Situated in South Africa's Northern Cape, lies one of the most unspoilt pieces of land and the largest private game reserve in Africa, Tswalu Kalahari
In Setswana, Tswalu means a ‘new beginning’ and the aim is to deliver exactly that: a fresh era of hope for the people and wildlife of one of South Africa’s last great wilderness areas. Tswalu represents an opportunity to explore not just a landscape, but a new model of conservation.
Tswalu is a labour of love for the Oppenheimer family, who took responsibility for this remarkable reserve in 1998 – continuing the vision of the late Stephen Boler, from Manchester in the United Kingdom, whose dream it was to return this land which had been farmed, to its former state. Since then, their commitment to conservation has seen indigenous species re-introduced, and real strides made towards the restoration of the Kalahari, and the undoing of years of neglect.
Tswalu is all about exclusivity, and it is hard to imagine a better destination to explore and experience with the luxury of your own personal Guide and tracker, both of which play a vital role in the overall Tswalu experience. The fact that the entire Tswalu Reserve is not shared with anyone else, means that you can enjoy the breathtaking surroundings and incredible game viewing, without any limits on time spent in sightings or feeling overcrowded.
One of the main contributors for the love that I share with Tswalu is the opportunity of viewing and photographing some of the most rare and endangered species, most of which are impossible to find anywhere else. During the winter months (May-August) sightings of Aardvark and Pangolin are found on a regular basis, something which in itself takes some getting used to.
Sit back and think about it for a second... Where else can you go out on game looking for Aardvark and Pangolin??
Tswalu also plays home to an incredible diversity of species, most of which are iconic to the Kalahari region. These species include antelope such as Gemsbok and Springbok, and is also one of the best areas to view free roaming Cheetahs who have done incredibly well in this habitat.
Tswalu also offers amazing viewing of resident Meerkats and have two colonies who have become habituated and accept the presence of humans. Meerkats are definitely one of the highlights during a stay at Tswalu with their gregarious nature and amusing antics (think early morning sunbathing and playing chicken with scorpions) ensuring endless entertainment.
When one considers all these factors, it is not hard to understand why Tswalu has become one of the most sought after destinations, and with the continued commitment and conservation efforts put in place by Tswalu, the future of this dream destination appear to very bright indeed.
I certainly cannot wait to return to this incredible property in the not too distant future!