The word "Tswalu" means "a new beginning" and Tswalu Kalahari is driven by two ambitions; to create an inspirational experience for its guests, and a conservation vision, to restore the Kalahari to itself. These two goals sit in perfect equilibrium; each guest contributes directly to the sustainability of the reserve in a true model of eco-tourism.
"Mother Nature is a great healer. All she needs is time and space. Fortunately there are plenty of both on Tswalu." - Gus van Dyk
Tswalu Kalahari is primarily a conservation area. It aims to restore the area of approximately 1000km2 of Kalahari savannah to a pristine state. Such a vast area offers a safe haven for many endangered and rare species while protecting an area of unique diversity and beauty. Hospitality operations serve as a means towards ensuring that the conservation objectives of the property are sustainable while at the same time ensuring that the people of the area benefit from the work opportunities and training that tourism development offers. Conservation, socio-economic development, tourism and responsible environmental management are the four legs upon which Tswalu has been developed.
Tswalu Kalahari aims to make a contribution to conservation through three main conservation goals, i.e. the restoration of the natural environment to a pristine condition, the re-establishment and protection of biological diversity and the maintenance of the natural ecological processes characteristics of the Kalahari environment. This entails the management of the entire ecological system, including the vegetation and the available water resources to restore vital ecological processes which have disappeared in other parts of the Kalahari, thereby maximizing the diversity of life found in the region.
The Motse - An Island of Calm
Our main property, the Motse, nestles at the foot of the Korannaberg mountains, facing westwards across the grasslands of the Kalahari. Motse means "village" in Tswana and our village consists of just eight spacious and secluded "legae" (another Tswana word, for "little house") or suites.
These legaes are built of local stone, rich red clay and traditional Kalahari thatch. Recently redesigned by world-renowned Boyd Ferguson, our suites define an elegant, barefoot luxury. Writing in Conde Nast Traveller, Justin Cartwright describes their charm.
Each suite comprises a spacious bedroom with an open fire, a sumptuous en-suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor shower, and a large dressing and study area. Your private sun deck overlooks a waterhole and the changing Kalahari animals it attracts.
Two legae have been designed especially for families. Each offers two separate bedroom suites with their own en-suite bathrooms, separated by an expansive living room again leading on to a shady, private terrace. These legae are each over 170 square metres in size and create the perfect environment for any family group.
The Motse accommodates no more than 20 guests at any one time to make for a truly intimate Kalahari safari experience. The main house is a spectacular space in which to meet, with its elevated decks and elegant lounges. An infinity pool offers an endless view over the savannahs and a secluded spa is designed to complete your total relaxation. The mezzanine library is equipped with satellite tv (the Motse also has full broadband Wi-Fi access throughout) and its museum cases display rare artefacts from the area. All profits from our exclusive Foundation Gift Shop go directly to fund important new research on the reserve.
Tarkuni - A World Apart
Set amidst two rolling mountain ranges, Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer family's own personal home here at Tswalu and the ultimate private sanctuary.
Recently redesigned to uncompromising standards of comfort and elegance, Tarkuni is an exceptional choice for families or groups of great friends. Its five luxurious suites, each with a magnificent en-suite bathroom, accommodate a maximum of 10 guests.
Tarkuni creates an oasis of serenity in the desert. The home has its own dedicated team including a host and private chef to ensure a completely personal service. A private vehicle, personal field guide and tracker ensure an equally bespoke safari experience.
Tarkuni's quiet pool and shady salas offer calm and contemplation. Its own traditional boma has seen many celebrations. And its beguiling charm has led many guests to return to what becomes their home in the Kalahari.
What Makes Us Unique
- Tswalu Kalahari, owned by the Oppenheimer family, is South Africa's largest private game reserve, covering an area of over 100,000 hectares (1000 sq km or almost a quarter of a million acres). For comparison, this is twice the size of Pilanesberg National Park and bigger than the entire Madikwe reserve
- No other game reserve offers such flexibility. Your dedicated compliment of field guides and butlers allow you to choose how you would like to spend your day – from breakfast in bed to a leisurely spa treatment in the comfort of your own deck overlooking the magnificence of the Kalahari. Thereafter enjoy a leisurely game drive, and indulge in a private gourmet picnic savouring the essence of Africa.
- Emphasizing a sense of space, this vast and magical landscape takes conservation as its first priority; Nicky Oppenheimer's vision is to "restore the Kalahari to itself"
- Tswalu is MALARIA FREE and has superlative game and offers sightings of some of South Africa's rarest and most extraordinary wildlife, including:
- Desert black rhino (Diceros bicornis). Twalu's population represents one third of South Africa's entire remaining desert black rhino
- Black-maned Kalahari lions
- Cheetah. Easily viewed in the open savannah
- Rare antelope such as roan, sable and tsessebe; Tswalu has significant populations of all three
- Diversity. Over 70 species of mammal and 230 species of birds (including endangered raptors). Other sightings may include the elusive aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin and porcupine
- The Kalahari is the ancestral home of the San people (Bushman). Some of their ancient engravings can be seen at Tswalu; current research suggests these may be amongst the oldest art on Earth
- At maximum capacity Tswalu will take only 30 guests in total. This represents the lowest imaginable density of visitors. The emphasis here is on privacy and exclusivity – your own private Kalahari
- Tswalu is located in a malaria-free area, welcomes families and actively encourages children to participate fully in the safari experience
- Because of its unique landscape, wildlife and experience, Tswalu combines perfectly into any itinerary and provides the ideal partnership with both the intensity of the lowveld or the glamour of Cape Town