Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Located in the Northern Cape, just south of the Botswanan border, Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private reserve. This malaria-free wilderness is home to just two magnificent lodges, The Motse and Tarkuni, plus a staggering diversity of wildlife. Endless horizons, unique desert vegetation and the chance to see rare species including Hartmann’s mountain zebra, wild dog, black maned lion, pangolin and aardvark.

Formerly a hunting concession, Tswalu Private Reserve is now the dream-come-true of Nicky Oppenheimer, the former chairman of De Beers and a passionate conservationist. The two stunning lodges reflect the unique surroundings, with earthen colours and organic curves.

The main lodge Tswalu The Motse features nine suites built of local stone, rich red clay and traditional Kalahari thatch. The interiors are simply divine; architecturally clean, understated yet supremely comfortable. Each suite features a spacious bedroom with an open fireplace, as well as a large dressing and study area, while the three family suites each have two en suite bedrooms. Sumptuous bathrooms boast both indoor and outdoor showers and private sun decks boast spectacular views over a busy waterhole.  In the central guest area, you’ll find a heated infinity pool with endless views over the open savannahs and a secluded spa, while a walk-in wine cellar provides an outstanding collection of vintage wines that accompany the mouth-watering meals.

Situated in a desert valley of its own, Tswalu Tarkuni Homestead, once the Oppenheimer family home,  is booked on an exclusive use basis. There are five wonderful suites, which are large, open-plan and possess fantastic views across the Kalahari. En-suite bathrooms feature gorgeous free standing tubs and both indoor and outdoor showers.  Delightful living and dining areas, a library, pool and private chef complete the experience.

There are a host of activities available at Tswalu. There is no fixed schedule and each party enjoys their own private vehicle and guide to explore this remarkable wilderness at their own pace. As well as those rarely seen species that Tswalu is known for, it is also 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.  Bush walks, helicopter excursions, sleep-outs and horse-riding are all on offer as well as the unique opportunity to visit two colonies of habituated merekats in the wild.  For wildlife aficionados, families and first timers, Tswalu is truly something special.