Kalahari Desert, South Africa
The quiet and the space: it sounds simple, but Tswalu takes our breath away every time. Vast vistas of rolling red sand; the brilliantly white expanse of the salt pans; scattered acacia trees; animals ranging from adorable meerkats to rare wild dogs—all these and more characterize this wide-open land. We breathe deeper under these big skies, and may even envy the simple lifestyle of the native Bushmen, who have been hunting and gathering here for 20,000 years.
The legendary Kalahari… its mystery is contained in the silence the desert, and the vastness of the landscape. From shifting dunes of brilliant red sand to green fields of gently swaying grasses and babbling brooks, this magical place is one contradiction after another. Thus it’s natural that this would also be home to rare and captivating wildlife, such as the fantastic Kalahari black-maned lions, the endangered Desert Black rhinos, the rare King cheetah, and the adorable and mesmerizing meerkats.
Motse means “village” in the local Tswana dialect, and this particular village consists of eight spacious cottages, which are distinctively in keeping with the surrounding African wilderness, while also remaining stylish and quite elegant. Overlooking a watering hole where animals gather in the whispering grasslands of the Kalahari, each stone-walled, thatch-roofed cottage contains a spacious bedroom, en-suite bathroom, outdoor showers on the private verandah, and a lounge with an open fireplace for chilly desert nights.
Tarkuni is the family home of Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer, the owners of Tswalu and passionate custodians of this extraordinary land. Ever the consummate hosts, the Oppenheimers have redesigned this palatial house to the highest standards and opened it up to special guests. Five gorgeous suites, each with their own en-suite bathroom, ensure uncompromising comfort for a family or a group of friends. Not to mention the personal five-star chef and host, or the private pool surrounded by shady gardens and sunny verandas.
- En-suite bathrooms (indoor and outdoor showers)
- 24-hour electricity
- Hair dryer
- Private veranda
- Laundry services
- Mini bar and fridge
- In-room safe deposit box
- Satellite television
- Full spa and gym
- Large heated pool
- Foundation Gift Shop
- Personal butler service
A note for families & children
Tswalu is happy to host children of all ages. Baby-sitting services and a Junior Ranger Programme are also available.
Venture out into the Kalahari with astoundingly skilled trackers, on the heels of some of the world’s most unique animals. Come across whole prides of black-maned lions, hunting the sable and roan antelopes that call this region home. Perhaps you’ll even surprise an elusive aardvark or pangolin. Venture out just for the morning, or make a day of it with an elaborate four-course luncheon taken in the midst of the surreal landscape. The truly adventurous may even turn their exploration of the bush into a two-day journey by camping out, sipping cocktails, feasting on a sumptuous dinner, and sleeping beneath the stars just like explorers of yore.
You may also decide to explore the desert via horseback, the horses’ hooves making the only sound in the arid desert air. Or climb amongst the hills and dells and discover 380,000 year-old rock art from ancient civilizations, some of the oldest on earth. Or roar off on quad bikes to visit the habituated meerkats, who are absolutely fascinating to watch interact.
Alternatively, you may simply wish to relax in the exquisite comfort of your desert home: napping, swimming or reading. Foodies will especially enjoy journeying to the extensive wine cellar with the master sommelier, and conferencing with the chef about an exclusive multi-course meal on the private veranda.