Perfectly designed to merge into the native bush lies a bush retreat unlike any other.
Nestled into a little nook of the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa, the beautifully designed Legaes (small houses) and sumptuous homestead provide every comfort while the vast wilderness of the Kalahari Reserve sits right on the doorstep. With only 30 guests at any one time, luxury, time and space are the order of the day within your own grassland safari paradise – although the inquisitive neighbouring meercats might have something to say about that.
Facilities & Activities
The camp gives a unique and rare glimpse of the wild expanse of these lands. Sweeping savannah, sand dunes and mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to the safari expeditions – and only 6 vehicles with exclusive access to the whole reserve means time can be taken soaking it all in – the day is yours. The extensive award-winning conservation work of the owners has turned what was once a vast empty expanse into an area of extraordinary variety. It is a haven for the endangered wildlife found here, such as black rhino, black maned lions, cheetah and rare varieties of antelope, not forgetting their smaller (and equally important) neighbours; the aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin and porcupine. There are also two meercat colonies nearby; so bewitching you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away. Your own personal field guide and butler will tailor make your day, and design an itinerary entirely to suit you.
There are also bush walks and horse back safaris (for any level of rider), led by very competent and informative guides. They provide incredible opportunities to see these great beasts within their natural habitat and leave with a deep appreciation of the diverse ecosystem in which they live. Marvel at the ancient rock art, considered to be some of the oldest on earth and for a touch of luxury, order a gourmet picnic along with an ice cold sundowner, to be savoured right out in the bush under the African-pink skies.
Once back at the camp, the shaded pool and salas provide a welcome and refreshing haven and offer panoramic views across the mountain ranges. The award winning spa is found in a unique outdoor garden with a birdseye view of the open grasslands. Enjoy the local therapies while listening to the birdsong and the gentle munching of antelope on the hillside nearby.
Lose yourself in a peaceful read at the mezzanine library, pick up a lovely keepsake at the curio shop, wonder at the rare artefacts displayed in cases throughout or simply sit and enjoy the quiet in front of the open fireplaces (glass of champagne, optional).
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The in-house chef is dedicated to creating a variety of mouth-watering dishes that are cooked from scratch using locally sourced, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Famous for the tender venison and truffle dishes, her merry band of staff are from the local community and serve up a feast to be enjoyed in the traditional ‘boma’ braai to be washed down with delectable award winning vintage wines or privately on your own deck in the sunset.
There are canape evenings and breakfasts and brunches can be ordered to be enjoyed in the bush. Or just eat as you please from the all day menu.
The lodge is divided into two distinct parts. The Motse (village) is made up of nine beautifully decorated legaes with traditional Kahahari thatch and are found at the foot of the mountain. Each have spacious bedrooms, open fireplaces, en suite bathrooms, large dressing rooms a private sundeck and stunning vistas over looking the waterhole.
Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer family house and offers a home from home in the vast wilderness. Its five opulent suites are the ultimate in comfort and luxury and can sleep up to 10 guests. You’ll have your own private team of staff including a host, chef, field guide, tracker and exclusive safari vehicle, along with a shady pool, sala and traditional flame-lit boma.
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The lodge is very family friendly and children are welcomed with open arms. Inspiring children with a lifelong love of nature and Africa is part of the conservation ethos here. There is a junior ranger programme which can be tailored to suit children of all ages. They’ll receive their own back pack stuffed full of guides and tools, take part in educational bush walks and learn archery, spoor identification, casting and learn how to track on foot. And most importantly (and unusually) of all, children are allowed to accompany adults on the big safari outings.
Back the camp, they’ll love playing in and around the little houses and the heated pools are found in the centre, along with a ‘Jwa Bana’ – children’s room with child minder. The spacious Motse Suites are designed specifically with families in mind and the children’s menu can be tailored to any individual likes or dislikes. They’ll love cooking their own bush dinner in the special children-only ‘boma’. And free babysitting is on hand at any time for day or night.
Since 1998 the owners have been gradually returning the Kalahari, damaged by hunting and cattle farming, to its natural state, by removing structures and fences, reintroducing and protecting biological diversity and maintaining the Kalahari’s ecological processes. The reserve has the lowest guest footprint in South Africa, and revenue from The Motse camp and Tarkuni homestead flows directly back into conservation. Tswalu also provide a completely free healthcare centre for the local community, a pre-primary school for children who live on the property, and Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programmes to empower staff through improving literacy and formally recognising their skills and knowledge. A number of horticulture projects supply fresh produce to several kitchens on the reserve. They have a purchasing policy of ordering goods within a relatively tight local radius, always seeking out and supporting artisanal suppliers and small-scale producers.
Found in the heart of the Northern Cape Province, near the town of Kuruman (famous for the start of Dr Livingstone’s journey into Africa), in the vast Kalahari Desert. The reserve is serviced by daily scheduled flights directly from Johannesburg and Cape Town which take around 2 hours to the private airstrip. It’s then just a 5 minute drive by road to the reserve, through lands that make up one of the last great wildernesses in South Africa.
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