Find inspiration and learn more about Tswalu through our stories, written by members of our community as well as guest contributors. Browse by category to read all about our luxury safari camps, what to do and see on the reserve, how your stay positively impacts our sustainability journey, and much more. For seasonal updates and wildlife sightings from our guiding team, don’t miss the Tswalu Wildlife Journal.
TSWALU’S POSITIVE IMPACT ON NATURE AND PEOPLE
Tswalu’s annual impact statement provides a snapshot of ‘where the money goes’, what it takes to operate sustainably, and the power of nature-based tourism to positively impact conservation and community initiatives.
KEEPING TRACK OF OUR SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY
Tswalu is using Weeva, the app-based sustainability management tool, to put sustainability into practice. Modelled on The Long Run’s 4C sustainability framework, it makes measuring, tracking, and improving operational efficiency and impact easier.
THE VALUE OF SECURING VULTURE-SAFE TERRITORIES ACROSS AFRICA
Marcus Westberg provides insight into vulture conservation - both the wins and the challenges - and the value of Vulture Safe Zones, like Tswalu, that provide safe habitat for vultures to reestablish populations across Africa.
THE USE OF BURROWS AS TEMPORARY DENS
Part four in our series about the use of burrows in an environment, like the Kalahari, where denning, or finding shelter underground for fragile cubs and pups, is critical to surviving temperature extremes.
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON SNAKE HABITAT
Wits PhD candidate Azraa Ebrahim is studying the thermal physiology of a snake called a puff adder, a project that falls under the climate change focused Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project (KEEP).
UP CLOSE WITH A CHEETAH AND HER CUBS
Keeping track of a collared cheetah has been full of surprises for conservator Micole Monteiro. Close monitoring as this mother raises her cubs has given Micole renewed respect for the challenges that face female cheetahs.
WHY BIODIVERSITY MATTERS
Biodiversity accounts for the variety and variability of life on earth, from genes to entire ecosystems. Marcus Westberg outlines the many reasons why restoring biodiversity is essential to both planet and people.
KALAHARI ANIMALS AND THEIR BURROWS
Part three in our series about the importance of burrows in the Kalahari describes the many types of burrows that protect animals from extreme temperatures, while providing safety, shelter and a place to sleep.
ANIMAL ARCHITECTS OF THE SOUTHERN KALAHARI
Part two in our series about the value of burrows in the Kalahari explains the difference between master diggers, like aardvark, and those animals that modify or simply move into existing burrows.
WHAT IT TAKES TO HABITUATE A CHEETAH
Cheetah sightings are excellent on the reserve. To find out what it takes to habituate these cats to the presence of humans, Marcus Westberg shadowed conservator Clement Motau for a day.
LIFE BENEATH THE KALAHARI
The first in a series of stories by Helen Mertens about the value of burrows in the Kalahari ecosystem, and the interconnectedness of life in the fascinating underground world below the sand.
THE POWER OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN CONSERVATION
An emotive photograph often speaks louder than any words. We chatted to the multiple award-winning photographer and frequent Tswalu guest, Marcus Westberg, about the immediacy and power of images to tell unforgettable stories and convey conservation messages.
TSWALU KALAHARI RELEASES ITS FIRST IMPACT STATEMENT
Tswalu recently released its first impact statement, a tool developed with The Long Run to calculate the cost of operating sustainably while also measuring the positive impact on local communities and the environment.
THE HYENAS THAT CALL TSWALU HOME
Did you know that Tswalu is home to three hyena species? The aardwolf, brown hyena and spotted hyena all play an important role in the health of the Kalahari ecosystem.
TRACKING A PANGOLIN PUP
Researchers from Dedeben, led by Dr Wendy Panaino, tagged a pangolin pup for the first time in 2021 to find out what would happen when it left its natal home range.
TRAVEL, CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONSERVATION
How tourism can help rather than hinder our efforts to preserve the natural world.
PRIVATE CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE
Sponsorship by a guest contributes directly to a credible and vital rhino conservation project, directly impacting the conservation of the species on the reserve.
STUDYING SMALL MAMMALS
Considering their large impact on ecosystems, small mammals - especially mice, sengis and shrews - are particularly useful indicators of habitat health.
SMALL THINGS AND THE BIG PICTURE
We tend to associate size with importance, both in terms of the role something plays in the world and how impressed we ought to feel in its presence.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE CONSERVATION
Several breeding nests of white-backed vultures were recently discovered on the reserve for the first time, during BirdLife SA's first audit of Tswalu since becoming South Africa's first Vulture Safe Zone.
IN CONVERSATION WITH MARCUS WESTBERG
Marcus Westberg, a renowned photojournalist with a passion for storytelling, recently spent several weeks at Tswalu documenting his day-to-day experiences.
SECRET POLLINATORS OF NERINE LATICOMA
Since Nerine species generally tend to have only one or two pollinators, the glorious proliferation of pollinators of this particular species is fascinating and has led to more questions.
HIGHLY ADAPTIVE BROWN HYENA
The hierarchy of the brown hyena is quite complex, with aggressive rituals dominating relationships. Clans are incredibly territorial, and may cover an area of up to 500 square kilometres.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PANGOLINS
While pangolins are known to be threatened by the illegal wildlife trade, electrocution by electric fences, habitat loss, and road mortalities, very little attention has been focused on how climate change will affect their welfare.
THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
There are few, and possibly no other, studies that have aimed to understand responses of multiple species with an entire ecosystem, making KEEP a unique, ground-breaking project.
TSWALU’S EDIBLE PLANTS
Decent summer rains have the ability to transform Tswalu’s landscapes within a few, short weeks. Then the Green Kalahari earns its name, bursting into life as annual creepers appear, grasses flourish and perennial trees produce fruits that sustain animals and birds.
CHEETAH – PERFECT KALAHARI PREDATORS
The cheetah, the world’s fastest land mammal, is one of the predators that finds sanctuary in Tswalu Kalahari’s wide, open spaces. Cheetah are known to be shy and elusive and, as a result, we don’t know exactly how many there are on the reserve.
CONSERVING THE DESERT BLACK RHINO
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is regarded as one of Africa’s great conservation stories, not only through the preservation of the southern Kalahari’s diverse habitats but also the protection of many rare and critically endangered species. One such species is the Desert black rhino.
FROM CONSERVATION STUDENT TO CONSERVATOR
Conservator Prince Ngomane’s dream to protect the natural environment and to work at the cutting edge of conservation is coming true at Tswalu Kalahari. ‘It doesn’t matter where you start in life. Never give up on your dreams,’ believes Prince.
Three of South Africa’s nine vulture species, including the once-prolific White-backed vulture, have declined to such an extent that they are regarded as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
WOMEN IN CONSERVATION
Guests spend more time in the company of their guide than in camp, and one of Deirdre Opie’s roles as Tswalu’s new safari manager is to mentor and motivate her team to turn exceptional experiences into life-changing ones
TSWALU JOINS THE LONG RUN
As part of its commitment towards greater sustainability, Tswalu Kalahari has applied and successfully been accepted as a fellow member of the internationally recognised conservation organisation, The Long Run
ELUSIVE AARDVARK, ECOSYSTEM ENGINEER
Aardvarks are strange animals. They look like a bizarre hybrid between a kangaroo, pig and vacuum cleaner. They are mostly active at night, smell odd, and live most of their lives in solitude.
WHAT DEFINES TSWALU KALAHARI
The wide, open spaces of Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa’s largest, privately owned reserve, have long drawn travellers seeking a deeply layered, immersive safari.
WORLD PANGOLIN DAY
On World Pangolin Day we are reminded that all species of pangolin are threatened by illegal trade, which persists and is escalating.
RAISING CHEETAH CUBS
Recently at Tswalu Kalahari, a cheetah gave birth to five cubs. Unfortunately, only a few of these little cubs have a chance of reaching adulthood and independence.
THE HABITATS OF TSWALU
Broadly speaking, Tswalu includes five major habitats that have arisen primarily around the Korannaberg Mountains as a result of the windblown sands that comprise the Kalahari as we know it today.
TSWALU DECLARED SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST VULTURE SAFE ZONE
On 7 September 2019, International Vulture Awareness Day, BirdLife South Africa declared Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve as South Africa’s first Vulture Safe Zone.
KALAHARI ENDANGERED ECOSYSTEM PROJECT
The KEEP (Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project) project has been formed to try to answer some of the pressing issues related specifically to climate change effects in the Southern Kalahari region.
FIVE REASONS TO VISIT TSWALU
A great read by guest blogger James Bainbridge from SafariBookings.com. A major draw of Tswalu Kalahari is that it is a malaria-free reserve; five other top reasons to visit are listed here.
PANGOLIN RESEARCH AT TSWALU
The ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) is a charismatic but threatened mammal found on Tswalu. It also happens to be the subject of some fascinating research.