As mentioned previously, we love to travel into Africa.Once a year, around July, a group of friends take their yearly pilgrimage to the Tuli block. Tuli is situated in Botswana but borders both South Africa to the south and Zimbabwe to the east. The Reserve is within easy access of Johannesburg both by car and air. Tuli is just over 500 kms from Johannesburg and can be reached on well maintained tar roads via Polokwane in Limpopo Province. It is just under two hours by car from Polokwane.
Entry into Botswana is through the Pont Drift border post. Aircraft can fly straight in to Limpopo Valley Airfield, which has Customs and Immigration facilities. Flying in modern turbine or piston engined aircraft, it will take not much more than an hour to an hour and a half to fly from Johannesburg. Limpopo Valley Airfield and the Pont Drift border post are approximately 30 minutes from the Pitsani property boundary.
Our annual 4 day trip, which is eagerly counted down amongst everyone, is jokingly known as a A -Grade trip, as it is just for the men. It’s a time to rekindle friendships, talk nonsense for hours on end with no interruptions. We go for game drives, walks in the bush and sit late into the evening listening to nature at its best. It is also the best time for the ‘would be’ photography boffs to hone their skills at trying to take the best nightime solar system pics.
Strangely, we found out that the wives also call this weekend break an A -Grade event. They go shopping for hours without any phone calls, eat out with their friends or make a meal when they please. A small luxury is that they would be in control of the TV remote (No forced Rugby or F1 races) and spend quality time with the grandchildren.
The Northern Tuli Game Reserve is on the eastern edge of the Kalahari eco-system and at the same time forms the Western boundary of the bushveld system. As a result of the diverse range of vegetation and soil types in the Reserve, all the animals that were found in the Kalahari and in the bushveld inhabited this area in the past. The result was an abundance and variety of game comparable to any other wildlife region in Africa.
The land has always been considered a prime wildlife area and was used as a royal hunting ground during the nineteenth century. The Reserve supports a considerable range and quantity of mammal, reptile and insect species. The wildlife include lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, bat eared fox, jackal, porcupine, aardvark, civet, genet and other members of the cat family. There is also a wide variety of buck species including waterbuck, kudu, eland, impala, steenbuck, duiker, bushbuck, as well as large concentrations of wildebeest and zebra. Other animals in this area include bushpig, warthog, ostrich, and giraffe. The Reserve is also well known for what is believed to be the largest concentration of elephants on private land in Africa. Truly a wildlife rich area to experience.
Due to the diversity of the area and the variety of eco-systems, the area is a bird watchers’ paradise. In excess of 350 bird species may be seen, many of which are on every birders’ wish list.
Activities are endless in this land with its huge vistas, big skies and giant trees.
During the course of our A-Grade trip, we had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a few very special experiences ;-
picture this for a moment – dust, sun, the wind against your cheeks and the smell of fresh African bush. the only other sound that of your hiking boots as it hits the trail.We got to experience Botswana’s Tuli in a whole different way: by foot.
During the summer months, bush walks are conducted in the early mornings and in winter after breakfast and a cup of fireside coffee. These excursions are lead by highly skilled and knowledgeable rangers. These trips are bound to leave your mind intrigued with information such as the medicinal uses of certain plants, interesting facts on fauna and flora of the area and archaeology dating back to the Stone Age. It allowed us to get closer to the wildlife in a way that made us take stock at the end of the day and appreciate the wonderful diversity of the environement we get to share with so many species.
Our other adventure was the Confluence Tour.
We visited the Trans Frontier Conservation Area where the mighty Shashe and Limpopo Rivers meet! About 270km2 of the proposed land for the Trans Frontier Conservation area lies within South Africa, with Mapungubwe National Park forming the core. Also included on the South African side are the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (established by De Beers Mining Company) and the proposed Limpopo Valley Game Reserve, where farms are discussing joint management of land and of conservation projects in the area.
Few experiences could rival fantasic informative contact experiences with Mother Nature in the open plains within the northern Tuli Reserve. Accompanied by herds of wild animals and remains of prehistorical cultural villages, we joined a historical and rock art guided tour and experienced first hand why Tuli Game Reserve is known for one of the world’s riches history meccas
The Tuli Block is occupied by private game farms, private game reserves and lodges. From being a single traveller to a group of friends , Tuli has got the different options in tented camps to hiring your own house for a group who want to have privacy.