Experiences | Aug 2020


Tswalu’s remote location in the southern Kalahari offers the ultimate off-the-beaten-track escape. Physical distancing is nothing new in South Africa’s largest, privately owned reserve. Freedom to explore wide, open spaces has long drawn those seeking a deeply layered, immersive safari to these dramatic landscapes, from the ancient, quartzite Korannaberg mountains and savannah grasslands to the red sand dunes rippling away to the horizon. Also known as the ‘green Kalahari’, summer rain has the ability to transform the landscape overnight while the winter season brings its own rewards. Exploration of this semi-arid wonderland, characterised by extreme temperatures and amazing biodiversity, is always an adventure. A Tswalu safari is less about ticking boxes and more about recalibrating and reconnecting with both nature and yourself.

Image 1. Tswalu in winter, Image 2. Tswalu in summer

With a guaranteed private vehicle and guiding team assigned to each booking, days on the reserve are entirely your own and unfold at your own pace. Sightings of cheetah, Kalahari black-maned lion, desert black rhino and other rare and endangered species are often a highlight here. Tswalu is also one of the best places in South Africa to photograph elusive species, such as aardvark, pangolin, bat-eared fox, brown hyena and aardwolf. New this season is a customised photographic safari vehicle that will be beneficial to both novice and experienced photographers. The on-site photographic studio is available for editing and printing the best images of the day. This dedicated vehicle needs to be reserved in advance and comes at an additional cost.

At a time when we’ve all been forced to reimagine travel, including what it means to journey in the first place, a low-impact, sustainable trip with time to immerse yourself in the region’s culture and landscapes has great power to restore and transform both traveller and destination. A longer stay means more time to experience all the activities and excursions unique to Tswalu. Take long drives or nature walks, track the iconic species of the southern Kalahari, marvel at ancient rock art, join researchers from the Tswalu Foundation in the field, observe the sociable habits of foraging meerkats, or head over the dunes on horseback with a packed lunch. It’s just as important to make time to relax and enjoy the generous hospitality in our camps, from private dining to spa treatments. Every additional day spent at Tswalu ultimately benefits the conservation work that is at the heart of this noble project.

Varied private safari experiences at Tswalu Kalahari

Whether you choose the exclusive-use Tarkuni homestead or The Motse camp, your well being, comfort and enjoyment are of the utmost importance to us. Reopened in 2019 after an extensive renovation, The Motse has nine, spacious legae (the Tswana word for ‘dwelling’) with understated, sophisticated interiors that merge effortlessly with the natural surroundings. Three of the legae have two bedrooms, making them ideal for small families. The exclusive-use Tarkuni homestead has been completely reimagined for a multigenerational family or a reunion of friends. Along with a new swimming pool, there are lovely new spaces for outdoor dining and relaxation, including an intimate boma for sunset drinks and dinner under the stars.

As an optional extra, camping out for a night is easier than ever before. The much-loved Malori sleep-out has been reimagined with practical comforts for an unforgettable night in the middle of the reserve. True adventure seekers will enjoy sleeping directly under the stars at the new Naledi.

Image 1. Tarkuni starbed, Image 2. The Motse legae

Despite its blissfully remote location, getting to Tswalu is incredibly easy, thanks to a safe, seamless, private air transfer directly into the reserve from Johannesburg or Cape Town. With stringent health protocols and precautions in place throughout your journey and your stay, we invite you to unpack your bags, settle in and relish the luxury of time as the red dust of the Kalahari settles into your soul.

Tswalu reopens on 1 November 2020 with Nigel Pace, new head of hospitality, at the helm. The entire team looks forward to welcoming guests back to experience the abundance of space, privacy and exclusivity that is integral to a safari in the southern Kalahari.

Sundowner on the dunes