tSwalu Kalahari

Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, now protecting over 110,000 hectares of spectacular grasslands and mountains. Conservation is tSwalu's absolute priority with a goal to “restore the Kalahari to itself.” No more than 30 guests at a time can discover the beauty of this arid savannah, its diverse wildlife and the serenity of what may well be South Africa’s last great wilderness. Tswalu can accommodate up to just 30 visitors at any one time. Our two properties strive to create an atmosphere of barefoot luxury, your home here in the desert.

Situated at the foot of the Korannaberg mountains facing westwards across the grasslands of the Kalahari, Motse means “village” in Tswana. The camp consists of just nine spacious and secluded “legae” (Tswana for “little house”), and accommodates no more than 24 guests at any one time to make for a truly intimate Kalahari experience. The main house is a spectacular space in which to meet, with its elevated decks and elegant lounges. An infinity pool offers an endless view over the savannahs, and a secluded spa is designed to complete your total relaxation. The mezzanine library is equipped with satellite TV (the Motse also has full broadband Wi-Fi access throughout) and its museum cases display rare artifacts from the area.

Settled between two mountain ranges, Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer family’s own personal home here at Tswalu and offers a complete oasis of serenity. Recently redesigned to uncompromising standards of comfort and elegance, Tarkuni is an exceptional choice for families or groups of great friends. The homestead has its own dedicated team including a host and private chef to ensure meticulous and completely personal service. A private vehicle, personal field guide and tracker complete this bespoke safari experience.

Accommodations at tSwalu Kalahari

The Motse boasts nine legaes built of desert sand, local stone, rich red clay and traditional Kalahari thatch. Each comprises a spacious bedroom with an open fireplace, an en-suite bathroom with both an indoor and outdoor shower, together with a large study area and private sun deck overlooking a watering hole. Three legae have been designed especially for families. Each offers two separate bedroom suites with their own en-suite bathrooms. An expansive central living room leads to a shady, private terrace. These legae are each over 170 square meters in size and create the perfect environment for any family group.

Tarkuni private home boasts five luxurious suites, each with a magnificent en-suite bathroom, accommodate a maximum of 10 guests in total.

tSwalu Kalahari also offers an incredible sleep-out deck, Malori (meaning ‘dreamer’ in Tswana), offers guests the unparalleled experience of sleeping safely in the wilderness, under the fabled “diamond skies.” From a distance, Malori looks like another sociable weaver’s nest on the horizon. Come closer, and you can see a raised platform and a thatched overhang with weather-proof blinds to protect you. Choose to sleep under the thatch or simply roll the bed onto the open deck with thousands of stars above you. You will be taken in your private vehicle to Malori where your guide will set up sundowners and canapés while you take in the panoramic views of open savannahs. Your guide can then prepare dinner for you, or you may opt to do so yourself, making the most of your own private Kalahari as the sun sets before you and the moon rises behind you. Wake at sunrise to the sound of birdsong.

Activities at tSwalu Kalahari

With a maximum of 10 private vehicles in over 110,000 hectares, Tswalu offers extraordinary privacy in which to explore a vast, pristine wilderness. Game drives at Tswalu will be completely tailored to your particular interests. There are no set routes or times here – guests determine their own adventure from the outset. As well as discovering many rare and endangered species and leaving with a deep appreciation of the beauty of this entire eco-system.

Guided bush walks are wonderful at Tswalu. Get even closer to the land - to touch the unique vegetation, learn about each plant’s extraordinary properties, inspect nests and burrows, and examine the smallest insect. A morning might begin by walking up to a meerkat colony as they first emerge to warm themselves in the sunshine before scampering off to forage. And at the end of the day, as the sun sets, so the sounds and sights of the desert change; night walks give you the chance of exceptional sightings such as aardvark, aardwolf, porcupine or brown hyena.

On horseback, the vastness of the Kalahari strikes you even more deeply and many of the animals react differently to your presence. Gently walk the grassy plains and rolling dunes against the pink and mauve backdrop of the Korannaberg mountains in the late afternoon sun, and enjoy the views of the arid savannah whilst becoming part of the landscape. Tswalu’s horses accommodate riders of all abilities and levels of experience. Children are welcome on horseback. And Tswalu’s expert staff can also create an entire day’s activity at the stables for them.

Children's Activities at tSwalu Kalahari

With its limitless sights and experiences, the Kalahari can’t help but stimulate young minds, introducing children to the principles and practices of conservation as well as offering many kinds of fun. Part of tSwalu's mission is to pass on their passions to the next generation in a way that is exciting and involving. On arrival, every child is welcomed with a backpack full of guides and tools; they get their own opportunity to chat with our hospitality staff about what they would like to do. The Tswalu Junior Ranger program has been carefully designed to meet the enthusiasms of a broad age range.

Activities include archery (beginning by making your own bow and arrow), spoor identification and casting as well as tracking on foot. Children’s bush walks are hugely educational and often end with a fantastic picnic - parents can come too. tSwalu is also very happy to include younger children in private game drives.

Food at tSwalu Kalahari

tSwalau Kalahari's Executive Chef, Mandi Hough, perfectly matches menus with a relaxed informal mood, using local ingredients, adding an elegant twist to South African traditions, experimenting with new flavors. But if you come back from a long adventure and just fancy the best grilled cheese sandwich, simply ask.

Breakfasts are served with panoramic views of the waterhole, and at whatever time suits your plans. Watch giraffe or roan and sable antelope as you eat. At sunset, sundowners can be followed by bush dinners, feet in the sand, as you enjoy a true Kalahari feast. Or our interpretation of a traditional “boma” braai, with delicious venison, spicy chakalaka and morogo, our local spinach. Perhaps, one evening, choose a romantic dinner on your private deck with a vintage wine and a telescope for gazing at the stars.

tSwalu Kalahari


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