Tswalu Kalahari Reserve South Africa
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Farm Korannaberg 296
Van Zylsrus, 8467
Privately owned by the Oppenheimer Family
Date of Creation
Hotel General Manager
Gus Van Dyk (Gm & Director of Conservation) holds personal responsibility for the care of Tswalu’s 114,000 hectares. Gus studied Nature Conservation in Pretoria, and started his career at the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute. Gus was previously Head of Carnivore Management at Pilanesberg Reserve and was key in the reintroduction of various wild carnivores. He was acknowledged as leader of carnivore re-introduction, in particular, lion reintroduction.
5-star Luxury Lodge ; National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World ; Frosch Villas
The ambition is to restore the Kalahari to its raw beauty which aligns with our commitment to create an inspirational experience for our guests as each visitor contributes directly to the sustainability of the reserve in a true model of eco-tourism.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
History & Story
The original reserve was created as a hunting property by Stephen Boler, a British businessman, who bought up 35 farms, totalling some 88,000 hectares. Stephen and Nicky Oppenheimer met only once but instantly recognised each other’s love and respect for the southern Kalahari. When Stephen tragically died, his will specified that Tswalu was to be offered first to Nicky. The family took ownership in 1998. Hunting stopped overnight and the land given back to itself. Breeding programmes for rare and endangered species, such as roan and sable antelope, were developed. Academic researchers were invited in. Further neighbouring farms have been gradually acquired and transformed, adding more habitats, more of the spectacular Korannaberg mountains, more diversity. Countless buildings have been demolished and removed. And everywhere, the grasses have returned In 2014 Tswalu Kalahari was declared a Nature Reserve and given formal protection, acknowledging its importance to South Africa
Motse will be closed for revovation from 16 January until 31 May 2019. The focus will be on creating intimate spaces where guests will be able to enjoy their own private Kalahari.
Tarkuni was renovated in 2014 which raised the level of exclusivity and privacy, in line with the Tswalu Kalahari reputation for an exceptional safari experience.
Date added extensions
Nothing planned as yet
Main Strengths, Special Touch
Unique safari experience. Game viewing of indigenous species. Privacy and flexibility – each booking receives their own private vehicle, guide & tracker. No set meal times, offering flexible menus and a variety of venues for mealtimes.
The southern Kalahari, due to it’s location and climatic conditions, receives somewhat more rain than the central Kalahari. It is for this reason that the southern Kalahari is frequently referred to as the “Green Kalahari”. Within the reaches of Tswalu lie the Korranaberg Mountains, a quartzite formation attached to the Olifantshoek Supergroup. The mountains form a huge basin which acts as a natural catchment area and provides a healthy water table, enabling the reserve to support a large diversity of life.
Key sites/activities in the area
Game viewing on 4×4 vehicles ; walking safaris, horse-riding, spa, gym, archeological etchings circa 160 000 years ago ; habituated meerkat colonies ; helicopter flips offering mountain picnics ; wine tastings ; interacion with reseachers and wildlife project work.
• The name Kalahari is derived from the Tswana word “Kgala”, meaning the great thirst, or “Kgalagadi”, meaning the waterless place.
• The word « Tswalu » means “a new beginning » and Tswalu Kalahari is driven by two ambitions; to create an inspirational experience for its guests, and a conservation vision – to restore the Kalahari to itself.
• Meerkats are immune to the venom of sorpions and snakes, and living in such arid regions get all the water they need from the food they eat.
Part of our mission is to involve the whole family in our conservation vision, and Tswalu Kalahari is an extraordinary place for children.
• Tswalu is malaria-free area
• Child-friendly swimming pools at both camps
• Child friendly accommodation options
• Children’s menu, and any individual meal preferences are catered for
• Flexible dining times and venues for families
• Complimentary babysitting
• Junior Ranger programme includes :
- Archery and making bows and arrows
- Spoor identification and casting
- Children’s bush walks
- Tracking wildlife on foot and with technology
• Number of suites: 9 Suites at Motse and 5 at Tarkuni Private Homestead
• Number of rooms, (keys) in all: 14
Restaurants & Bars
Tswalu’s Executive Chef Alewyn Malan is dedicated to creating exceptional and unique dining experiences for guests with a variety of exciting menus to enjoy at different venues on the reserve. As an experienced fine-dining specialist, Alewyn uses global food influences and the best available seasonal ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible, to create his constantly changing and evolving menus.
The Green Kalahari area provides food you will never see anywhere else in the world, including some of the most exceptional venison available and the seasonal Kalahari truffle.
Alewyn heads up a highly passionate and committed kitchen brigade, who have been employed from the local community.
Sundowners are followed by spectacular sunsets and dune dinners. Tswalu’s Kalahari Feast is a modern reworking of the traditional “boma” braai. Breakfasts may be served with panoramic views of the waterhole where our southern pride of black-maned lions could also start their day. At any time, you can choose a romantic dinner in the privacy of your own deck, with a vintage wine and a telescope to gaze at the stars of the Kalahari night sky
Alewyn’s exceptional meals are complimented by an award-winning winelist which features some of the best available South African wines. The winelist recently received a Platinum award from the Diners Club Winelist Awards.
• Our award-winning spa offers a welcome lounge, two beautiful therapysuites with adjacent sensation showers, and a private garden.
• Our gym is a short walk away from the spa at the Motse – a spot which maximises views of game and wilderness through its expansive glass front.
• Two swimming pool at Motse (one is heated) ; one swimming pool at Tarkuni
Corporate & Celebration Events
• Tswalu can accommodate a maximum of 30 guests between the two lodges, and is therefore ideal for small meetings, incentives and celebrations
Extra Notable Features
• Game drives in open-sided canopied safari vehicles
• Bush walks -the chance to get closer to the land
• Encounters with meerkat colonies
• Horseback safaris for all ages
• Helicoper Experience on a private Agusta 119 (6 seats)
• Malori Sleep Out Deck
• Star-gazing under the Kalahari’s “diamond skies”
• Exploring extraordinary archaeological San rock art dated back 380,000 years
• Tswalu Kalahari Spa
Hotel and restaurant Awards
• 2016 & 2017: We Are Africa Innovation Awards – Conserve Africa award
• 2016: Nominated for the Virtuoso Best of the Best Award – Sustainable Tourism Leadership
• 2016: 2015, 2014, 2013 & 2012: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
2015 – 2014:
• 2014: Diners Winelist Platinum award
• 2015: Town&Country – The T&C Travel 100: The Best Hotels in the World
• 2015: Andrew Harper – Readers’ Choice 2015: Top 20 Safari Lodges and Camps
• 2015: Safari Awards – Best Ecologically Responsible Safari Property: Best Location
• 2014 & 2011: Les Nouvelles Esthétiques Spa Awards – Best Safari Spa Award
Number of employees