Integral to Tswalu’s conservation vision is our community, an extended family of people from the Kalahari and beyond. The Tswalu community includes our staff and their families, visiting researchers, conservationists and artists in residence, guests staying in our camps, the wider community of neighbours and our valued network of local farmers and suppliers in the Northern Cape, many of them family owned. Our community includes everyone who cares about conserving this ancient, deep-rooted land and all who have contributed and continue to support it in some way.

The Tswalu community: an extended family of people from the Kalahari and beyond

Tswalu provides a number of services and facilities, including a health care centre that provides free primary health care and health education not only to all staff and their families on the reserve but to anyone in need in the remote, rural communities surrounding the property. Tshameka, a preschool established in 2003, provides a stimulating, structured early education in preparation for primary school for children of staff and their extended families.

As part of Tswalu’s sustainability journey, our community finds strength in its diversity and in its commitment to understanding and respecting the region’s heritage and cultural practices, including its artistic and culinary traditions.

Tswalu Kalahari Culture

There is evidence on the reserve of human activity extending back in time to at least 500,000 years ago, a record spanning the Earlier, Middle, and Later Stone Ages, and the Iron Age. Many of these traces of human activity are clustered around water sources, such as pans, or in deposits that were lake beds in the past. Tswalu was once the ancestral home of the hunter-gatherer San, and evidence of their presence can be found across the reserve including over 300 cupules, which are rounded depressions mainly on horizontal rock surfaces. The many San engraving sites testify to the importance with which these groups of people regarded the southern Kalahari, for it provided sanctuary and physical and spiritual nourishment. Tswalu’s archaeological sites are the subject of on-going research, and continue to reveal fascinating aspects of its early history.

Healthcare Community Centre


The on-site health care centre is a focal point for the community, providing vital medical services and health education to improve the quality of life for approximately 5000 people per year in the surrounding communities, our own team members and their families.

Read More
Community School at Tswalu Kalahari


The school provides a first-world educational foundation for two to six-year olds to learn and play, and includes a daily nutritional meal. Structured learning sessions are integrated with creative play and opportunities to explore nature.


ABET was initiated in 2002, when it was found that some of Tswalu’s junior-level staff could not write their own names, due to a lack of basic education. Staff voluntarily sign up for the ABET programme, which offers weekly classes in Afrikaans and English to improve literacy and gain formal recognition for various skills.