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TSWALU KALAHARI

Your Own Private Africa

We all dream of the ‘Karen Blixen’ experience; wandering across deserted plains, not another soul to be seen save for your expert local guide, and nights spent under a blanket of stars, surrounded only by the sounds of nature.

At Rothschild Safaris, we are fortunate to have many partners who can provide this experience verbatim. The fly camps in Botswana, the tented camps of the Maasai Mara and exclusive lodges on the Serengeti. We can find these captivating moments, take you there and help you feel like the only person in the world, or at least, the only person on the grasslands.

Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

For most, however, this Hollywood reflection of an African safari will remain as elusive as much of the game they fail to find. The reality can often outweigh the dream, with lines of four-wheel drives trailing across the savannah, waiting their turn for their moment next to the fresh lion kill, the sleeping leopard or the solitary rhino. 

While many of our affiliates pride themselves on exclusivity and intimacy, few can guarantee absolute solitude. Despite the Serengeti’s vast 11,600 square miles (30,000km²) of expansive veldt, the likelihood of your never sighting another visitor is highly improbable, albeit occasional and fleeting.

So contemplate, if you will, the notion of an abundant, lush corner of Africa secreted away from the madding crowd – no traffic, no tourists, population: you.

Tswalu Private Game Reserve

Welcome to Tswalu Kalahari, a private reserve of ultimate exclusivity.

The name ‘Kalahari’ evokes images of arid stretches of scrub, lone elephant wandering across barren sands in search of hydration. The Green Kalahari however, in which Tswalu is inconspicuously nestled, is quite a different story.

The rich red desert floor remains, but higher rainfall brings lush grasslands and wooded hillsides in place of brittle scrub and undulating dunes. This, too, brings a greater abundance of wildlife, a diversity of fauna finding sanctuary in this wonderfully verdant southern pocket of the Kalahari.

Green Kalahari, South Africa
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

In 1998, the Oppenheimer family recognized the need for the protection of this enchanting region, establishing Tswalu and dedicating their lives to the preservation, conservation and rehabilitation of the Green Kalahari.

For many decades, this lush region fell victim to hunting, poaching and the ravages of agriculture and cattle farming. Reclaiming Tswalu from these plunderous ways, the Oppenheimer clan were devoted to a single goal: to leave the world better than how they found it. Through the Tswalu foundation, over the last 25 years they have reintroduced species, nurtured the landscapes, enriched and balanced the ecosystem and created one of Africa’s largest and most abundant privately-owned reserves.

African Ecotourism

Conservation and sustainability are at the heart of every aspect of Tswalu. This is reflected in your experience, with the reserve having the lowest tourist footprint of any park or reserve in South Africa. To you, this means absolute exclusivity in every moment of your stay. Each party receives a private guide, tracker and vehicle, at their disposal every day for a completely bespoke itinerary on each and every day. Rise with the sun to a personal bush breakfast; spend the morning tracking game, viewing the immense paw prints of black-maned lion in the dusty trails, undisturbed by the steady stream if vehicles in other parks and reserves; unwind with a private spa session upon your return to your luxurious lodge before enjoying your beverage of choice as you gaze across the bushland, bathed in the golden floods of the setting sun. Without anyone else to cater to, each day, each hour, every single moment is utterly at your discretion.

Safari Breakfast, Tswalu Kalahari
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

Tswalu’s history ranges far beyond its recent years as a private reserve. The San people have been harboring within the Green Kalahari from the drier northern desert climate for millennia, leaving whispers of their culture upon the rocks and within caves hidden amongst outcrops scattered across the reserve. For the avid historian, these petroglyphs tell tales of ancient people and the resident creatures they revered and sustained themselves upon.

The Photographer’s Safari

For amateur and professional photographers alike, Tswalu offers the perfect formula for capturing breathtakingly impeccable wildlife images. Your private guide is at your disposal, providing the expert wisdom to search out the animals you wish to see and, without clamoring crowds or other commitments, you are afforded as long as you wish to track, find, observe and photograph the myriad of nature on offer. Some 240 bird breeds – including endangered raptors – and 80 mammal species reside within the park, amongst them cheetah, leopard and black-maned lion, white rhino and giraffe, and elusive aardvark and pangolin. Concluding your day, Tswalu’s photography suite allows you to recharge, download, edit and even print the results of your day’s adventures.

Aardvark, Kalahari Desert
Walking with Aardvark. Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

This wonderful spectrum of wildlife in this private game reserve is especially beneficial for younger members of your party. Children will be introduced to the resident meerkat colony and will marvel at the towering giraffe and powerful big cats, given time to observe and truly appreciate their majesty.

A Safari of the Senses

Tswalu private reserve draws on South Africa’s rich culinary heritage, combining local and regional ingredients in an explosion of flavor inspired by both national and international cuisine.

Exquisitely handcrafted to your desires and requirements, each meal is carefully planned to infuse your safari experience with a sensory union, the flavors evoking the sights and smells of your day’s activities.

Tswalu presents two impeccably crafted venues for your stay, accumulatively allowing an absolute maximum of 28 guests to enjoy this exclusive private reserve at any one time. Each of these has a private kitchen and talented chef to cater to your needs. For truly decadent dining and award-winning cuisine, there is Klein JAN.

Klein JAN, Tswalu Private Reserve
Photo: Hanru Marais, courtesy of Tswalu Private Reserve

Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen enhanced his culinary talents and reputation at his eponymous restaurant in Milan, Italy. His creations accorded him not only with a lauded reputation as a foremost contemporary chef but also the only Michelin star to be held by a South African. His astute control of flavor, aroma and balance draws upon the local landscape and a history of cuisine, brought together in a fusion of culinary mastery.

Though non-residents may enjoy lunch at Klein JAN, dinners – like so much at Tswalu – remain exclusively the opportunity of residents and chef Jan, your personal creator.

Your African Home

Throughout Tswalu’s expansive private reserve, only two residences stand: The Motse and Tarkuni.

Tarkuni: A private homestead inspired by the thatch-roofed huts indicative of the region, Tarkuni accommodates up to ten guests, impeccably styled and wonderfully appointed for a larger, multi-generational family group.

Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Tarkuni Valley, Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

Five private suites surround a central communal area, allowing guests to unite or retreat as they desire. Nestled into the eaves of the towering grass roof, an intimate spa provides luxurious pampering, while outdoor areas and a refreshing plunge pool allow a sense of nature gently and unobtrusively entwining with your accommodation.

The Motse: The Motse legae (the regional term for ‘dwellings’) comprise private couples suites and larger family suites, collectively able to accommodate up to 24 guests. Each suite is self-sufficient, your own private villa, with ensuite, study area and private balcony reaching out into the private reserve. Communal areas incorporate two swimming pools, large open verandah and alfresco dining, and a firepit around which one may share tales of the day’s events with fellow guests as the sun sets and the nocturnal inhabitants call out across the bush.

Motse, Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Motse, Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Motse, Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

Particularly in these socially-distanced times, the advantages of a private reserve are numerous. Every aspect of your vacation is crafted specifically for you, allowing you to do as much or as little as you wish. Pure escapism is provided through the opportunity to style your daily itinerary as you wish. You need never be beholden to a schedule or time table and can allow your vacation to unfold of its own accord.

The family-owned Tswalu private reserve feels precisely that: a family residence at which you will unconsciously sink into a state of calm, peace and belonging.

The national parks of Africa are expansive, their camps isolated, their luxury unwavering and their offerings extensive. Many of Africa’s most iconic, desirable and impeccable camps and lodges are within public regions, rarely that you would know it given their secluded locations.

To be assured of absolute exclusivity, of intimate privacy and of an acutely personal experience throughout your African vacation, a private reserve is simply the only choice, and few can outshine the exquisite Tswalu Private Game Reserve.

Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Giraffe South Africa
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Pangolin Kalahari Desert
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Meerkat, South Africa Kalahari
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Black Rhino, Kalahari Desert
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve
Tswalu Private Reserve
Image: Tswalu Private Reserve

Whether you are searching for an intimate two-week safari or a weekend of luxury immersed in nature, Tswalu Private Reserve is the ultimate destination. Talk to your Travel Designer today about incorporating Tswalu into your larger itinerary or reserving a larger vacation at one of Africa’s finest venues.

TSWALU KALAHARI | Information


001 Calendar 01Tswalu is magical throughout the year, though equally as changeable. South of the equator, Tswalu’s seasons are reversed, and our summers are the cooler winter months of the Kalahari. Rainfall is sporadic, even at the peak of wet season – Nov-Mar. The winter months of June, July and August can fall below freezing overnight, so warm clothes are vital, with daytime temperatures remaining below 68ºF (20ºC). With summer temperatures rising to 95ºF (35ºC), December and January may be somewhat uncomfortable for some, so would be advisably avoided.

004 Group 01Catered uniquely to each booking, Tswalu accommodates the widest variety of guest.

Photographers will relish the opportunity to have a more personal safari experience, families will be catered to across a wide age range, couples will find romantic escape and senior travelers will be able to enjoy a vacation at their own pace, not foregoing experience to the more agile and adventurous traveler.

003 Hot Air Balloon 01Absolute privacy and exclusivity is Tswalu’s greatest appeal and you will find few destinations more personalized or attentive. The Green Kalahari differs somewhat from the conventional image of safari, with the deep ochre sands providing a unique canvas upon which flora and fauna flourish. Your personal guide and tracker will navigate the reserve and uncover its messages to bring you to the region’s myriad wildlife, including big cats, giraffe, aardvark and aardwolf, pangolin, meerkat, wild dogs, hyena, rhino and a collection of antelope. Explore Tswalu in the expert hands of your guide, on foot, by vehicle or even on horseback.

002 Resort 01

Accommodation options are twofold: For larger parties of several generations or families, Tarkuni Homestead provides space and multiple rooms, balancing privacy with communal interaction.

For couples or smaller families, The Motse offers nine legae, spacious private suites within a communal compound. Each suite is carefully positioned to achieve a heightened level of privacy, with guest interaction optional and predominantly limited to meal times.

 

001 Location 01Van Zylsrus, Green Kalahari – northern South Africa

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Images via Rothschild Safaris