The many San Engraving sites at Tswalu testify to the importance with which earlier inhabitants regarded the green Kalahari. It gave them sanctuary and both physical and spiritual nourishment. During the 20th Century, this link between people and their surroundings was disrupted by attempts at cattle farming and hunting.


Tswalu is a labour of love for the Oppenheimer family, who took responsibility for this remarkable reserve in 1998 – continuing the vision of the late Stephen Boler, from Manchester in the United Kingdom, whose dream it was to return this land which had been farmed, to its former state. Since then, their commitment to conservation has seen indigenous species re-introduced, and 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 and conservation success story, Tswalu is bringing this ultimate ambition a little closer each day: To leave the world better than how we found it.

In Setswana, Tswalu means a ‘new beginning’ and we are aiming to deliver exactly that: a fresh era of hope for the people and wildlife of one of South Africa’s last great wilderness areas. Tswalu represents an opportunity to explore not just a landscape, but a new model of conservation.


Tswalu is a conservation-in-progress. Damage caused by previous, farming endeavours is being repaired, with fences and structures being removed, and natural processes are being restored. Tswalu’s national and regional importance as a habitat was acknowledged in 2014 when it was designated as a formally protected area.