Sometimes referred to as the Tuli Block, this region of eastern Botswana is wedged at the confluence of the borders of South Africa to the southeast and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Covering 720 sq. km (278 mi), Tuli is made up of private land jointly managed for both tourism and conservation – and forms part of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. Unlike most of Botswana’s wildlife areas which are generally flat, Tuli stands out for its hilly scenery, which hides some impressive archaeological remnants. The Tuli Area offers a good selection of lodges and wildlife-based activities. The area is renowned for its elephant population, towering baobab trees and excellent predator sightings.

Essential Traveller Information

Visitors to the Tuli Area need to book beforehand, whether arriving as part of an organised tour or on a self-drive safari. There is a range of wildlife activities available over and above the usual game drives, including mountain bike, walking and horseback safaris. Underground hides at waterholes are popular with photographers. The wildlife in the area is generally well-habituated, with good populations of general game.

Of the Big 5, lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo are regularly seen, with only rhinos absent. Good sightings of cheetahs and wild dogs are frequent. Offroad driving is permitted in Tuli, and bird-watching is best from November to April. Guests can stay at fully-catered lodges or simple self-catered bush camps. For self-drive, it is best to stock up on all provisions prior to arrival.

Overseas visitors to the Tuli Area can fly into the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport outside the capital Gaborone. From there, it is possible to fly by charter aircraft to the Tuli Region, which can be arranged through a travel agent (usually as part of a package). Air charters are also possible from other parts of Botswana. Those wishing to self-drive can rent a vehicle (a 2×4 sedan is sufficient) for a 537 km (333 mi) drive on paved roads from Gaborone. Due to animals on the roads, it is inadvisable to drive at night. Self-drive visitors from South Africa will need to cross the border at Pont Drift, which is only open between 08h00 and 16h00 daily. Self-drive visitors can leave vehicles and designated parking and arrange to be collected by their lodge of choice.

May to September is the best time to visit the Tuli Area, as by then, the vegetation has thinned out, and animals are drawn to the rivers as water holes dry up. The weather is pleasantly warm by day, cooling significantly overnight. Warm clothing is essential for morning game drives. Although Tuli seldom gets very busy, the peak tourism months are from July to December, and you can expect the rates to reflect this increased demand. Summer brings rainfall, which can make parts of the reserve difficult to navigate, and the mercury rises significantly – but the presence of migrant bird species and energetic young animals in lush vegetation make this a scenic high point in the calendar.

Luxury Camps & Safari Lodges