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Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 November 2013

My husband and I just returned from a 3-night stay at Tswalu. It was truly awesome and was the perfect first safari before we headed to Sabi Sands. The kalahari is amazing and the reserve is so expansive that just the views were stunning. And then the stars----the sky was so clear that at nights, the sky looked like a planetarium.

We had two game drives each day, morning and evening. We were told that in the winters, the drives were during the day given the cold mornings and evenings. We had a private guide and tracker which was really nice.

Our room was lovely, high thatched ceilings and a little deck in the back facing the desert, including a watering hole where animals come to drink. We also had an outdoor shower in addition to a tub and indoor shower.

The staff was really friendly and the food was fine.

If I had to pick some development areas, I would say they need better coffee (and not french press given how messy it is) in the room. Also, the sheets were so so rough. They were like burlap.

Would definitely recommend this lodge.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank MiffysPillowBook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 November 2013 via mobile

A place where you see all the not- the- norm animals. Cape fox, aardwof and aardvark. The service is some of the best in the world and nothing is too much trouble for this team. The guest relationship manager Kyle and duty manager Ernest were phenomenal. Our guide and tracker stayed out until 12.15 am to try and find us an aardvark. The people at Tswalu are great. I can recommend this gem of the Kalahari .

  • Stayed: November 2013
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1  Thank Reenwoud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2013

I stayed at Tswalu for 4 nights at the end of October.
Tswalu Kalahari is an absolutely beautiful part of South Africa. It is like no other landscape I have experienced. Game drives take on a traditional format with one early morning and one late afternoon/evening game drive. Although as each party has sole use of a Land Rover this of course is very flexible. On the game drives you definitely get a feeling of isolation within this huge landscape. We did see the favourites on most peoples traditional wish list Lion, Rhino (Black and White), Buffalo etc but the real interest for visiting the area are the wide range of antelope and the animals specific to a desert environment i.e. Meerkat (my favourite) Aardwark, Aardwolf, Brown Hyaena etc. Sadly we didn’t get to see a Pangolin, but I guess you must have something to look forward to next time. The guiding and tracking of Jo and Ben was extremely good and both were great company.
The rooms (legae) are separate structures, are extremely comfortable and well equipped. All the rooms have a view out onto the Kalahari.
The food is first rate, not just good safari food - it was original, well cooked and well presented. There is also a large inclusive (quality) wine list.
All the staff were very professional, personable and made it a joy to stay at Tswalu.
I truly hope I can visit here again soon.

Room Tip: All rooms have great views
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rjm50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2013

We thoroughly enjoyed our 4 night stay at Tswalu (excellent package deal that included private guide and tracker and the flights). It complemented our stay at another safari lodge in the Sabi Sands/Kruger area. This private reserve excels in its level of customer service. The staff is absolutely wonderful, friendly, and helpful. The food and beautiful accommdations were 5 star all the way. The wildlife viewing is very different from the Sabi Sands/Kruger area where you can get very close to the animals in the range rovers. Most of the animals with the exception of the lions and black rhino and her calf were quite skittish and ran away when we approached in the range rover. In fact, we had better close up viewing of the various antelope and wart hogs from our accommodations (I have a hard time calling it a room, it was more like a villa) which had a great view of the watering hole. You will have the opportunity to see the more unusual antelope like Roan, Sable, Tsessebe, and Eland. They do have the very rare black rhino. One of the highlights of our trip was spending some time with their habituated meerkat colony. The reserve actually has 2 separate sections. One which contains the predators (i.e., lions) and the other section contains the more valuable animals such as the rarer antelope and TB free cape buffalo. They actually have a person who has the title of "meerkat habituator" who spends time with the meerkats to get them use to people. You may also get to see aardvarks and pangolin depending on the time of year you come. I think Tswalu will complement the traditional safari experience in terms of wildlife viewing, don't come here expecting to see the "big five" and a high density of wildlife. Do come here if you want to see meerkats, unusual antelope, Kalahari lions, black rhino, desert animals like the aardvark, pangolin, and bat eared fox, and experience an outstanding level of customer service, luxury, and hospitality in a beautiful, remote setting

Room Tip: All the rooms are gorgeous. I would recommend getting one that has a view of the watering hole (bett...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank vhuang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

I have never stayed anywhere that was perfect - until Tswalu. We could fault nothing, with charming staff and excellent facilities meeting all our needs before we had actually realised what these were.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank 101N123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2013

My husband and I recently spent 4 nights at Tswalu with our 4 year old, hoping to see some of the more unusual animals that call the Kalahari their home. As long term bush lovers, we have seen most, if not all, of the major private reserves in South Africa, so a trip to the Kalahari was something new for us. I won't go into all the game we saw as other reviews cover most of them but what was different was having a vehicle to ourselves, pretty much when and where we wanted it and THEY ALLOW SMALL CHILDREN on the game drives. This was very much appreciated and what sets Tswalu apart as most lodges will only start considering this from about 5/6 years. We were actually able to have a family holiday for once and only used the sitting service on one occasion.Tswalu lodge itself is very attractive and our family suite was exceptionally spacious with 2 comfortable bedrooms, each en suite, divided by a formal lounge - quite a treat not to have to trip over an additional bed as well as piles of toys and other stuff kids tend to drag around with them.
The staff were plentiful and all extremely helpful - in our case you'd be hard pressed to find anything to criticise. As other reviewers have mentioned, service levels really are very good.
All in all, a very different safari experience in an exceptionally beautiful part of the world. The only thing that might put you off if you do a lot of safaris like we do is that the "carnivorous" side of the reserve is separate from the largest expanse across the road - true the area the lions are in is over 20,000ha so it's not small by any stretch, but crossing a main road to get to them somehow didn't feel quite right. The lion's themselves were absolutely magnificent though!
So, all in all, a lovely 4 days with our daughter enjoying herself for once - she walked away a Junior Ranger, with a bag full of treasures (5 types of animal poop, feathers, porcupine quills etc) and a bow and arrow. Just a note on the overall cost. This was the most expensive safari we've ever been on. It is worth it but there is a small but... if you're having to save up for it, you would have as good an experience in Sabi Sands at one of the smaller AndBeyond lodges (if you are not travelling with little kids). If you have a big budget, this lodge is very exclusive and you'll feel as if the place is all your own even when it's full. You'll not see other vehicles while you are out and you never have to deal with all the irritations of having to share space with strangers!

Room Tip: Room 10 is a lovely family suite at the end of the row. Quite a walk in the heat with small kids but...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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Thank 00Caro2510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2013

We loved everything about our four-night stay at Tswalu. The game drives were wonderful, with our terrific guide, Nicole, and tracker, Ben, taking us through breath-taking landscape to view a wide variety of game: lions in a variety of settings (including a pride munching on a zebra only meters from our vehicle), black rhino, cape buffalo, meerkats from less than a meter, and a wide range of antelope, giraffes, zebra, warthogs, etc., etc. The horseback safari brought an interesting and enlightening perspective. Even when a freak wind storm canceled game drives one afternoon, we saw nyala taking shelter from the wind right below our window! The rooms were luxurious and the staff could not have been more helpful, cheerful and eager to please. Meals were excellent, including seafood that surprised us by its quality and freshness (until we recalled the daily flights from Cape Town). Our stay at Tswalu was an excellent complement to a stay, later in our trip, at one of the top Sabi Sand lodges, providing different animals to see in a different, but equally beautiful and intriguing setting. We hope we'll have an opportunity to return.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank KenCC
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

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: £1,544 - £2,565 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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