Tswalu Kalahari

TSWALU KALAHARI RESERVE, NORTHERN CAPE
An inspirational experience & an insight into the conservation vision to restore the Kalahari for the discerning traveller

Tswalu Kalahari – The wide, open spaces of South Africa’s largest, privately owned reserve have long drawn travellers seeking a deeply layered, immersive safari. Exclusive access to this wilderness is a privilege that far outweighs more conventional notions of luxury. From the ancient quartzite Korannaberg Mountains to the southern Kalahari’s grassy, red and dunes rippling away to the horizon, Tswalu offers what discerning travellers crave most – space and time. The remote reaches of the reserve may be explored on drives, walks or on horseback, always with opportunities to stop and appreciate the solitude and silence. This is a place to recalibrate and reconnect, both with nature and yourself.

Why visit Tswalu Kalahari:

  • Tswalu Kalahari is the Largest private game reserve in South Africa with only 2 safari camps, accommodation a total of 28 adult guests maximum. At over 114,000 ha, Tswalu measures twice the size of the Sabi Sands.
  • Only truly endemic species on the reserve including Black-maned Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Buffalo, Black & White Rhino, Sable, Eland, Zebra, Giraffe. And the elusive nocturnal species including aardwolf, aardvark, brown hyena, pangolin, bat eared fox, cape fox.
  • An ongoing conservation project with a holistic approach to restore the Kalahari’s natural environment and re-establish its biological diversity – the only project of its kind in South Africa – with a full research facility
  • Sustainability: Fellow Member of The Long Run, an organisation of likeminded operators in the tourism industry across the world that encourage sustainability in all aspects of operation www.thelongrun.org
  • Malaria Free
  • Ease of access via private airfield

At Tswalu, there are only two camps and you’ll be one of just 28 or fewer guests. Enjoy the privacy and exclusivity that define contemporary luxury – and experience the Kalahari at your own pace.

The Motse and Tarkuni serve as focal points for your Kalahari experience, and as launchpads for your safari adventures. Built from organic materials and outfitted to the highest standards, they manifest the warmth and hospitality of the people of the Kalahari.

Designed and sited to make the best of Tswalu’s dramatic and expansive views, The Motse and Tarkuni provide exclusivity, privacy, and unfettered access to one of southern Africa’s last true wildernesses.

Tswalu Kalahari The Motse

THE MOTSE

The Motse has been completely reimagined in 2019. It is a secluded ‘village’ of nine legae (dwellings), each with an open viewing deck and open fireplace. Tswalu’s overall purpose is to leave our world better that how we found it, and we do this through restoring the Kalahari landscape and bringing it back to its own natural beauty. Fittingly, the Motse is casually elegant with a focus on simplicity and comfort. It evokes a mood of peace, authenticity and intimacy and it delivers a new world of luxury and privacy.

Each legae is a calm haven. Beds are orientated to maximise the views and the bathrooms have been created with private gardens with outdoor showers which are open to the exceptional and vast night skies of the Kalahari.

LEGAE

6 luxury legae & 3 luxury family (2-bedroomed suites) legae (maximum 18 adults and children welcome):
• Indoor & outdoor showers
• Fireplace
• Private sun and starbed
• Separate dressing area
• Broadband Wi-Fi access
• Direct dial telephone
• Complimentary bar, tea & coffee, home-made gourmet snack pantry

MAIN BUILDING

• Outdoor swimming pool
• Spa
• Gym
• Photographic studio
• Walk-in wine cellar stocked with South African wines
• Mezzanine National Geographic library

Tswalu Kalahari Tarkuni Homestead

TARKUNI HOMESTEAD

Once the Oppenheimer family home at Tswalu, Tarkuni Homestead offers a natural, home from home bush camp feel with understated elegance and, a sense of luxury, relaxation and tranquillity. With your own private chef and guide, guests experience comfort and an incredible sense of space in their own secluded piece of the Kalahari.

The private suites include a spacious bedroom with king-size or twin beds, a luxurious bathroom with a bath and outdoor shower, and comfortable seating and study areas. The suites embrace the natural outdoor experience with organic-shaped flowing outdoor decks off the bedrooms and the addition of natural Kalahari stone walls to add privacy and seclusion to each deck space. The sunny decks lead onto private terraces with day-beds which can be made up as evening star-beds for guests who would like to experience the thrill of sleeping under the vast Kalahari skies.

LEGAE

Exclusive homestead with 5 individual suites(maximum 10 guests, including children):
• Ensuite bathroom with outdoor showers
• Private sun deck with star bed
• Broadband Wi-Fi access
• Direct dial telephone
• Complimentary bar, tea & coffee, home-made gourmet snack pantry

MAIN BUILDING

• Expansive veranda with seating and dining areas
• Outdoor swimming pool
• Traditional boma
• Lounge with fireplace
• Dining room and cellar
• Library & games room
• Spa therapy suite

Tswalu provides an exceptional guest experienceAN EXCEPTIONAL GUEST EXPERIENCE

  • Maximum 11 game drive vehicles out on the reserve at any given time. No traversing restrictions. No time limits at sightings.
  • Private vehicle, guide and tracker guaranteed for all bookings at no additional charge (also for single travellers).
  • Complete flexibility to explore the reserve at your own pace. Guests plan safari activities with their guide around their preferences and what suits the aim of their stay best:
    • Start as early or as late as you like.
    • Go out all day, and we will bring meals to you, or return to camp for meals.
    • To experience the nocturnal wildlife and the Kalahari skies (with a zombie picnic), we encourage guests to pick an evening to go out after dinner. Some guests only return in the early hours of the morning and sleep in.
  • Diversity of activities: game drives, walking safaris, horseback safaris, meerkat experience, San rock paintings and engravings, helicopter flights, visit to the research facility, Tswalu clinic and pre-school.
  • Wellness:
    • The Spa at The Motse offers 3 treatment rooms, all equipped to offer single or couple treatments. Treatments can also be enjoyed on the veranda of the spa.
    • At Tarkuni we have a small treatment room and the spa therapist can come to Tarkuni from the Motse or guests can opt to go to the Motse
  • Gym at The Motse
  • 2 Sleep out options – the Malori (surcharge per night for the venue) and the Naledi (no surcharge)
  • The Gallery at The Motse showcases the artworks of top South African artists, some of which have produced work while spending time on the Reserve through the Artist in Residence (AiR) program in cooperation with Everard Reed Gallery. Artists of the AiR program include Nic Bladen, Gillian Condy, Bruce Backhouse and Colbert Mashile. All artworks are for sale and part of the proceeds go directly to conservation. The Gallery also offers bespoke and one-off souvenirs and apparel.
  • Under the expert guidance and encouragement of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, South Africa’s first Michelin Star Chef. Our executive chef Marnus Scholly runs the various kitchens and brings the South African Heritage to your plate in a fine dining experience.
  • We offer private dining. The boma evenings are also set up with private tables. For those that like to ensure social distancing, we can also offer in-room dining.
  • Our guest experience manager, is responsible for the special dining venues – think at the sleep outs, sundowners, zombie picnics and Korannaberg lunches, a dune dinner after an early evening horse ride.
  • Klein JAN will open in February 2021 and all guests at The Motse or Tarkuni will be invited for a special dinner at this venue for one evening during their stay. Private dining, dune dinners, boma evenings.

Tswalu's diverse wildlife

WILDLIFE & HABITAT

One of the very few mountain ranges in the southern Kalahari – the Korannaberg – casts a benevolent shadow over the rolling dunes and expansive grasslands of Tswalu. Tswalu also receives more rainfall than many other parts of the Kalahari.

In the shelter of the mountains – which also provide a dramatic backdrop to wildlife sightings – you can encounter Tswalu’s 240 bird and 80 mammal species, including Hartmann’s mountain zebra and wild dog.

As we learn more about Tswalu through research projects supported by the Tswalu Foundation, this amazing region continues to surprise. To date, more butterfly species have been recorded here than in the entire British Isles. By way of confounding stereotypes, Tswalu is even home to three species of amphibian.

At Tswalu you’ll encounter species you may have seen elsewhere, along with drier area specialist species that you probably haven’t. While zebra, buffalo and giraffe will be familiar if you’ve been on safari before, this will likely be your first opportunity to capture iconic Kalahari images such as dainty springbok with a backdrop of red sand, or the silhouette of a gemsbok atop a dune.

Many of the species found at Tswalu are of particular significance to the San people, as evidenced by their inclusion in ancient galleries of rock art.

There is a timeless quality to Kalahari – it’s a place where humans have wandered and wondered since the dawn of creation. We stay true to this feeling by letting you shape your own days and spending as long as you wish on each activity.

Just like the sands of the Kalahari, we understand that your priorities can shift during your time at Tswalu. That’s why we’ll never try and shoehorn your experience into a fixed schedule.

Tswalu is unquestionably one of the best places in southern Africa to see cheetah in the wild. The vast open spaces and antelope herds of the Kalahari readily lend themselves to high-speed pursuits. Visiting Tswalu also gives you front-row seats for sightings of species that prove elusive elsewhere, from aardvark and pangolin to Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra.

EXPERIENCE TSWALU

No two Tswalu experiences are the same. That’s because the way you see and touch this magical place will be shaped by your particular interests and will happen at your own pace. Tswalu is a generous landscape and as the sun rises above the Korannaberg mountains each morning, new opportunities to learn, play and explore come to life. Every Tswalu safari is a true journey to the heart of an inspired conservation vision, and a landscape that’s dreamlike in its intensity and scale.

Tswalu’s team of experienced field guides and trackers all took different routes to reach the Kalahari. Despite that, they are united in their passion for conserving Tswalu and their eagerness to unravel its mysteries and share them with you. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and they are true ambassadors for the restoration of the grasslands and dunes of Tswalu.

Tswalu land is not shared with guests from other concessions or lodges. This means that there are no areas that are off-limits, and you can spend as long as you wish at sightings or indulging in your own particular interests, whether they are creatures large or small. A private guide, vehicle and tracker are assigned to each booking, allowing for a completely personalised Tswalu experience.

Your own private safari

With your own dedicated guide and vehicle, you can experience Tswalu exactly the way you want to. There are no fixed schedules or time limits at special sightings – during your stay, the dunes and grasslands are yours to explore the way you want to, and each wildlife encounter can unfold at its own pace.

Just like the sands of the Kalahari, we understand that your priorities can shift during your time at Tswalu. That’s why we’ll never try and shoehorn your experience into a fixed schedule.

Tswalu is unquestionably one of the best places in southern Africa to see cheetah in the wild – the vast open spaces and antelope herds of the Kalahari readily lend themselves to high-speed pursuits. Visiting Tswalu also gives you front-row seats for sightings of species that prove elusive elsewhere, from aardvark and pangolin to Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra.

Tswalu’s ecotourism ventures have a notably low ecological impact while also contributing significantly to the sustainability of the reserve and its achievement of its conservation and community upliftment goals. By remaining honest to our guiding principles, we can deliver a safari experience of startling authenticity.

Bush walks

Much of Tswalu’s beauty can be found in the smaller details: the ripples left by the wind on the crest a sand dune, a yellow flower opening to face the sun, or the tracks of a porcupine digging for roots. Walking at Tswalu gives you the opportunity to see these and other signs of the abundance of the southern Kalahari, as well as following the tracks of larger species.

Horseback riding

Another exciting game viewing option at Tswalu is a horseback ride. Horseback safaris allow guests to explore the dunes and savannahs on our well-schooled and well-mannered horses, which are suitable for all ages and all levels of experience. There is no better way to get close to nature and the wildlife. On a horse safari in at Tswalu, you become part of the landscape and many of the animals react differently to your presence. No-one who experiences this kind of closeness with wildlife ever forgets it.

Our equestrian guides are well trained in the Kalahari ecology, and will lead you on a true safari where you can ride alongside antelope, buffalo, zebra and giraffe, or watch them from a distance without detection.

Children are welcome on horseback safaris. Both trail and English saddles are available and every piece of necessary equipment is provided, in every imaginable size.

Junior Ranger Programme

Junior Ranger’s Programme

Children are welcome at Tswalu and the reserve is well equipped to cater for them. Tswalu believes that they too can be part of the conservation vision.

The youngsters will be introduced to the Junior Ranger programme and given a backpack with guides and tools to help them learn about the Kalahari. During their stay they will make their own bow and arrow for archery, learn how to identify spoor, and track game on foot.

In between game walks and drives there are activities at The Motse specially designed to occupy the kids while mom and dad relax. Tswalu’s stables will create a special “pony camp” for any child who shares their passion for horses. There is no malaria in this part of the Kalahari and the pool is a big attraction. They can chat to the rangers, decorate cup cakes and even cook their own bush dinner in the special children’s boma. A separate children’s menu caters for their individual tastes.

Babysitters can be arranged for younger children if parents want time alone.

Tswalu Spa

The Spa and Gym at The Motse provide both relaxation and stimulation for body and mind, with inspiration coming from the savannah views and the use of organic materials both in the construction of this space, and in the spa treatments.

Helicopter

Viewing Tswalu from the air is the best way to appreciate the sheer scale of the southern Kalahari. The folds in the land reveal themselves as you look down on mountain peaks where quite possibly no-one has ever walked and trace intertwined game paths that wind through the grasslands.

Flying at either end of the day reveals the fascinating interplay of light and shadow as the land glows warmly or slowly slips into darkness. Watching eland patiently file down to a waterhole, or the puffs of dust raised by the hooves of an oryx on the run are moments that will live with you forever.

Habituated meerkats

Join a group of habituated meerkats as they emerge from their burrows and warm themselves in the rising sun or meet up with them as they return home at the end of the day and groom and play at dusk.

Their gregarious nature and amusing antics (think early morning sunbathing and playing chicken with scorpions) have made meerkats extremely popular as subjects of wildlife documentaries. Our two habituated colonies have accepted the presence of humans without letting it disrupt the important business of grooming and foraging.

Meerkats are just one of the smaller predators which abound at Tswalu: aardwolf, African wild cat and caracal are also frequently seen.

The Malori starbed

Watching thousands of stars slowly spin through a black velvet sky as you fall asleep makes a night spent on our Malori sleep-out deck an unforgettable experience. Enjoy a glowing Kalahari sunset as you eat dinner, then see the world anew as birdsong and the strengthening light awaken you at dawn.

The Naledi sleepout

Naledi, which means ‘star’ in the local Tswana language, is Tswalu’s back-to-nature star bed experience in the Korannaberg mountains. Elevated above a valley with wraparound views, Naledi is for the true adventurer who yearns to sleep beneath the southern Kalahari’s brilliant blanket of stars in safety and seclusion. Spending a night in a star bed, with nothing between you and the night sky, has become increasingly sought after as travellers search for authentic, unfiltered experiences immersed in nature. Naledi has purposely been kept very simple so as not to detract from its private and remote setting in the southern reaches of the reserve. Sleeping in the open, under the stars, is as old as time.

San petroglyphs

Join your guide in trying to puzzle out the hidden meanings in millennia-old rock engravings of animals, birds and abstract shapes. Today, no one knows whether they were created as memories, prayers or maps, but their beauty and mystery endure.

SEASONS

There is no ‘best time’ to visit Tswalu: each of our four seasons offers unique viewing opportunities and changing landscapes as the Kalahari responds to the presence or absence of water.

SPRING AT TSWALU

The mercury begins to climb during September and October, although evenings can still be a little bracing, so come prepared. Thorn bushes are softened by blossoms, and the night echoes to the calls of amorous barking geckos (the quintessential sound of the Kalahari). Meerkat pups venture outside their dens for the first time, and there is a palpable sense of anticipation as we await the summer rains.

SUMMER AT TSWALU

Summer is Tswalu’s longest and most important season. Between November and March, hotter days are punctuated by delightfully mild evenings and spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. While rain may be a regular inconvenience elsewhere, at Tswalu it is both unpredictable and near miraculous. Consider yourself fortunate if it rains during your time here as you’ll witness the almost instantaneous eruption of colour as the Kalahari transforms into a carpet of golden flowers. Many species coordinate their reproductive cycles with the reappearance of the rains. New life is evident everywhere, from wobbly young antelope to irrepressibly curious jackal pups. Flocks of migrating birds descend on Tswalu to enjoy summer’s bounty.

AUTUMN AT TSWALU

In the southern Kalahari, the autumn months of April and May are marked by milder days and cooler evenings, as the last of the summer rains peter out. The savannah remains at its greenest, and shimmers as the breeze carries seeds aloft. The sounds of clashing horns carry across the landscape as the impala rut reaches its peak, while tortoises and other reptiles prepare to hibernate through the winter.

WINTER AT TSWALU

Between June and August, temperatures can dip below freezing overnight (although the days remain pleasantly warm). The contrast between the red earth and white early morning frost is a visual treat. Winter is our driest season at Tswalu, with dust devils dancing across the sand dunes and exceptional stargazing on cloudless nights. Nocturnal species change their daily routines, tempted above ground by afternoon sunshine. This makes winter a wonderful time to look for aardvark, aardwolf and pangolin.

COMMUNITY

As well as being an incredible community of flora and fauna, Tswalu is also an extended human family of people from the Kalahari and beyond. We find strength in our diversity, and because we all share the same vision for the future of Tswalu, we can combine our energies and passion to make Tswalu’s vision a reality.

The Tswalu community consists of our staff members and their families, researchers, visiting doctors that support the healthcare centre, visiting artists in residence, and each of our guests, alongside a wider community of neighbours, conservationists and everyone who cares about the restoration of the Kalahari.

The Tswalu Foundation

The Tswalu Foundation exists primarily to support ecological research at Tswalu. Through accumulating a growing body of quality output on the fauna, flora and the unique habitat of the southern Kalahari we have been able to make informed conservation management decisions to better support our shared vision.

This information has been made freely available to our neighbours and other interested parties so that, as we seek to add to our shared understanding of this rich and diverse landscape, they too can care for their land in the best long-term interests of the wildlife and people of the Kalahari.

During your stay at Tswalu, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with researchers studying both iconic and more obscure species and witness scientific conservation in progress.

GETTING THERE

Tswalu Kalahari offers daily scheduled flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town. We typically use the modern and reliable Pilatus PC12.

Tswalu can be reached by road, and we can supply recommended route information on request. If you intend to drive to Tswalu, please contact us for details and advice well in advance of your journey.
Whether you choose to travel to Tswalu by land or air, your journey will take you into both a fascinating past and an uplifting vision of the future.

SUMMER PROMOTIONS

Valid from 1 November 2020 – 30 April 2021

 
STAY 7 PAY 5
Book 7 nights at Tswalu Kalahari and only pay for 5 nights.
 
STAY 5 PAY 3
Book 5 nights at Tswalu Kalahari and only pay for 3 nights.
 
STAY 4 PAY 2
Book 4 nights at Tswalu Kalahari and only pay for 2 nights.
 
STAY 3 PAY 2
Book 3 nights at Tswalu Kalahari and only pay for 2 nights.
 
Promotions include:

• Luxury full-board accommodation (at either The Motse Camp or Tarkuni Homestead)
• Private vehicle, guide and tracker
• Walking safaris and nature walks, including traditional plant-use interpretation
• Habituated meerkat experience, horse riding and bird watching
• Some of the oldest bushman rock engravings in Africa
• Visit to our community health care centre and pre-school
• Introduction to the Tswalu Foundation’s research projects of interest
• Involvement in current wildlife projects on the reserve
• All meals and snacks, including private dining experiences
• All beverages, including full selection from our award-winning wine list
• Wireless internet access and national telephone calls
• Children’s Tswalu Junior Ranger programme and babysitting

 

Terms and Conditions Promotions are mutually exclusive and cannot be combined or used in conjunction with any other special rates or promotions  |  Offer must be requested at the time of booking and cannot be applied retrospectively  |  Accommodation is subject to availability  |  Booking validity: for new reservations (i.e. incremental bookings) received between 1 August 2020 and 30 April 2021  |  Travel validity: for new reservations travelling between 1 November 2020 and 30 April 2021

 

PRICING 01 JAN-31 DEC 2021

PRICE ZAR
   
THE MOTSE  
Sublime accommodation in 9 individual legae set at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains with sweeping views of the Kalahari. Three of the legae (suites) have been designed as spacious double suites (Motse family suites) with 2 separate bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, connecting to a luxurious separate living room, and are perfect for parents travelling with minor children.  
   
Motse Legae  
Per person rate (based on 2 people sharing)  R     26 168,00
Single occupancy  R     32 417,00
   
MOTSE FAMILY LEGAE  
per legae inclusive of 2 adults and 2 children 17 years and under  R     60 464,00
   
MOTSE CHILDREN  
Children 0-11 years sharing with parents in a Motse suite (max 2 children sharing)  
Child 12-17 years sharing with parents in a Motse suite (max 1 child sharing)  R        6 443,00
Additional child in a family suite (max 3 children 0-17 years sharing in a family suite)  R        6 443,00
   
TARKUNI  
Set amid two rolling mountain ranges, Tarkuni is an oasis of serenity with beguiling views on every side. The private homestead accommodates up to 10 guests in five luxurious en-suite bedrooms, each with its own private deck and star bed and boasts a vast open-plan lounge and dining room, an intimate mezzanine library, and a spa therapy suite. A covered deck leads to a private tsala and swimming pool. Your private homestead experience  
   
Exclusive use – limited to 10 persons (5 suites)  
8-10 guests  R  191 349,00
7 guests  R  168 552,00
6 guests  R  150 710,00
5 guests  R  132 868,00
1-4 guests  R  107 097,00
   
THE MALORI STAR-BED  
Imagine sleeping in a luxury king-size bed on a raised deck in the middle of the reserve, surrounded by the calls of nocturnal animals, with nothing between you and the brilliant stars of the Kalahari night sky, without compromising on luxury. Egyptian cotton linen, luxury toweling robes and slippers, and an adjacent outdoor toilet, basin and shower ensure comfort and convenience, while sundowners, snacks and dinner give new meaning to the concept of glamping with your partner or the whole family – of the Green Kalahari and is orientated to showcase the incomparable Kalahari sunsets. maximum of 4 persons. The Malori sleep-out deck maximises the exquisite panoramic views of the vast plains  
Maximum 2 adults and 2 children  R        8 496,00
(Please note this surcharge is in addition to accommodation booked)  

 

FLIGHTS – Tswalu daily scheduled service direct to the reserve’s own world-class tarred airstrip  
Johannesburg to Tswalu  
One Way  R        7 646,00
return  R     15 290,00
Scheduled times (Flight Schedule – 1.5hr flight)  
Flight departs from Fireblade Aviation at 13h00  
Flight departs from Tswalu at 10h20  
   
Cape Town to Tswalu  
One Way  R        7 646,00
return  R     15 290,00
Flight departs Execujet hanger 07h50  
Flight departs from Tswalu at 14h50  
   
HELICOPTER  
Based at Tswalu, the Agusta Westland 119 is a versatile single engine helicopter ideally suited to VIP transport and is available for private helicopter flips on Tswalu.  
(Excursions to nearby points of interest, and a shuttle service to Upington airport quoted on request)  
Conservation educational: +/- 30 minutes flying time, maximum 4 passengers  R     19 140,00
Korannaberg mountain picnic: +/- 30 minutes flying time, maximum 4 passengers  R     19 140,00

Subject to Availability.  T&C’s apply.  E&OE.

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