Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
The Kalahari, South Africa
At a Glance
Enjoy unrivaled exclusivity as one of only 30 guests on South Africa's largest private game reserve
Become immersed in one of Africa's greatest conservation successes and join dedicated researchers in the quest to continue the preservation of this magical land
Familiar species and the wonderfully weird can be seen at Tswalu, from meerkats to black maned lion to aardvark and pangolin
The experience is seemingly endless with the option for traditional private game drives, walking safaris, visits to habituated meerkats or ancient petroglyphs, horse riding, or a sleepout under the stars
Create your ideal stay with your private guide and vehicle included for each booking, ensuring complete flexibility to explore this vast ecosystem in a way that is most meaningful to you
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve offers a wonderful temperate climate which can be visited all year round. The best game viewing is from May to the end September
Summer (November to March) days can get quite warm (up to 28-32 degrees on average) but it is a dry heat. Summer rainfall, normally in the form of thunder storms are usually in the evening, however, the African climate is still always unpredictable. Autumn (April to May) days can still be warm but the evenings cool down. Average day time temperature 22-28 degrees. Evenings 10-15 degrees. Winter (June to August) days are warm (temperatures in the mid-twenties) evenings and early mornings very cold with average early morning temperatures 5-12 degrees. It very rarely rains at this time when the bush is golden and dry.
Spring (September, October) days start getting hotter, evenings and mornings could still be crisp but not as cold. A very slim chance of rain.
Call us on 020 3993 5269 to start planning your holiday to Tswalu Kalahari Reserve or take a look at our itineraries to South Africa
Lying on the edge of the Kalahari, Tswalu offers luxurious accommodation in two camps, The Motse and Tarkuni, which can accommodate up to 16 and 10 guests respectively. Both camps are a great option for families and children are well looked after.
Tswalu is an incredible bush retreat lying on the edge of the Kalahari Reserve, within the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa. Immaculately designed Legaes (Tswana for small house) provide every comfort and blend harmoniously into the surrounding wilderness.
A huge highlight of a visit to Tswalu are the meerkats. Two colonies can be visited; these meerkats, due to their regular exposure to human presence, are very relaxed when visitors are around. It's a wonderful sight to visit in the morning, watch the meerkats slowly wake and emerge from their burrows to bask in the sun and then begin foraging for grubs. Many guests find it hard to tear themselves away!
Game Drives are done in a traditional way. Every party has its own private vehicle with tracker and guide. The size of the reserve means that you would rarely see another party during the drive. Each drive is focussed on a certain species and the ranger will give you an insightful and exciting explanation of life in the Kalahari and how the animals have adapted to live there. They also have many unique species that are very rare in other parts of Africa. Due to the diverse surroundings Aardwolf, aardvark, wild dog and pangolin are just s some of many wonderful creatures that are spotted regularly at Tswalu.
The lodge itself is divided into two parts. The Motse comprises six individual suites, and three family suites which each sleep four. Each has a private sun deck providing the perfect place to enjoy spectacular views. A Jwa Bana (children’s room with child minder) and outdoor heated swimming pool are also available. There is also a mezzanine library equipped with satellite TV (the Motse also has full broadband WiFi access throughout) and museum cases display rare artefacts from the area.
Tarkuni sleeps up to 10 guests in five separate suites and is the ideal option for large groups or families. All the rooms are incredibly luxurious and the en-suite bathrooms feature gorgeous free standing tubs and both indoor and outdoor showers. The lodge boasts delightful living and dining areas, a library, pool, chef and its own private game viewing vehicle.
A personal consultation on arrival ensures the staff at both camps know exactly what you want to do during your stay. Game drives, visits to ancient archaeological sites and guided walks are all complimentary and other activities include taking to the skies in a hot air balloon, horse riding and archery.
The Motse comprises nine individual Legaes, three of which have been specially designed for families. Each has a private sun deck providing the perfect place to enjoy spectacular views. Tarkuni offers five luxurious double suites and sleeps up to 10 guests. All rooms at Tarkuni are beautifully designed and decorated with en-suite bathrooms featuring free standing tubs and both indoor and outdoor showers. The lodge is totally self-contained boasting delightful living and dining areas, a library, pool, chef and its own private game viewing vehicle.
There are 6 suites each has a large bedroom with open fire and an en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers. The rooms have a private sundeck overlooking the Kalahari.
There are two suites that have two bedrooms each with en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdooor showers. Each family suite has a private sundeck overlooking the Kalahari.
Children are very welcome at Tswalu. The lodge's Junior Ranger programme has been carefully designed to suit children of all ages. Activities include archery, spoor identification and casting, as well as tracking on foot. Children’s bush walks are hugely educational and every child is welcomed with a backpack full of guides and tools, as well as their own opportunity to chat with our hospitality staff about what they would like to do.
Facilities at the Motse include a mezzanine library equipped with satellite TV and WiFi access throughout the camp. Around the property are museum cases which display rare artefacts from the area; a curio shop, swimming pool and gym are also oh hand. The spa features indoor and outdoor treatment areas offering authentic signature massages by local therapists. Dining can be enjoyed at the lodge, in the privacy of your own viewing deck, on the dunes or in the open air boma. Tarkuni features two lounge areas with cosy fireplaces, a pool and boma.
Game drives, visits to ancient archaeological sites displaying rock carvings created by Bushmen up to 380,000 years ago, some of the oldest art on earth and guided walks are included in room rates whereas helicopter flips (which you need to book in advance), massage treatments, horse riding and archery are charged additionally.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Tswalu is one of the most breathtaking and incredible places I have ever visited – It is hard to get your head round the vastness of the 100,000 hectares that the property is on. The lodge has been decorated beautifully and all the rooms are very private with wonderful views out over the plains. What I loved about Tswalu is that there is something for everyone, from horse riding, a morning hanging out with the habituated family of meerkats, game drives and for those who are interested the conservation aspects the work that has gone into revitalising this once over grazed land. Also it was fascinating to see how the local communities have benefited from Tswalu from jobs working in the lodge, to the educational and heath scheme available in the staff village. It was lovely to see how my stay was helping to improve the lives of so many.
Activities at Tswalu
With only 10 private vehicles allowed in this 110,000 hectare Kalahari wilderness, Tswalu offers extraordinary privacy in which to explore the Africa Bush. From game drives, to walking safaris, horse riding to sleeping under the stars, there is plenty to do at Tswalu and it is all completely tailor made to you.
Game Drives & Bush Walks
The Madikwe Game Reserve is an incredible 'Big 5' wilderness area. Lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, white and black rhino, and the critically endangered Africa wild dog are just some of the amazing sightings you can enjoy in this 75 000 hectare reserve.
Game drives and bush walks at Tswalu
With no set routes or times, game drives at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve are relaxed and personalised, meaning each guest can plan their own safari adventure. Bush walks give guests the chance to get up close and personal with the flora and smallest fauna.
Helicopter ride over the Delta
The Okavango Delta is a vast patchwork of deep-water channels, shallow lagoons and date palm islands, fringed with the ubiquitous papyrus reeds. A doors-off scenic helicopter flight is an exhilarating way to take in these sights and a real treat, too!
Horseback safari at Tswalu
Saddle up and survey the Kalahari from a different perspective on a horseback safari at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. Walk through the plains and dunes, and experience safari just as the early explorers would have.
Junior Rangers at Tswalu
Join the Junior Ranger programme at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, and make your safari a memorable experience for the whole family. With an introduction to conservation and a wealth of fun activities, the programme is both interactive and educational.
The Malori is Tswalu’s sleep out platform. Set around five miles from the main lodge it’s a great option for anyone wishing to experience the nocturnal sounds of the bush at close quarters.
South African Birding
The Waterberg is home to an incredible diversity of bird species. Besides residents, migratory species move through during the rains and the escarpment cliffs are home to the world's largest breeding colony of the critically endangered Cape Vulture.
Ultimate South Africa
Kalahari Reserve, Cape Town & Winelands
from £7200 pp inc flights & transfers for 9 nights
- With direct flights, private transfers and fast track service, step away from your cares for a faultless journey across the best of South Africa.
- Set your own agenda at Tswalu, where every guest has an expert private guide and vehicle at their disposal. From watching the sun rise over the desert with meerkats to chasing wild dogs across the plains, you are in control.
- Witness the history of South Africa as you tour Ellerman House’s unrivalled art collection with their in-house specialist guide.
Location & directions
The Kalahari, South Africa
Tswalu is situated near the town of Kuruman in the Kalahari desert, in heart of the Northern Cape Province. The Kalahari desert extends through Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
How to get there
11-hour 30-minute international flight to OR Tambo International Airport.
Tswalu Kalahari offers daily scheduled flights (approximately 2 hours) from both Johannesburg and Cape Town. From the airstrip it is a further 5 minutes by road to the reserve.
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