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South Africa Safari

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Kalahari Desert, Northern Cape, South Africa

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve - Tarkuni
Return to Map of Northern Cape          © Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

View images of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve: Tswalu Images

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is an exclusive, luxury, private, malaria-free game reserve situated in the heart of South Africa's Northern Cape Province. The Reserve offers the ultimate safari experience and the surroundings are elegantly simple, with its luxury swimming pool opening to the remarkable scene of animals drinking at a nearby watering hole. A trip to Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is unique in many ways, offering an exclusive, tailor-made experience.

The Reserve is situated at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains, some 300 kilometres north west of Kimberley. The nearest town is Kuruman, famous as the Mission from which Dr. Livingston set off into what was then darkest Africa. Close to the border with Botswana, Tswalu's African village doors open onto the splendor and serenity of the awesome Kalahari.

Accommodations            For images of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, click Tswalu Images
Accommodation at Tswalu epitomizes the stylish yet rustic elegance typical of luxury game reserve accommodation. Indeed, no creature comfort has been spared for guests at this quintessentially African dwelling. From the indoor and outdoor heated shower in every suite (the outdoor version looks out across the Kalahari plain) to the private suite sundecks and a library, this is the essence of modern luxury with an African feel.

The emphasis at Tswalu is on exclusivity, which is why the entire reserve can accommodate no more than 30 people at a time.

Tswalu offers two separate accommodations on the Reserve:

The Motse
The Motse is Tswalu's main game reserve accommodation, nestled at the foot of the Korannaberg mountain range, facing westward across the grasslands of the Kalahari. 'Motse' is a Tswana word meaning 'village'. Tswana is one of South Africa's 11 official languages and is spoken in the Northern Cape. Designed to blend inconspicuously into the mountain range surrounding the game reserve, the Motse consists of eight spacious legae (a Tswana word for small house/suite), all designed with a distinct African feel while remaining elegant and stylish.

The legaes are built of local stone, rich red clay and typical Kalahari thatch roofs, and together can accommodate a maximum of 20 people. Six of the legaes are for two guests each, while two legaes were designed with families in mind, each accommodating four people. As an added bonus for any game reserve in South Africa, each legae overlooks a game watering hole. Each suite comprises a spacious bedroom, an en-suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor walk-in shower, large private lounge with an open fireplace, private sun deck overlooking the waterhole, direct dial telephone, safe, mini bar and outdoor heated swimming pool. This is luxury game reserve accommodation at its best.

At the main house in the Motse, guests can relax in the spacious lounge leading onto a patio overlooking the outdoor heated swimming pool and pool terrace. Other facilities include a walk-in wine cellar stocked with South African wines, a mezzanine library with TV/satellite, Dimpho (a gift shop) and a Gym.

Set in its own private area of the Tswalu luxury African game reserve, Tarkuni is the ultimate in secluded luxury. Built amid two rolling mountain ranges, Tarkuni is perfect for families and small groups of 8 - 12 guests. The accommodation contains four luxury bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and outdoor heated shower, open plan lounge and dining room, library, covered patio and heated swimming pool. Specific accommodation for children is available, with two sets of bunk beds and separate nanny quarters with two single beds and a bathroom en suite.

Guests at Tarkuni luxury game reserve can find calm and contemplation at the "sala ", sun themselves at the pool or retire to lofty bedrooms with vistas that beguile the most jaded traveller. Private game viewing vehicles are included as well as a dedicated chef to allow the luxury of flexibility. In short, Tarkuni is game reserve accommodation that is completely self-contained.

Sanctuary Spa at Tswalu - Elemis spa-therapies, body treatments & massages
Elemis has over 15 years experience in treating both men & women in the professional spa environment. Each spa-therapy has been developed using extensive clinical and scientific studies to ensure every therapy shows real results. Designed to respect the body's complex physiology, Elemis spa-therapies work in natural synergy with the skin, body & mind. Every treatment is specifically designed to offer a unique experience, using powerful massage sequences and the most potent actives available in the world today. Dynamic ingredients, medical grade formulas and dedicated research are all combined to provide a range of spa-therapies that offer scientific solutions to every skin, body or lifestyle concern. Each treatment is complemented with a lavish arm and hand massage, incorporated with a calming scalp massage to leave you totally relaxed and rejuvenated.

Dining and Cuisine
At Tswalu, dining entails many options. At the main house in the Motse, guests can either enjoy meals in the dining room, or in the privacy of their own suite lounge. Above all, Tswalu's exclusive game reserve accommodation achieves a rustic feel without compromising its private and luxurious facilities.

Mountain Dining
One of the most memorable sights is the spectacular view from the Lekgaba lookout (Mountain lookout). Here, a comfortable thatch covered lookout has been built into the mountainside with amenities for guests to refresh themselves after a morning's game viewing. Brunch is cooked in the boma and served in the large dining room, which opens out onto a viewing deck. The panorama is awesome, with Tswalu stretching as far as the eye can see on every side. Few fail to be touched by magnificence of the landscape, the brightness of the sky, the smell of clean air and the deafening sound of silence!

For those looking for luxury African safaris that offer the ultimate in travel convenience and on-site facilities, Tswalu is ideal. This is South African game reserve accommodation whose facilities extend to even before guests have arrived: from the Anglo American hangar at O.R. Tambo airport, Tswalu has its own air shuttle that flies direct to the reserve seven days a week. Increasingly becoming standard practice among the top private South African game reserves, Tswalu boasts its own private landing strip. To read more about getting to Tswalu, visit the traveller information section.

Tswalu also offers game drives in open-sided, canopied safari vehicles. All game drives are led by experienced rangers who provide a fascinating insight into indigenous wildlife of the region. Optional bush walks allow guests of this private South African game reserve to get even closer to nature, and are led by experienced field guides who are highly knowledgeable into the local vegetation, bush medicines and history of the San people. And if you want a break from game-related activities, why not play a round of golf at Sishen Golf Course, a renowned golf course that is rated eighth in the country.

Activities include
Horse riding, archery, star gazing, sun downers, Meerkat viewing and special activities for children.

Facilities at Tswalu include:
• a lounge and dining area
• library
• traditional African boma
• gift shop "Dimpho"
• Gym
• wine cellar
• sun deck
• outdoor heated swimming pool
• telephone
• safe and mini bar in each room
• dedicated chef
• private game viewing vehicle
• high powered telescope with which to explore the night sky
• private plane
• tarred landing strip and daily shuttle to the reserve
• laundry and valet services
• massage treatments - booking essential
• hot air ballooning - booking essential

At Tswalu, the game-viewing opportunities are unparalleled in terms of South African safaris. Guided walks meander across silent red dunes. Drives in open-sided safari vehicles traverse the Kalahari wilderness and stop at the most scenic spots to allow visitors to enjoy an impressive sunset or splendid bush dinner. Bird-watching, star-gazing and exciting visits to the habituated meerkat dens of Tswalu are just some of the activities on offer at Tswalu. Optional horseback trails, with a qualified guide, enable guests to become one with nature and to experience close encounters with wildlife.

In addition, South African safaris such as those offered at Tswalu allow guests the opportunity of visiting archaeological sites and viewing rock engravings in and around the reserve. Special-interest courses in archaeology, ethno-botany and photography, as well as golfing at the nearby Sishen Golf Course are also available on request.

The incredible beauty of the surroundings and the great variety of wildlife make South African safaris such as these an unforgettable experience. Safaris at Tswalu are the perfect opportunity to observe many endangered animals in their natural habitat and see a variety of birds, insects and desert vegetation.

Tswalu is justly proud of the success of its ongoing conservation projects, with the founder population of 7 000 animals having grown to more than 12 000 in the space of five years.

From the back of an open sided safari vehicle, from the saddle or on foot and with the help of our experienced field guides and trackers, learn how to spot and track like a professional on your South African safari.

Horse Riding at Tswalu
We ride across beautiful grassy plains and rolling dune veldt with 360-degree views. The Korannaberg Mountains make an awesome backdrop to a late afternoon ride, draped in mauves and pinks, while the rolling dunes stretch out to infinity as we set out to explore in the early morning. An experienced horse guide and backup rider accompany all rides, equipped with radio and comprehensive first aid kit.

We have a variety of horses ranging from 14.2HH to 17.0HH. The breeds include Percheron X, Boerperd, Boerperd X, Quarter Horse X, Thoroughbred, Appaloosa, Arab X. As most of our guests are novice riders, we have taken care to have horses that are suitable for them. We do however have a couple of horses that are for more experienced riders.

We do accommodate children on the rides. Children between 6 and 10, depending on riding experience, may be put on lead ropes. An outdoor arena provides kids and more nervous adult riders with a chance to ride in a protected environment. The weight limit is 100kg.

The horses are basically trained for Trail riding. We use Trail saddles, but also have a few English saddles available for those guests that prefer them. Our horses are also schooled in the Western style of reining.

In summer the rides are a maximum of 2 hours (depending on heat) and winter we can go for 3-4 hour rides. In winter we can also stop for lunch after a 3-hour ride and then ride back afterwards. The most novice rider sets the pace. We can however split the group up for a canter and rejoin the group later as we take two guides on rides.

Rides can go from Stable to Stable, Stable to Motse (lodge), Motse to Motse, Stable to Sundowner dune, Motse to Sundowner dune, Stable to Breakfast spot or Stable to Lunch spot. Riders need only bring jodhpurs or can ride with comfortable trousers. We supply hard hats, short and long chaps, gloves and boots. Hard hats are compulsory for children under 18 years of age and strongly recommended for all other riders.

Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning over the Kalahari landscape can be arranged, prior booking essential.

Children | Kids are welcome at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Unlike many other luxury African game reserves, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is a place where children are gladly welcomed. With a range of fun activities and accommodation especially suited to kids, this is a place where your children will feel stimulated, happy and above all, at home.

A visit to Twalu is one that is highly educational, but without the boredom of sitting in a stuffy classroom. While on game drives and bush walks, children will be able to learn fascinating lessons about wildlife, birdlife and vegetation from our knowledgeable rangers. However, we know that mom and dad are bound to need some solitude during long and languid Tswalu afternoons, so to keep the tiny tots occupied, children will have access to a wealth of colouring-in books and crayons.

Because Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is in a malaria-free area, there is no need to worry about preventative malaria medication for yourself or your little ones.

Children are welcome at both the Motse and Tarkuni. In addition babysitting facilities are available for adults seeking peace and solitude.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve offers special discounted rates for families travelling with children. In addition, children aged 12 and under sharing with adults stay free of charge. Children aged 12 and over sharing with adults will be accommodated at 50% of the rack rate.

Wildlife and the Reserve
Surrounding the rugged Koranneberg Mountains in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa,Tswalu Kalahari Reserve covers 1,000 square km (100,000 ha) of land on the edge of the mysterious desert wilderness that is the Kalahari.

In the Kalahari, the thornveld and sweeping sand dunes are home to some of the world's most fascinating wildlife. It is here that you will find Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, the most extensive private game reserve in South Africa owned by the well-known Oppenheimer family. Their purchase of Tswalu in October 1998 was an addition to their other major conservation initiatives in Gauteng and in the UK.

The word 'Tswalu' is a Tswana word meaning 'new beginning'. Tswana is spoken widely in Southern Africa - throughout the Northern Cape, the central and western Free State as well as in the North-West Province. At Tswalu, you can experience the excitement of game viewing while savoring the solitude and endless space of a timeless land.

Free from malaria and other tropical diseases, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve boasts 70 species of mammal including lion, cheetah, desert black rhino, sable, and roan antelope. More than 200 species of bird can also be found. Tswalu is the historical home of the San, whose storytelling and dream imagery can be seen at the many archaeological sites found in this unique private game reserve.

Each day in the Kalahari dawns over a magnificent landscape. Welcome to a private game reserve where the myriad of shades and textures, sounds and contrasting silences of the wilderness will leave you with a profound sense of peace. Welcome to a landscape virtually unchanged by the passing of time.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is a Diamond Birding Route property: The Diamond Birding Route (DBR) is a partnership between BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), De Beers and E Oppenheimer & Son which seeks to enhance the conservation of birds and their habitats through the development of the Diamond Birding Route on properties owned by De Beers and the Oppenheimer family. This project also aims to create further socio-economic opportunities for communities in and adjacent to these areas. The vision for the Diamond Birding Route is to create site-focused activities with the primary theme of birds and birding as core to commercial, conservation and social actions. The Diamond Birding Route was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and aims to add perceived and real value to bird-related and other activities. The program defines an innovative world-class strategy that achieves multiple objectives through positively affecting people's lives and ultimately ensuring that birds benefit. Please read more about the Diamond Birding Route on www.diamondbirdingroute.co.za.

History of the Reserve
Although Tswalu game reserve in South Africa is currently owned by Nicky Oppenheimer's family, the reserve was originally the vision of the late Stephen Boler, a Manchester entrepreneur who undertook one of the largest private conservation projects in Africa. In a period of four years, Boler established the 100 000 hectare reserve and introduced thousands of game animals including the rare desert black rhino, sable and roan antelope, Cape buffalo and cheetah. In April 1999, after Boler's death in October 1998, the Oppenheimers, a well-known mining family of South Africa, purchased Tswalu from his estate.

Although much has changed in the years since Nicky Oppenheimer's family acquired Tswalu, the overall goal has remained unchanged - "to restore the Kalahari to itself" and to make Tswalu one of the premier wildlife destinations in Africa as well as a premier South Africa game reserve. The area had previously been farmed with little regard for the environment, and as a result, the very essence of the authentic Africa it once was had been almost completely destroyed. However, thanks to the destruction of dams, removal of houses and fences and re-establishment of indigenous game such as cheetah and lion, it is now on the road to resembling the real Africa that nature intended.

Much is still to be done, but the Oppenheimers' commitment to excellence and the resolve to restore Tswalu's land and its wildlife remains unchanged. Tswalu is a South Africa game reserve that is a work in progress. The reserve extends the ethos of the Oppenheimer family's other major conservation initiatives at eZemvelo in Gauteng, and at Waltham Place in the UK.

Tswalu Private Clinic
Guests have the benefit of Tswalu's own private clinic situated on the premises. This clinic was opened in 1999 with two main aims: provide primary health care for everybody on the reserve and the surrounding area, and act as a vital educational role in the surrounding community. Staffed by a fully trained nursing sister, the clinic is open five days a week, with a 24-hour standby for emergencies. Any guests who may need emergency healthcare have access to the clinic and its facilities, including professional diagnosis and first-level care backed by an air ambulance service on call if required.

Getting There
Tswalu is accessible by plane and has a CAA licensed tar runway (1400 metres) able to accommodate corporate jets such as Gulf Stream, Falcon, BA146, etc. Shuttle flights from Johannesburg operate daily. Alternatively, for those who wish to drive and explore the outback en route, cars may be hired from all major cities in South Africa.

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