Tswalu Motse / The Motse Private Game Reserve
"A vast and magical land"
Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering an area of over 100,000 hectares. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, Tswalu takes conservation as its absolute priority; the vision is simply ‘to restore the Kalahari to itself’. No more than thirty guests at a time can discover the beauty of this landscape, its diverse wildlife, and the serenity of what may well be South Africa’s last great wilderness.
The Motse - An Island of Calm
The main lodge, the Motse, nestles at the foot of the Korannaberg mountains, facing westwards across the grasslands of the Kalahari. Motse means “village” in Tswana and our village consists of just eight spacious and secluded “legae” (another Tswana word, for “little house”) or suites. These legaes are built of local stone, rich red clay and traditional Kalahari thatch. Recently redesigned by world-renowned Boyd Ferguson, our suites define an elegant, barefoot luxury. Writing in Conde Nast Traveller, Justin Cartwright describes their charm;
“A style has evolved in southern Africa of safari chic, which involves a fusion of African artefacts and art with very contemporary furniture. Nowhere I have seen does it as well as Tswalu.”
- Conde Nast Traveller, December 2009
Each suite comprises a spacious bedroom with an open fire, a sumptuous en-suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor shower, and a large dressing and study area. Your private sun deck overlooks a waterhole and the changing game it attracts. Two legae have been designed especially for families. Each offers two separate bedroom suites with their own en-suite bathrooms, separated by an expansive living room again leading on to a shady, private terrace.These legae are each over 170 square metres in size and create the perfect environment for any family group.
The Motse accommodates no more than 20 guests at any one time. The main house is a spectacular space in which to meet, with its elevated decks and elegant lounges. An infinity pool offers an endless view over the savannahs and a secluded spa is designed to complete your total relaxation. The mezzanine library is equipped with satellite tv (the Motse also has full broadband Wi-Fi access throughout) and its museum cases display rare artefacts from the area. All profits from our exclusive Foundation Gift Shop go directly to fund important new research on the reserve.
The Kalahari is the ancestral home of the San people (Bushman). Some of their ancient engravings can be seen at Tswalu; current research suggests these may be amongst the oldest art on Earth. At maximum capacity Tswalu will take only 30 guests in total. This represents the lowest imaginable density of visitors. The emphasis here is on privacy and exclusivity – your own private Kalahari.
Tswalu is located in a malaria-free area, welcomes families and actively encourages children to participate fully in the safari experience.Because of its unique landscape, wildlife and experience, Tswalu combines perfectly into any itinerary and provides the ideal partnership with both the intensity of the Lowveld or the glamour of Cape Town.
Dining at Tswalu
The Chef has a style which defines modern South African cuisine. Tswalu is proud to be a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux and to meet its exacting standards. But here you will enjoy food you will never see anywhere else in the world. With an emphasis on the qualities of individual ingredients, the chef creates new interpretations of classic South African dishes such as charkalaka or koeksisters.
Elsewhere inspiration comes directly from the Kalahari and treasures such as the rare Kalahari truffle.
As the menus change, so do the venues. Sundowners are followed by dune dinners and spectacular sunsets. Tswalu’s Kalahari Feast is a modern reworking of the traditional “boma” braai. Breakfasts may take place with panoramic views of the waterhole where our Southern Pride of black-maned lions may also start their day.
At any time, you may choose a romantic supper in the privacy of your own deck, with a vintage wine and a telescope to gaze at a thousand stars. The service aims to be gentle yet meticulous. As Justin Cartwright wrote in Conde Nast Traveller, “this unobtrusive professionalism is the special quality of Tswalu.”
6 standard legaes/suites
2 family legaes, each accommodating four people
Indoor & outdoor showers
Private sun deck overlooking a waterhole
Separate dressing area
Broadband Wi-Fi Access
Direct dial telephone
Outdoor heated swimming pool
Sanctuary Spa & Gym
Walk-in wine cellar stocked with South African wines
Mezzanine library with satellite TV, literature & artefacts
Tswalu Foundation Gift Shop
Prices & Service
Luxury full board accommodation
Two daily game drives in open safari vehicles
Walking safaris led by experienced Field Guides and Trackers
All local beverages
Horse riding accompanied by an equestrian guide
Laundry and valet services
Private vehicle with personal Field Guide and Tracker
Transfers to and from Tswalu
Tswalu gift shop purchases
Any additional transfers and activities
Spa and Massage treatments
Selected premier wines and all cigars
Hot air ballooning
Tswalu lies in the southern Kalahari, in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province Tswalu Kalahari is:
560km west of Johannesburg
850km north of Cape Town
180km north east of Upington
270km north west of Kimberley
A Tswalu Kalahari Safari experience is very different.
African Safaris at Tswalu Kalahari
Bush walks are encouraged at Tswalu
Tswalu offers unrivalled privacy in a vast, pristine wilderness. We have a maximum of six vehicles in over 100,000 hectares. As Nicky Oppenheimer says, “If you see another Land Rover, complain!”
Our expert Field Guides have been specially trained in Kalahari wildlife and each contributes personally to the constant programme of research and conservation on our reserve. Game drives at Tswalu Kalahari will be completely tailored to your own interests. As well as discovering many rare and endangered species for the first time, every guest leaves with a deep appreciation of the beauty of this entire eco-system.
Bush walks are encouraged at Tswalu. We want people to get even closer to the land. To touch the unique vegetation (and learn about some plants’ extraordinary properties). To inspect nests and burrows. To examine the smallest insect. A morning can begin by walking to a meerkat colony and watching these engaging mammals warm themselves in the sunshine before they scamper off to forage. Night walks are now also possible, offering the chance of exceptional sightings such as aardvark, aardwolf, porcupine or brown hyena at even closer range.
And for a Kalahari safari experience unlike any other, our guests can explore the dunes and savannahs on our African Horseback Safaris. Few moments can rival gently walking through a herd of sable antelope on horseback, sharing the magical stillness that defines the Kalahari.