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Treepol

Drought at Mashatu/Tuli Block?

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Hi,

 

I am planning a return to Mashatu in September with my mother who is on her first safari. I have read on the May Game Report that conditions are so dry that the outlook for general game is bleak. Current conditions are being compared with a similar drought in 1983.

 

Does anyone who is familiar with the Tuli Block area have any knowledge of the impact of the dry conditions on both game and predator populations? I'm wondering if this visit will be a positive experience or if the dry conditions will lead to game in poor condition or many animals dying for lack of adequate food and water.

 

Would you advise me to cancel and re-book elsewhere?

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

Pol

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I have just returned from the Tuli block, not far from Mashtatu, and can only confirm that it is very dry, grass is almost non existant and in some areas the mopane are dropping their leaves already. Apparently the rains stopped early and there was none while I was there (during April). It will no doubt be a tough year for the game.

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wilddog, du you mind telling us where exactly you stayed as I'm considering to visit Tuli myself?

 

 

 

 

thanks

 

 

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wilddog, du you mind telling us where exactly you stayed as I'm considering to visit Tuli myself?

 

 

 

 

thanks

 

 

 

I was staying at Mohave Camp as a volunteer on a research project. I booked through Africa Conservation Experience but the project is run through Tuli Trails It is a very wild area and living is basic which personally I like this but it does not suit everyone. May not suit those who are doing a first time safari.

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I have just returned from the Tuli block

Better get writing that trip report...

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Greetings,

 

Please find herewith a reply by David Evans, Director of Mashatu Game Reserve, on Mashatu's behalf regarding the drought in the region.

 

The entire north eastern Botswana is in the grip of a serious drought.

 

Whilst it is deemed difficult for the antelope, I think that one should consider the following before making a decision whether to travel to Mashatu or not:

 

1. The absence of rainfall in the region has limited the available grazing and browsing

2. Mopane trees are widespread in the reserve and whilst its leaves have turned brown and are falling off, the brown leaves are more palatable and therefore a valuable food source for the animals.

 

In terms of the viewing, the sightings are very good as it is the time for the predators namely lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hyena and jackal. In addition, because of reduced general availability of natural surface water, artificial waterholes and natural seeps are a daily parade of animals coming in to drink.

 

Giraffe will be largely unaffected by the drought as they compete with no other species for food. Due to their mobility and ability to utilise components of the vegetation unavailable to other ungulates, elephant are largely unaffected and are expected to remain in the area in their usual large numbers.

 

That we will experience a die-off of the older and weaker members of certain grazing species (particularly) like wildebeest and zebra and to a certain extent impala, is expected and accepted. Droughts, like floods, are part of the natural cycle and ultimately the hardship experienced will result in genetically superior, stonger and more resilient animals in future generations.

 

Regards

David Evans

dne@iafrica.com

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Many thanks for the update, please do find time to contribute to Safaritalk more often :) There is a dedicated operators forum as well for professional use which can be found here.

 

Matt

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Posted (edited)

This winter/dry season in Botswana is looking very very good ........ I hear the Linyanti/Delta areas are phenomenal too, game viewing wise. I'm sure the animals are going be looking lean especially towards the end of the dry season. I haven't a clue about Mashatu - but, doubt you can call it a drought in Northern Botswana (Linyanti/Delta).

Edited by madaboutcheetah

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