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“Amazing place, amazing people”

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Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing place, amazing people”
Reviewed 27 July 2011

We stayed in Tswalu in July, middle of winter, and thoroughly enjoyed the possibility to track animals for the entire day (an option which will not be available in summer due to intense heat). The game viewing experience is very authentic, with vast areas to be covered and no other safari vehicle in sight. Tswalu offers some rare animal sightings, eg. aardvark and a real close encounter with the ever so charming meerkats. The landscape promises excellent photos. A highlight of our experience was the horse back safari, available even to those who have never been on the back of a horse before. At the end of a perfect safari day, we were treated to 5* cuisine and the comfort for our suite. Expect various antelope to venture really close to the private deck of your room, an amazing experience as well.

Room Tip: Families should opt for the family suites
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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1 Thank AdrianaRadev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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London
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2011

Quarter of a million acres and 142 brilliant staff to entertain circa 10-20 guests is a very good start. Tswalu also has great rooms, excellent food, unbelivable setting, extremely well trained and helpful staff, and the management team is best of the best. It is pretty clear that this place is unique and will not be replicated unless there is another billionaire family that is prepared to subsidise it for the rest of us. That is exactly what the Oppenheimers must be doing at Tswalu, and we are extremely grateful!

It is a wonderful reserve. Don't go expecting to see Sabi Sands concentration of big game because you won't. What you will see is a spectacular landscape that supports a facinating and varied eco system. I would imagine the black maned lion, mountain zebra, black rhino and cheetah are on most guests tick lists but there is also so much else. Huge range of antelope, giraffe, white rhino etc. The merkats and aadvark are worth the trip alone.

It's clear that Tswalu is expensive for a hotel room, it is unbelievable value as an experience.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank Al_and_Meli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2011

We'd heard a lot about Tswalu in advance and were prepared for the wildlife and the experience of tracking. No reviews or photographs, however, can do justice to the scale and majesty of the landscape, the smell,the clean air, the total lack of light pollution, the atmosphere. The other revelation was the friendliness, the erudition and the charm of all the staff who looked after us so well. The service was impeccable and the food was wonderful but what made the trip for us were the many chats with our new friends at Tswalu.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with family
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3 Thank James_Grierson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, France
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 May 2011

An extraordinary game reserve, dedicated to the environment and ecological protection. Out in the bush, the guides and trackers are highly expert and knowledgeable about the animals and the natural environment and take pleasure in shring all that knowledge with you.
We stayed in the private villa Tarkuni, which is a very luxurious traditional style African lodge. The level of comfort is very high, and the dedicated staff simply can't do enough to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Quality of the food is exceptional and meals can be prepared in a variety of different locations as well as at the house : on top of a dune, at a high lookout point in the bush...)
I really cannot imagine any safari experience being this wonderful at every level.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank dsc068
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, France
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 May 2011

This is the best place I have ever seen in my life!
Landscape was gorgeous, people very nice, merkats so cute and the lodge so beautiful and comfortable: what a chance to be there, I wish I had the same bedroom at home! We will come back!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank antoinette66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newbury, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2011

We've just spent four blissful days at Tswalu,a remote lodge in the largest private game reserve in South Africa.This came at the end of our third visit to Africa and of all the lodges we have been to, this was by far the best. Stunning location,excellent game drives and every indulgence one could wish for.Each legae(suite) is spacious and artistically appointed with every possible comfort . Cuisine is five star and the staff are welcoming,friendly and efficient. Plenty of wild life and the guides will cater for particular interests;ours was birding, and our guide Richard and tracker,William did us proud.We also had close up views of lionesses and their cubs, meerkats, white rhinos and at a slightly more reverential distance, a black rhino and her calf. What sets Tswalu apart is the Oppenheimer family's commitment to conservation and through that, supporting the local community.It makes for a very happy atmosphere which we can recommend to anyone. Our hope is to return one day.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tswalu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2011

From the moment your executive 7 seater aircraft touches down at Tswalu the place evokes memories of years gone buy when being on Safari was an exciting, informative and pleasurable experience. This hotel, accommodating a maximum of 20 people, provided these three elements in the perfect mix. A friend told us that there are many safari lodges where the animals were abundant and services are good but to really see Africa, as nature provides, you need to be able to stand alone in the vastness of the Kalahari Desert and feel the real Africa. Tswalu is not like any other hotel we have been to, the experience is like being in your own home where all the staff know your name and seem to anticipate your needs rather than have to be asked. There is an air of genuine friendliness from every one. The rooms (like a small thatched cottage), were very spacious with all modern amenities surpassed only by the outside shower where you can douche and gaze over the Kalahari. Sitting on your balcony watching the wildlife walk only feet away was just amazing.
I view excellence in a Hotel being the little details that surprise you and at Tswalu they just kept coming. From the open bar where you help yourself to the shop where you simply fill in a book with what you have taken.
The food experience was also full of surprises, dinner in the dunes and in the Boma made the consumption of the food, which was worthy or world class acclaim, all the more exciting. On other nights we had a tasting menu with each course matched to a glass of of fine South African wine. The best was when our tracker announce "coffee" as we halted in the bush. A minute later a table was set with crisp linen and Safari tin cups, the experience was heightened by the tasty cakes and fruit to tickle the taste-buds.
The game drives, which are at your leisure, are undertaken by top class trackers and guides who gradually educate you in the ways of the wild. Their (Richard and Jacob) knowledge seemed boundless. We soon fell into the routine of up at 6am out for sunrise and the game, back at 11am to rest till 4 and then out until it's dark (7 ish) but, more often than not, our adventure kept us out later. Be prepared to spend many hours in the comfortable open top Lanrovers because Tswalu is vast. 100km in a day is often the case. The animals are free to roam so it could be some time before you find what you want to see. The chase, with Jacob reading the tracks like a map and Richard manoeuvring the land rover over any terrain usually resulted in a good sighting. We were especially interested in the Rhino and lions both of which we had very good sightings off. Maybe we were lucky but we saw all the game we expected and more.
Overall I class this as a must do once in a lifetime experience. This is a private game reserve and the owners have gone to extreme lengths to please even the most discerning guests. When you stay make the effort to meet other guests and share your experiences. you will be surprised by the diversity of those that visit this very special place.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank ovimorecp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Property: Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Address: Southern Kalahari | Kuruman, Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve 8460, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Northern Cape > Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Tswalu Kalahari Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the luxury and beauty of this magnificent malaria free 100,000ha private game reserve, the focus is on flexibility and privacy, outstanding game viewing, gourmet cuisine, indulgent spa treatments, and getting to do the things you've only ever dreamed about.The uniqueness of the safari experience begins with a flexible itinerary, which allows you to dictate your own programme of games drives, bush walks and horseback safaris; and continues with the interactive game experience. With a dedicated vehicle, tracker and guide, you can tailor your Tswalu safari to include whatever appeals to you.Bond with the meerkats before they go foraging or spend the morning tracking the desert black rhino. Witness the sheer size and power of the Kalahari black maned lion. Experience the magic of star gazing and the thrill of sleeping under the night sky. Indulge in boma feasts and bush dinners, sundowners, wine tastings and dune picnics. And whatever you do, make sure you have enough time to experience it all. ... more   less 
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