THE BIKE STUFF
Mashatu Game Reserve provides a sanctuary for the largest herds of wild roaming elephant on private land in Africa. These herds move daily between their feeding grounds, water and shade. Their daily movements mean miles and miles of cycling singletrack criss-crossing the reserve, generally flat, smooth and groomed.
On a scale of 1-5 it would be graded a 2 or 3. There are no big climbs, (we mainly follow elephant tracks and they take their babies around hills instead of over but there are some technical areas such as sandy river crossings and rocky areas.) The riding can be adjusted for the group. Those wanting technical or longer rides can easily be catered for, as can those who just want to use the ride as a great way to enjoy the game viewing and this pristine reserve. We mainly follow elephant and game tracks; this is something all MTB enthusiasts should do at least once.
Technical difficulty: Moderate
Distances: Between 20 and 50 km a day. A relaxed group will cover about 25km to 30km on a morning ride, with an elevation gain of 100 metres. More advanced riders might cover up to 50km with an elevation gain of up to 150 meters. The aim is to ride 3-5 hours per day at an easy going pace with regular game sightings, and a mid-morning picnic stop, the guides will pace the ride to suit the abilities of the riders.
Time: Maximum 5 hours in the saddle per day. Altitude: Between 500 – 650 metres.
Bikes: The bikes are Silverback Stride 29SX 29 inch generic aluminium 12 speed mountain bikes with front shocks.They have a 12 speed SRAM SX Eagle drive train and feature POP geometry, which improves balance, climbing and traction. Small, medium, large and extra-large frames are available. Pedals are flat one side and SPD cleat the other.
Guides: All cyclists are fully guided by local professional guides armed with rifles.
Tracks: Cycling is on paths trampled by herds of elephant for thousands of years, resulting in single tracks that are often smoother and more free-flowing than any man made equivalent. The complex interlinking network of these trails allows the guides to adjust the route to the groups requirements.
For ur our multi day tours you do need to have some previous biking experience. We also suggest you get as much practice and fitness training in as possible before arriving so that you are pedal ready and so you can really enjoy your holiday.
Each ride is catered to the needs of the group. A relaxed ride will cover about 25km to 30km (18 miles) on a morning ride, with a maximum elevation gain of 150 meters (450 feet). More advanced riders might cover up to 50km (30 miles) a day with an elevation gain of about 250 meters (750 feet). The aim is to ride 3-5 hours per day. The pace is generally easy going with regular game sightings and scenic picnic stops, but be prepared, the riding at Mashatu is deceptively challenging.
Each morning ride has a mid-morning tea and coffee stop and at this stage any rider can choose to continue to camp with the vehicle.
The bikes are all 29inch generic aluminium 12 speeds mountain bikes with front shocks, the braking is left-hand front wheel, right-hand rear. They have a 12 Speed SRAM SX Eagle drive train and feature POP ge-ometry, improving balance, climbing and traction. The slacker head angle of 67.5 degrees offer great handling over the technical terrain. We have small, medium, large and extra-large frames available. Pedals are flat one side and SPD cleat the other.
Yes, if you are bringing your own bikes, please bring a spare hanger and make sure you have TUBELESS TYRES FILLED WITH SEALANT. Our guides carry most spares, but your own chain links derailleur hanger and bike specific tools are recommended. We also recommend that you remove bar ends off your handlebars as these get caught in branches and can be dangerous.
Yes, helmets are mandatory, and you will not be able to ride without one. We can provide helmets but highly recommend that clients bring their own.
Yes. You are likely to see antelope, zebra, giraffe, hyena, jackal and elephants. An optional extra is an afternoon game drive with the Mashatu guides (at extra cost) where you will have one of the best opportunities in Africa to see leopards, lions, and cheetahs, Mashatu game drives are exceptional.
Mashatu Game Reserve, nestled within the Northern Tuli Reserve, is situated at the confluence of the Great Limpopo and Shashe Rivers in the remote eastern corner of Botswana.
Our three camps are in different regions of the reserve, each has a unique setting and distinct topography to be explored: Two Mashatus Camp,Tree Camp, and The Kgotla Camp.
THE OTHER STUFF
We normally take a maximum of ten guests. Private and charity groups can be larger by arrangement. All rides will be accompanied by a fully qualified lead guide and a back-up guide. Mixed ability groups may like to take the option of a slower easier pace for the first half of the ride and a faster more technical finish to the ride with the novice riders having the option to go to the next camp with the vehicle after the mid-morning tea break.
We will confirm our luxury safari for a min of two and our wilderness safari for a minimum of six.
We have a minimum age limit of 12 years.
You must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return date and has at least 3 blank pages. Visas are not necessary for most countries, but we do advise that guests contact their local embassy and make sure they don’t need one.
You will need to pay a $10 per person per night conservation levy on arrival. We suggest you bring dollars, GBP, or Euros. Please bring the correct amount as there is sometimes a lack of change.
The Northern Tuli Game Reserve area of Botswana is a very low risk malaria area and those living in the area do not take anti-malarias. However, the official advice is that guests contact their physician and take the necessary prophylactics.
If you are using our transfer service on the arrival day you need to land by 07:30 latest and make your way to the information desk in the international arrival’s hall. You will then be met at 08:30 and driven directly to Mashatu, the journey is about 5 hours in a car for private transfers and about 6 hours for those on the group bus transfer.
On your departure day. You will enjoy a morning ride followed by brunch and depart the Botswana board-er post by 12:00 arriving at Johannesburg airport at 6pm.
NB please book flights that arrive into SA no later than 7.30 am and depart SA no earlier than 8pm.
Yes, if you are driving yourself please make sure you have a copy of the vehicle registration documents and, if the car is not in your name, a permission letter form the car owner, hire car companies can supply this but you do need to request it. You will leave your car on the South African side of the border in the police carpark. However it is officially outside of the SA immigration gate and therefore you do need cross border paperwork.
Accommodation, bike hire, meals, tea coffee and cordial.
Yes. In most places around the reserve cell phone networks are MTN (SA) and Orange (Botswana). Although we will encourage you to put your phone on flight mode whilst on safari.
You don’t need local currency we suggest you bring GB Pounds, Dollars or Euros. Bar bills, gratuities, on-site curio shopping and the Mashatu tourism levy can all be paid in these currencies. Should you need any emergency items the team can help exchange small amounts.
THE PACKING STUFF
- Medical insurance documents
- Cross border car papers if self-driving
- Cycling helmet (we can supply one if you don’t have space to pack one)
- Cycling shorts gloves and cycling shoes are all recommended
- Sun sleeves or long-sleeved shirts
- Light weight windbreaker (Nov – March only)
- A good body warmer (May – August)
- Camelbac or other Hydration pack (min 2 lts)
- 750ml water bottle
- Lip salve
- Strong sun protection cream factor 30 or higher
- Mosquito repellent
- Hiking boots or sneakers
- High lumen torch, or headtorch
- Power Bank
- Camera, memory cards and spare camera batteries, (Please note, the use of drones is strictly prohibited)
- Painkillers, antihistamines rehydrate, and ibuprofen are all good to have, should you ever suffer from ailments such as sinusitis, cystitis, eczema etc please bring medication with you
- Sunglasses and sun hat/cap
If you are bringing your own bike:
- Tubeless tyres topped up with sealant levels
- Bike specific spares e.g. brake pads, spare chain links, derailleur
- Bike specific tools