‘Hide & Seek’ – Mashatu Photo Safaris with Kirsten Frost
– by Kirsten Frost
A photographic safari to Mashatu in Botswana is unique and unlike anything you have previously experienced in Africa. Game drives offer superb predator photography (Lion, Leopard and Cheetah). Sunken photographic hides (or blinds) have alluring waterholes attracting mighty beasts to quench their thirst, offering close-ups difficult to imagine, but a joy to photograph! Mashatu Game Reserve provides access to varied habitats and diverse wildlife viewing opportunities within this biodiverse region, and guarantees a superb photo safari experience!
Mashatu Game Reserve is situated at the confluence of the great Limpopo and Shashe Rivers in the remote eastern corner of Botswana. This area is known historically as the Tuli Enclave and it is here where the three countries in the form of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe converge. This is a land where huge herds of Elephants roam free, where the roar of a Lion punctuates the night, and where ancient and mighty Baobab trees tower like swollen sentinels over the wild savanna.
Time spent in the hides is as much a sensory experience as it is a photographic one. No glass separating you from the wild allows you to see, smell, feel and hear the wonders of nature from a worms-eye perspective. Inside, you are seated so that your head is at ground level. Everything you see will be 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 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 in this area. Elephants in this region migrate daily in the dryer season, heading north in the evenings to feed and south in the mornings to drink. The Matebole Hide is situated along these main daily migratory routes, making their visits to the hide very frequent.
During your Botswana photo safari, keep your camera at the ready while in the hide, you could possibly see and photograph impala, kudu, eland, steenbok, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthog and baboons. There are chances of having a jackal and hyena visit. Lucky guests have experienced leopard and lion sightings from the hide! Sometimes it’s the smaller creatures which steal the show. Mongoose, squirrels and bird species including Meyers Parrot, Green Pigeon, Golden and Crimson-breasted Buntings, Red-billed queleas, Grey Go-Away-Birds, Hornbills, Bee-eaters, Oxpeckers and Lapwings.
When not spending time in the hide, game drives at Mashatu are incredibly productive. This is one of my favourite locations for lion and leopard photography. In fact the Mashatu trees on the reserve is a favourite spot to find leopards. The vegetation here is not as thick as many locations in South Africa, which allows for open views of wildlife during game drives – a great plus for photography!
Why join ORYX and Kirsten Frost on a photo safari to Mashatu?
- Hide Photography: Visit the renowned sunken ‘underground’ photographic hide to photograph wildlife from ground-level.
- Predators: Mashatu is known for its remarkable opportunities to photograph lion, cheetah and leopard! However, don’t forget to appreciate and photograph the plethora of other species (big and small) that call Mashatu their home.
- Elephants: Photograph these magnificent giants during game drives and from the underground hide if we are indeed lucky enough to have them visit while we are there!
- Night Sky: Spend time admiring Africa’s starry night sky while photographing the milky way.
- Photographic Tuition & Guiding: Photographic tuition by Botswana Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Mashatu specialist, Kirsten Frost. Having been based at Mashatu previously, Kirsten will take you to the best locations while assisting you with your photography. Kirsten teams up with the best local guide and tracker at Mashatu.
This ideal combination of photographic hides, game drives and scenic exploration while learning new photographic techniques makes this expedition different from the norm and one that you will never forget!
Kirsten leads small group and private tailor-made Mashatu Photo Tours. Get in touch with us to start your journey to Botswana.