Tswalu Kalahari Exceeds Expectations

October 24, 2018  By: Diana

Journey Specialist Diana recently spent three weeks exploring South Africa and Mozambique. During her travels, she visited Tswalu Kalahari in South Africa. Named one of our 10 Safari Camps to Visit Before You Die, Tswalu provides a luxurious, private safari experience. Just 10 private vehicles are allowed to explore over 270,000 acres at any given time. She shares her experience with us below.

meerkats at Tswalu Kalahari

While preparing to visit Tswalu Kalahari, I was expecting to see sparse and desolate desert-like topography, to feel hot air against my cheeks on game drives, to experience excellent game viewing, and to get the opportunity to see meerkats and pangolin for the first time…all while staying in the lap of luxury. I’m happy to report I got most of that and much more!

wild dog

I arrived at Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve’s private airstrip, greeted by a sweet-scented cold towel to clean my face of the desert sand and a cold drink – the perfect intro to such a diverse landscape! Off we went on our first game drive in the reserve. I soon came to realize truly how big Tswalu is – almost a quarter of a million acres is hard to imagine until you see it before your eyes! My guide Chris and tracker Jacob soon found giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, eland, red hartebeest, buffalo, and tsessebe within an hour of driving through the Reserve. This place had already lived up to its reputation and I had just arrived!

Tarkuni firepit

I stayed at Tarkuni, a private villa, with a group of seven others. This home is truly a world apart, sold on a private exclusive-use basis. You have a dedicated chef, private pool, private game drives, outdoor walk-in showers, two lounges with fireplace, a library, and more! I was floored by my first snack (not even a full meal) – an exquisite array of finger foods with vibrant colors and tastes and there were options for all tastes. Rosy and Agnes seriously know food and we were spoilt with their cooking the entire time we were there.

cheetah

The next two days our guide and tracker found a pack of wild dogs for our viewing pleasure, and one afternoon we enjoyed time with a group of habituated meerkats. They are lovely creatures who travel in packs and oddly their sound is very similar to that of a tiny dog bark. I was in awe when we came across a pair of black-maned lions, brothers who have been dominating the area for the past 8 or so years. We continued to a pair of cheetahs lounging about in the afternoon sun, red sand beneath them and blue skies. Because Tswalu Kalari is situated in a private reserve, we were able to also do night game drives. We were lucky to see bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, honey badger, and other animals while out at night.

lions

Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve is a unique safari destination and I highly recommend it if you are traveling to South Africa. It offers amazing game viewing both day and night, is malaria free, has delicious food, and you are led by fantastic guides – all in a huge 271,815-acre private game reserve. They also have a dedicated team of conservationists and an anti-poaching team. If you are interested in a specific species, contact a Journey Specialist so we can arrange to have one of their specialists go out on a game drive with you and teach you all you need to know about that rare animal!

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