The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering an area of over 100,000 hectares. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, Tswalu takes conservation as its absolute priority; our vision is simply ‘to restore the Kalahari to itself’. No more than thirty guests at a time can discover the beauty of this landscape, its diverse wildlife, and the serenity of what may well be South Africa’s last great wilderness.
The name Kalahari is derived from the Tswana work “Kgala”, meaning the great thirst, or “Kgalagadi”, meaning the waterless place. It has been inhabited by the Bushman for 20 000 years as hunter-gatherers, who lived in a harmonious relationship with the environment until the influx of African and European man. However, due to its harsh environment, modern day man found its unfavourable conditions unsuitable to develop. Even with the introduction of borehole water, farming of livestock was a difficult pursuit. It is for this reason that man has had almost no impact on the land, and the Kalahari has remained a true wilderness area.
The southern Kalahari, due to its location and local climatic conditions, receives somewhat more rain than the central Kalahari, allowing it to support a large diversity of life. It is for this reason that the southern Kalahari is frequently referred to as the “Green Kalahari” – this is the home of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve.
Within its boundaries, Tswalu uniquely combines the classic rolling Kalahari dunes with the Korannaberg, the southern Kalahari’s only range of mountains. These massive hills provide a sheltering influence which increases the biodiversity of the area enormously as well as creating a stunning visual backdrop.
Over 80 species of mammals can be found on the reserve, together with approximately 240 species of birds. Insect life seems boundless; as an example, there are more species of butterfly to be found here than in the entire British Isles.
The Motse, lies 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 nine spacious and secluded “legae” (Tswana for “little house”).
Indoor & outdoor showers
Private sundeck overlooking a waterhole
Separate dressing area
Broadband Wi-Fi Access
Direct dial telephone
Outdoor heated swimming pool
Sanctuary Spa & Gym
Walk-in wine cellar stocked with fine South African wines
Mezzanine library with satellite TV
Settled between two mountain ranges, Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer family’s own personal home here at Tswalu and offers a complete oasis of serenity.
Tranquil poolside deck
Private game viewing vehicle
Outdoor walk-in showers
Two lounges with open fireplaces
Outdoor swimming pool
The Malori. Listen to the thrilling calls of the Kalahari. This night, the desert is yours alone.
The sleep-out deck, Malori (meaning ‘dreamer’ in Tswana), offers guests the unparalleled experience of sleeping safely in the wilderness, under the fabled “diamond skies.”
From a distance, Malori looks like another sociable weaver’s nest on the horizon. Come closer, and you can see a raised platform and a thatched overhang with weather-proof blinds to protect you.
Choose to sleep under the thatch or simply roll the bed onto the open deck with thousands of stars above you.
With a maximum of 10 private vehicles in over 110,000 hectares, Tswalu offers extraordinary privacy in which to explore a vast, pristine wilderness.
Game drives at Tswalu will be completely tailored to your particular interests. There are no set routes or times here – guests determine their own adventure from the outset.
As well as discovering many rare and endangered species, we believe everyone leaves with a deep appreciation of the beauty of this entire eco-system.
Guided bush walks are wonderful at Tswalu. We want people to get even closer to the land – to touch the unique vegetation, learn about each plant’s extraordinary properties, inspect nests and burrows, and examine the smallest insect.
A morning might begin by walking up to a meerkat colony as they first emerge to warm themselves in the sunshine before scampering off to forage. And at the end of the day, as the sun sets, so the sounds and sights of the desert change; night walks give you the chance of exceptional sightings such as aardvark, aardwolf, porcupine or brown hyena.
On horseback, the vastness of the Kalahari strikes you even more deeply and many of the animals react differently to your presence.
Gently walk the grassy plains and rolling dunes against the pink and mauve backdrop of the Korannaberg mountains in the late afternoon sun, and enjoy the views of the arid savannah whilst becoming part of the landscape.
Shamwari Game Reserve | Tswalu Kalahari Reserve