Tswalu Kalahari: About

Located in Kalahari, South Africa

In an increasingly busy world, many are seeking two elusive luxuries: silence and space. Indulge in an abundance of both at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in the southern region of South Africa’s Kalahari savanna. With a maximum of 30 guests at any given time, Tswalu feels like your own private and vast grassland paradise. But you are far from alone: on safaris and tracking expeditions, meet majestic black-maned lions, black and white rhinos, zebras, leopards, and a wealth of other rare and endangered species. You are on their turf now.

Though it is hard to believe today, Tswalu was not always teeming with life. Once a hunting reserve, the land became desolate from overuse and little care. In 1998, the reserve came into the hands of its current owner, Nicky Oppenheimer, who vowed “to restore the Kalahari to itself.” Today, Tswalu functions primarily as a conservation area, where the staff strives to restore the savanna to its pristine state.

Why We Love This Lodge

In the Tswana language, Tswalu means “new beginning,” and the game reserve aims to embody that ideal with its conservation and restoration efforts. Guests are invited to get to know the creatures of the Kalahari through wildlife safaris by 4x4, foot, or horseback.

With around 88 mammal and 240 bird species, it is impossible to pursue sightings of each one. For that reason, Tswalu guides place a heavy emphasis on customization, allowing guests to design their own journeys through the many habitats of the Kalahari.


  • Discover zebras, giraffes, black-maned lions, and more on a safari by car, foot, or horseback.
  • Contemplate the ancient engravings of the Kalahari’s San people, whose art may be among the oldest on Earth.
  • Watch the sun rise and set over the grasslands from your own private deck.
  • Take part in activities designed for families and kids, learning to track animals, trying out traditional archery, or taking bushwalks with guides.
  • Dig into a sumptuous five-course meal prepared by the Tswalu’s executive chef.

National Geographic Exclusive

Each of our lodges has created a special complimentary experience offered exclusively to guests who visit through a National Geographic Expedition. At Tswalu Kalahari, National Geographic guests have the chance to enjoy breakfast with the lodge’s wildlife manager, hearing his many tales of life in the bush and learning about the incredible creatures of the Southern Kalahari.

Lodge Features

  • 9 suites and a private homestead with 5 suites
  • Private vehicle and guide for every booking
  • Museum cases that display San artwork
  • Restaurant that serves up authentic South African flavors
  • Wine cellar
  • Spa treatments available from private deck or in outdoor spa
  • Gym with savanna view
  • Yoga classes available overlooking the waterhole
  • Wi-fi throughout the lodge

Spotlight on Sustainability

Since Tswalu’s raison d'être is focused on habitat restoration and wildlife conservation, sustainability is an integral component of every decision made at the lodge. A team of on-site experts carefully manages ecological systems such as vegetative growth and water resources to restore the Kalahari’s natural ecosystems to their former biodiversity. As part of their experience, guests have the opportunity to learn about the diverse habitats and wildlife of the Kalahari grasslands, including unique species such as the meerkat and the pangolin, while exploring with trackers and talking with the resident ecologists. This helps support the ongoing efforts at Tswalu to preserve the surrounding ecosystems for future generations.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Travel + Leisure World’s Best list, 2017
  • We Are Africa Conservation Award: Species Conservation and Genetic Diversity
  • The T&C Travel 100: Best Remote Hotels 2015
  • Andrew Harper Readers' Choice 2015: Top 20 Safari Lodges and Camps
  • World Luxury Hotel Awards Continent’s Best Luxury Beauty Spa, 2013
  • Travel + Leisure 50 Most Romantic Hotels, 2011
  • Les Nouvelles Esthétiques Best Safari Spa, 2011

Photos from Our Lodge and Travelers

Go with Nat Geo

  • Customize a Trip

    Want to plan the trip of your dreams? Create a custom trip around this lodge.