Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately protected conservation area in South Africa. The Kalahari’s vast expanse extends into the far reaches of the Northern Cape province. This is where Tswalu is located, on the southernmost edge of the Kalahari where the true Kalahari ecotype transitions into arid savannah.
The name Tswalu means ‘rebirth’ or ‘new beginning’ in Setswana, encapsulating a bold vision to restore the biodiversity of this deep-rooted, ancient land, a place defined by extremes and stark contrasts where survival is influenced by the absence or presence of water. The reserve safeguards a significant chunk of the Kalahari ecosystem, ensuring that vital habitat is preserved and biodiversity can once again flourish for the benefit of both planet and people.
BIODIVERSITY AND HABITAT RESTORATION
Tswalu has been a labour of love for the Oppenheimer family since assuming responsibility for this significant swathe of the southern Kalahari in 1999. In so doing, they undertook to expand the vision of the previous owner, the late Stephen Boler, which was to return overgrazed, farmed land to its original state. Since then, their commitment to conservation has seen indigenous species re-introduced, real strides made towards the restoration of the Kalahari, and the undoing of years of neglect. In its new incarnation as a private nature reserve, formally protected area and conservation success story, the entire Tswalu community is working towards bringing this ultimate ambition a little closer each day: To leave the world better than how it was found. Continuing the conservation work that is at the heart of this ambitious restoration project has never been more important. By choosing to stay in one of Tswalu’s luxury camps, our guests become part of this noble endeavour to conserve one of southern Africa’s most enigmatic wilderness areas for future generations.
OUR SUSTAINABILITY PARTNER
Tswalu strives to conserve the Kalahari ecosystem, restore its biodiversity and protect vital habitat while preserving and promoting cultural and historical heritage in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. As part of this sustainability vision, Tswalu is a proud Fellow Member of The Long Run, a global network of tourism businesses committed to conserving ecosystems and improving the well-being of people through a holistic balance of the 4Cs — Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce. Endorsed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), The Long Run holds privately protected areas, like Tswalu, to account when it comes to sustainable and regenerative practices. The Long Run is hosted by Preferred by Nature, a non-profit organisation working in over 100 countries to support better land management and business practices that benefit people, nature, and the climate. By joining this movement, Tswalu has committed to an incremental journey of improvement towards achieving a holistic balance between the 4Cs of sustainability. Choosing to stay in one of Tswalu’s safari camps directly contributes to this journey and our vision to leave the world better than how we found it. Read more about Tswalu’s affiliation with The Long Run.
ANNUAL IMPACT STATEMENT
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve’s annual impact statement was developed in collaboration with The Long Run to calculate the cost of operating sustainably and to measure the positive impact on local communities and the environment. The blueprint for the impact statement was conceived by The Long Run in response to an increased demand among travellers for credible data around environmental issues, together with a desire for greener travel. By being transparent about where the money goes, we hope to provide our guests with a better understanding of the cost of conservation and what it takes to operate sustainably.READ MORE
Tswalu is first and foremost an ambitious conservation project, supported by sustainable ecotourism, that strives to restore the natural environment, reestablish and protect biodiversity, and maintain the Kalahari ecosystem’s characteristic ecological processes.
COMMUNITY & CULTURE
Diverse, dynamic and collaborative, the Tswalu community is bonded by a shared commitment to understanding and conserving the Kalahari’s unique ecosystem and respecting the region’s heritage and culture, including its culinary traditions.
Tswalu is unique in that it has a foundation dedicated to scientific research. In-depth research studies, supported by the Tswalu Foundation, inform conservation decisions that are vital to restoring the fragile Kalahari ecosystem.
Tswalu is a member of Oppenheimer Generations, a diverse community of commercial ventures and not-for-profit organisations representing the global interests of the Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer family. Read more about Oppenheimer Generations.