South Africa’s most immersive safari
There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we travel. Boarding a flight, which many of us may have taken for granted in the past, has become a gift – the proverbial ticket to freedom. Travel has become more mindful, from where to go to when to go. In seeking off-the-beaten-track places to reconnect with nature, the remoteness of the southern Kalahari has become more appealing than ever before.
‘Tswalu has always been a year-round destination, each season offering unique and memorable sightings along with the freedom to explore the reserve’s vast reaches in complete privacy and at your own pace.’
Understanding the impact of each trip we take has also become an important consideration. Travel to Africa is no longer purely escapist or adventurous, but part of a conscious choice to contribute sustainably to conservation and communities. Choosing Tswalu for your safari is ultimately an investment in the research-led conservation that is at the heart of this ambitious restoration project.
‘Given the new travel landscape, rushing to tick off bucket-list destinations in multiple countries has been replaced with a more immersive, meaningful and sustainable approach to safari travel. It’s time to slow down and embrace a longer stay in one place.’
Tswalu Kalahari is known for its generous hospitality and design-forward accommodation in breathtakingly beautiful locations. It also offers the most sought-after, yet elusive, luxuries of our modern world – time and space.
‘With your private vehicle, guide and tracker at the ready, taking a deep dive into this semi-arid wonderland of dramatic contrasts and amazing biodiversity is an adventure that should never be rushed. A longer stay means more time to experience all the activities and excursions unique to Tswalu, which include all-day drives in the cooler months, private dune dinners under the stars, a taste extravaganza at Restaurant Klein JAN, horse riding and walking safaris, and time in the field with scientists based at Dedeben Research Centre.’
We’ve summed up 10 good reasons to linger longer and allow the Kalahari’s profound sense of place to leave an indelible mark on your soul.
10 GOOD REASONS TO TRAVEL TO TSWALU
It’s time to slow down and stay longer
Dine outdoors in surprise settings
From a picnic lunch in the foothills of the Korannaberg to a lantern-lit barbecue in the dunes beneath the stars, dining at Tswalu is usually outdoors and seldom confined to regular mealtimes. Whether it’s a private dinner on your verandah or a leisurely lunch at the pool, taking advantage of the wonderful climate and unsurpassed views is a given. Eating and drinking well becomes a memorable aspect of every experience, and a celebration of the superior provenance and unexpected bounty of the Northern Cape.
Taste local, seasonal food at Klein JAN
The culinary traditions, ingredients and regional produce of the Northern Cape are the shining stars on Klein JAN’s menu, rooted not only in the southern Kalahari’s remote and dramatic landscapes but also in its resourceful, tenacious people. In-house guests of the Motse and Tarkuni are invited to experience one memorable meal at Klein JAN during their stay, with our compliments.
Mingle with habituated meerkats
An early morning visit to a colony of meerkats, to see them up close in their natural surroundings, is an unforgettable encounter. Your guide will wake you at daybreak, because the best time to see the meerkats is when they first emerge from their burrows to groom and play in the sun before starting to forage. The Tswalu meerkat experience is made possible because these sociable creatures have been habituated over many years to accept humans as part of their environment and not to see our presence as a threat or danger.
Understand the role of research in conservation
From butterflies to black rhinos, from snakes to sociable weavers, there is probably a research project on the go to match your special interest. Spend time in the field with one of the researchers on site to find out how data collection and findings from in-depth, long-term projects inform conservation decisions on the reserve.
Take better photos
There is something special about the light at Tswalu – ask any wildlife photographer. With a private vehicle, guide and tracker, there is time to take iconic images from the perfect angle. Tswalu is known to be one of the best places in South Africa to photograph elusive, nocturnal species, such as aardvark, pangolin, bat-eared fox, brown hyena and aardwolf. Those who want to take their photography skills to the next level can book a fully customised photographic safari vehicle at an additional cost. Suitable for beginners or advanced photographers, it comes with a dedicated photographic guide.
Go on a walking safari
Whether wandering into the foothills of the Korannaberg mountains in search of rock art, following tracks along a winding track, climbing one of the iconic red dunes or just waiting at a natural pan for animals to wander down for a drink, a guided walking safari is one of the most immersive ways to experience the beauty and dramatic contrasts of the reserve.
Appreciate rock art
Explore one of the many valuable rock art sites on the reserve on foot to add another dimension to your understanding of the southern Kalahari. There is a fascinating gallery of petroglyphs to decipher, the rock engravings that document the culture of the bushmen and other early inhabitants of this place.
Enjoy sightings from the saddle
On horseback it doesn’t take long to become attuned to the land, from the way the light falls on the grasses and dunes to the sounds and scents of the bush. A guided horse ride from Tswalu’s private stables offers up-close animal sightings that are not always possible from a vehicle. Head over the dunes for a picnic lunch or a night at the Malori star bed.
Schedule spa and siesta time
There are few things more relaxing than heading to the spa for a couple of hours after a morning game drive or a vigorous walk. Indulgent treatments, such as massages, can also be arranged outdoors on your private verandah. A longer stay makes it much easier to give yourself permission to spend an afternoon in camp, watching animals at the waterhole or curled up in front of the fire with a good book.
Dream big in a star bed
Spending a night in one of our star beds, either directly under the night sky or under canvas, is an adventurous way to appreciate the sights and sounds of the reserve after dark. Choose between Naledi, an elevated, open-air platform in the south of the reserve, or book a night at the new Malori, a classic safari tent with a generous deck overlooking the dunes rolling away to the western horizon. With zero light pollution, the stargazing may surpass your wildest dreams.
White-backed vulture conservation
Several breeding nests of white-backed vultures were recently discovered on the reserve for the first time, during BirdLife SA's first audit of Tswalu since becoming South Africa's first Vulture Safe Zone.
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.