The Northern Tuli Game Reserve is a hidden gem – it’s a unique, timeless corner of Africa with spectacular wildlife, breathtaking landscapes and fascinating history. It is quite unlike the rest of Botswana in terms of its stunning scenery – typified by huge vistas and big skies, rocky outcrops and baobab-studded plains. It’s a photographer and geologist’s dream location! The bush is very varied with rock formations more reminiscent of Namibia, a network of riverbeds and riverine forests as well as open grasslands and marshy areas.
Being in a semi-arid zone, it’s a year round destination with less of a pronounced difference between the greener season and the drier season than in other parts of Botswana. In fact the greener season, approximately November to March, is a beautiful time to come as the bush is often transformed into a floral wonderland!
Game viewing and birding is diverse and has the added bonus of this really scenic backdrop. Tuli boasts the largest herd of elephant on privately owned land in Africa and must be one of the few places where one of the big 5 can be seen in the same spot at the same time as one of the little 5 – Tuli’s elephant shrews are an almost guaranteed sightings at one of our favourite sundowner spots overlooking the reserve.
The Reserve is also fascinating from a historical perspective – with remains from the iron and stone ages and close links with nearby Mapungubwe World Heritage Site in South Africa. Looking even further back, there is a bushman rock shelter with several paintings not far from the lodge which was inhabited over 1000 years ago.
Tuli offers a range of safari activities … game drives in the morning include a stop for coffee and muffins and return for brunch, afternoon game drives include a sundowner stop and involve a night drive with spotlight back to the lodge in time for dinner. There’s also the option of an after-dinner night drive. Tuli is also an ideal venue for bush walks: these aren’t forced marches but gentle strolls which offer the opportunity to experience Africa at ground level and using all 5 senses! Again the great scenery at Tuli is an added bonus when walking. Our three hides sited at waterholes offer another dimension – time at a hide can be incorporated with a drive or walk, or you can also choose to spend time there independently during the day with your binos and a cool bag for company. For the ultimate wilderness experience, guests can sleep out at one of our hides for the night too. For longer stays, guests can enjoy a meaningful community visit in our local village where many of our staff originate from, or a visit to the eastern section of the reserve to the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers – this is a really unique and scenic spot where two great African rivers and three countries meet and involves a 2 hour game drive in either direction with a picnic breakfast or lunch.
The lodge itself is located between a beautiful sandstone ridge and the legendary Limpopo River. We often describe it as a yin and yang – the lodge is a peaceful green oasis in this timeless and dramatic reserve. Our extensive grounds – always a few degrees cooler than the surrounding reserve – make the lodge a really relaxing retreat in its own right and the perfect contrast to the wild adventures to be had in the reserve beyond. And unusually for a safari lodge there is also lots to do within the lodge itself, with a large swimming pool; small hide overlooking a waterhole; a lovely panoramic viewpoint which we call our star deck, and numerous other quiet places to spot the resident wildlife or with views over the reserve and the river; a walking trail and of course there’s always the option of just chilling, reading and sunbathing in our spacious, shady grounds …!