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 KALAHARI RESERVE IS AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF PANGOLIN RESEARCH
Pangolin research has become synonymous with Tswalu Kalahari Reserve as scientists supported by the Tswalu Foundation work to understand the impact of environmental changes in the face of climate change on these elusive creatures.
INTRIGUING TRUTHS ABOUT WHITE-BROWED SPARROW WEAVERS
Marcus Westberg spent time with the scientific research team studying the intricate social lives of White-browed Sparrow Weavers. Their aim? To figure out whether the birds’ gregarious behaviour influences their intelligence.
GATHERING DATA ON TEMMINCK’S PANGOLIN
In Part two in our Q&A with Wits master’s student Daniel Rossouw, find out more about his methodology for gathering data, for example studying soil samples, to determine the pangolin’s role in the ecosystem.
HOW A CHANCE DISCOVERY TOOK TSWALU’S BUTTERFLY COUNT UP TO 83
The chance discovery of a Pale Ciliate Blue brings Tswalu’s species count to 83 butterflies, which is remarkable for a semi-arid area in the southern Kalahari according to lepidopterist Reinier Terblanche.
IN CONVERSATION WITH RESEARCHER DANIEL ROSSOUW
In part one of a two-part Q&A, Daniel Rossouw tells us how he came to be researching pangolins on the Tswalu reserve, a new project that falls under the umbrella of the Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project.
MAKING PHOTOS FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Photographer and explorer Thomas Peschak explains what goes into producing images for National Geographic that also highlight conservation issues, like climate change.
REPTILE DIVERSITY AT TSWALU
Research by Dr Bryan Maritz into reptile ecology aims to understand which species occur at Tswalu and how those different species interact with their environment.
VALUE OF MICROCLIMATES IN THE KALAHARI
If plants and animals can find small areas in their environment that provide shelter from harsh radiation, there is hope that they may cope when climate is not in their favour.
GROUND PANGOLIN’S DIET AND CLIMATE CHANGE
How does one go about studying the food preferences of one of the world’s most shy and elusive mammals? In a recent article researcher, Dr Wendy Panaino addressed the puzzle of what pangolins eat by collecting pangolin scats.
WHEN A PANGOLIN SNIFFED MY BOOT
One of the tagged pangolins became a central character in Leonie’s story. On her very first night, after several hours of following the pangolin’s tracks with the researchers through the dunes to its burrow, she had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
IN CONVERSATION WITH THOMAS PESCHAK
Thomas Peschak’s assignments for National Geographic have taken him all over the world. Several months spent with the Tswalu Foundation led to a story for the iconic magazine about the impact of climate change on biodiversity in an arid savannah.
IN CONVERSATION WITH VALERY PHAKOAGO
PhD candidate Valery Phakoago is studying population densities, habitat preference, diet and activity patterns of aardvarks and Temminck’s ground pangolins at Tswalu Kalahari, a project which falls under the KEEP climate-change programme.
IN CONVERSATION WITH WENDY PANAINO
PhD candidate Wendy Panaino is Tswalu’s resident ground pangolin expert and project manager for the Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project (KEEP), which aims to understand the responses of multiple Kalahari organisms to climate change.
BOSCIA TREES AND BUTTERFLIES
Current research has confirmed that Tswalu Kalahari is distinctly a source area for the butterfly migration, thanks to the large number of Boscia albitrunca trees on both sides of the Korannaberg mountains.
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.
UNEARTHING THE KALAHARI’S LONG HUMAN HISTORY
Until recently there had been little systematic archaeological research within the expansive, protected area of Tswalu. However, there is clear evidence of human activity extending back in time to at least 500,000 years ago.
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.
RESEARCHING BUTTERFLY DIVERSITY
It is extraordinary to think that 77 butterfly species have been identified at Tswalu, a semi-arid zone that receives on average less than 400 millimeters of rain annually.
CLEVER KALAHARI TREE SKINKS
The Kalahari tree skink is a tree-dwelling lizard commonly found on a camel thorn or shepherd’s tree, especially common if the tree contains a sociable weaver colony.
SOCIABLE WEAVER’S NESTS – KALAHARI ICONS
The Kalahari invokes many vivid images, but none more so than a silhouetted camelthorn tree complete with sociable weaver's nest in a red sunset.
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).
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.
THERMAL ECOLOGY OF CAPE COBRAS
Even though Cape cobras are quite conspicuous snakes (they are large, with colours ranging from bright yellow through speckled brown to almost black), there is still much that is not known about their ecology.
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.
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.
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.