of the largest wildlife conservation areas in Southern Africa.