KNOW YOUR TULI BLOCK
What is the Tuli Block? It’s a conservation area of about 300 000 hectares between the Shashe and Limpopo rivers. At its heart is Northern Tuli Game Reserve, which includes Mashatu and Tuli private game reserves. There are many property owners within the conservation area – some people farm commercially, others run tourism establishments. Can I explore on my own? Yes, but stick to the public roads to and from the Pontdrift border post. Tourists aren’t allowed to drive the other roads or enter private reserves. Book a place to stay at one of the lodges or camps and explore the Tuli Block from there. (See page 86 for options.) The history Rock art sites in the Tuli Block show that San people lived here centuries ago. In the late 1800s, the Bamangwato (under Chief Khama) clashed with the Matabele over ownership of the region. The Bamangwato won and by 1895, the region was ruled by Khama, who is the ancestor of the current president, Ian Khama. Cecil John Rhodes wanted to build a railway line north through Africa via the Tuli Block, but the terrain wasn’t suitable. What is the Tuli Circle? The Pioneer Column, a military unit set up by the British South Africa Company to colonise land, built Fort Tuli on the banks of the Shashe River in 1890. From there, the unit marked out the Tuli Circle with a radius of 16 km, in an attempt to control rinderpest. No cattle were allowed to graze within the circle. Later, part of this circle became the border between Botswana and Zimbabwe. (See the map above.) Conservation When the Limpopo Game Protection Association was established in 1964, it fostered co- operation between property owners to make the Tuli Block a conservation area. The result was Northern Tuli Game Reserve, which spans more than 71 000 ha over 36 different properties.