HOW TO PLAN A SAFARI WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY
The concept of a family vacation has changed as traditional family structures have evolved. Private group travel is a growing trend and safaris are at the top of most bucket lists when it comes to travelling with friends or family. Luxury safaris have become synonymous with having the time, space and privacy to create meaningful experiences that foster connection. No longer the exclusive domain of honeymooners and empty-nesters, safaris appeal to multi-generational families; blended families establishing bonds through shared experiences; the skip-gen trend of tweens and teens adventuring with their grandparents; friendship groups craving both quality time with their children and grownup company; and celebratory get-togethers of friends who consider each other family.
CHOOSE A SAFARI CAMP TO MATCH YOUR ADVENTURE
A safari with those who matter the most in your life remains an adventure that will forge lifelong memories. Game drives and mealtimes offer plenty of opportunities for everyone to socialise between downtime in private spaces. Being part of a small, sociable group makes it easier to unplug from the world – that digital detox you’ve promised yourselves – and tune into the wild, natural surroundings you’ve travelled so far to experience.
Tswalu offers a choice of accommodation for groups and the luxury of a private vehicle, guide and tracker with every booking at no additional cost. There is flexibility for guests to explore the reserve at their own pace and focus on special interests, like birding or learning to take better photos, and to get off the vehicle for a leg stretch or to study tracks in the sand. There is time to linger at special sightings and freedom to stop for morning coffee or afternoon sundowners at whim. There is also time to meet with resident scientific researchers working on one of the many long-term projects supported by the Tswalu Foundation to learn about their data collection and findings and how this may influence future conservation strategies.
A ‘FAMILY’ FRIENDLY DESTINATION TO DISCOVER
Tswalu is a year-round destination that is malaria-free. Located on the southernmost edge of the Kalahari, it offers exclusive access to a vast, remote wilderness area – some 114,000 hectares in extent – and an introduction to a complex ecosystem characterised by diverse habitats and resilient fauna and flora well adapted to climatic extremes.
With so many activities and complimentary inclusions on offer, Tswalu lends itself to longer, more immersive stays. Even after several days, most guests feel like they have only scratched the surface of this extraordinary place.
Tswalu’s luxury accommodation includes the Motse with nine legae (Setswana for ‘home’). Three of these suites have an additional bedroom for children or young adults travelling with their parents. Tarkuni, an exclusive-use homestead with five bedrooms for up to 10 guests, is exactly right for a multi-generational family or a celebratory gathering of friends. Loapi Tented Camp is a remote retreat with six independently run, exclusive-use safari homes (with either one or two bedrooms) for a private wilderness experience.
TAILORED EXPERIENCES – YOUR SAFARI, YOUR PACE
The Motse camp is located in the west of the reserve, where the Korannaberg mountains give way to grassy plains and the Kalahari’s characteristic red dunes. Game drives, walks to petroglyph sites, learning the art of tracking, horse riding, encountering habituated meerkats, dinner at Klein JAN, and an introduction to some of the research projects supported by the Tswalu Foundation are popular guest activities while staying here. Three of the legae, or suites, have a second bedroom and are ideal for families with children of any age. The Motse is a great choice for couples, too, especially those who are keen to meet and share time in camp with other travellers.
Tarkuni is a great choice for a special occasion gathering of friends or family who want to spend as much time as possible together. The much-loved thatched homestead has five bedrooms all under one roof, which makes it a natural choice for families with young children or multi-generational groups. There is plenty of space for socialising, relaxing and dining, especially outdoors. A generous verandah, fire pit, mini boma and plunge pool overlook an active waterhole for armchair game viewing. Backed by the Korannaberg mountains, the area around Tarkuni is characterised by deep valleys and ancient water courses with well-preserved petroglyph sites. Staying here puts you closer to the game-rich pans and open plains in the west of the reserve.
Loapi Tented Camp is located on Lekgaba in Bruwer Valley with uninterrupted views south across open plains and distant hills from each well-appointed home. With no shared spaces or amenities, guests are assured of solitude and seclusion with a dedicated homathi (house manager) and chef to take care of everything. A central living and dining area and interactive kitchen lead outdoors to shaded decks with dining areas, day beds, a fire pit, and an environmentally friendly plunge pool. The bedrooms are cocoon-like sanctuaries under canvas. Whether dining indoors or taking an outdoor shower, guests feel connected to the surrounding wilderness. From tracking rhino to spending time at one of the pans nearby camp where prides of lions, buffalo herds, jackals, and many of the Kalahari’s most iconic species converge, game drives on Lekgaba are action packed.
Images by Marcus Westberg, Trevor Kleyn, Dook, Don Heyneke, Felix Studios, Andrew Morgan.
ADVANTAGES OF A SUMMER SAFARI
Tswalu’s remote location in the southern Kalahari provides the ultimate off-the-beaten-track escape at the height of summer. Exclusive access to this untrammelled wilderness sets the scene for unparalleled privacy and freedom.
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO CHECK INTO LOAPI TENTED CAMP
Since opening, Loapi has established itself as a quietly luxurious, private retreat within the immensity of Tswalu’s exclusive-access wilderness. Gain an insider’s view of what it’s like to stay in one of these private tented homes.