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“A Kalahari Oasis!”

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Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
San Jose, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A Kalahari Oasis!”
Reviewed 9 May 2014

Tswalu is fantastic in many ways! Their customer service exceeding my expectations, they are so friendly but still professional, have a great sense of humor and most importantly, VERY organized and move as a cohesive group.

Accommodations:
The plane from Joburg to Tswalu was a very executive PC12, configured for only 7 seats. It had wood trim and custom seat covers, very comfortable to fly in for the hour and a half flight.
top notch. Our suite\villa was extremely clean and welcoming. Every space in our room had great attention to details- minibar always stocked 2x a day and fresh snacks replenished, stationary and color pencils on desk for a creative space, personalized welcome letters, robed and proper sized slippers provided along with many sizes of bath towels and toiletries. Our bed was comfortable and the A\C worked very well and was even turned on when we arrived so our room was already cooled off.

Safari experience:
Since the property is so massive (700K acres) it is more difficult to find the cats and rhinos. Our drives yielded mostly tracking in the morning and spotting in the evening drives, so be OK and prepared for that. It's the sprawling Kalahari where you see black rhino, lions and cheetahs, so practice patience, it's worth it. Great place if you are a photographer.

Customer Service and Service in General:
Food is fabulous at Tswalu and fancy. 2 of our 4 nights included tasting menus and the staff is very knowledgeable about wine and had great suggestions for meals. We never waited long for our order even if we chose to dine on the deck of our room, everyone was accommodating and thoughtful. The menu included everything from mushroom and parmesan risotto to duck brulee to Kudu stew. The wait staff was very kind, helpful and always vigil of our drinks and courses. We wanted to have our ranger and tracker join us for our last dinner and they were able to make it happen last minute even with a tasting menu. We even took our ranger horseback riding with us and he was welcomed. Everyone was always cheerful and attentive, you can see they enjoy Tswalu as well.

Spa:
We had a couples massage and the ladies were fabulous! A Swedish and Deep Tissue massage relaxed us and the pressure was good. We felt comfortable the entire time with our massage therapists and the spa itself was very clean and inviting.

Value:
Having stayed at other 5 star safari lodges, Tswalu trumps them all. The fact that you make your own schedule for driving, eating, activities and have your own vehicle makes it worth it. If you want to drive around all day, by all means, your crew is on board and even excited to oblige. The staff never made me feel like I was asking too much or that my requests were too outrageous. They are fabulous and just sort of flow around you as you navigate your day. Overall very worth it for the level of relaxation you receive.

Room Tip: Can only speak to room 5 and it was great. Right by the deck but private enough you didn't hear...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kristin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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401 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
Colchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 5 May 2014

No words of mine will come close to describing the magical experience that is Tswalu. The lodge itself is 5 star plus, the food is delicious and all the staff are wonderful, but the real star is the Kalahari itself. Don't come with a list of things to see, all the animals are there and with our wonderful ranger Travis and our tracker Corne we saw them all, including the elusive Leopard. But the Kalahari is so much more. It's a special place that lifts your spirit and calms your soul, and at the end of your stay you go home enriched by the experience.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Ted C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 May 2014

My partner and I decided to take our 3 kids and my mum on a once in a life time trip to south Africa on a safari, at the time of booking we wanted something special and decided on Tswalu. from the moment we arrived we were overwhelmed with Tswalu and everything it had to offer it was perfect beyond our wildest dreams! If you want to experience an amazing part of the world with an amazing bunch of people, enjoy amazing food and brilliant service then this is the spot!!

Room Tip: a lll the rooms are great and very different...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MaryanneTea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
87 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2014

It's hard t know where to start. On arrival in the beautiful clean private aircraft and friendly pilots to the fresh cold towels and welcome cocktail the experience starts as something special. This is a must for your bucket list. After having stayed in numerous 5+ start hotels in Sabi Sands we felt it would be very very difficult for any experience and hotel to beat those experiences. Well, Tswalu blew them all into the dust. This is a sublime lifetime memory that I reminisce about every day. The entire staff were absolutely the best of the best but special mention to the front of house mega star Bronwyn. WOW - along with Jaq our amazing guide and Jonas our wonderful big laughing tracker we had the time of our life. Joe, was a champion from day one and we shared many great wine stories. We honestly felt like we were looked after like royalty. The rooms are world class , the food and menu options sublime and every entire whim is catered for with incredible aplomb. This could possible be the BEST wilderness lodge experience in the world - Full Stop. Thank you, thank you to everyone and that includes Stef and Rachel and I'm sorry If I have missed anyone. Well done Tswalu team you get 11/10. We miss you all - lots of love from Pete, Tash and Max. We will be back next year, so Joe stock up the cellar and Gin !

Room Tip: All rooms are sensational but do a night at the Malori Star bed and prepare to be blown away as you...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Peter H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Suffolk
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2014

This is a special place, where dreams are realised and beautiful memories are made. Words cannot do this place justice, yet words are what I need to write, and it is tempting to write a long list of adjectives (beautiful, stunning, tranquil, magical etc.) as all of those are true, yet Tswalu is so much more than these words, a place that becomes part of you, that changes your view of the world, that takes hold of your heart and refuses to let go. Whatever you do and wherever you go, make time to spend a few days at Tswalu. Experience the Kalahari in all its beauty, ochre sands peeping up through an abundance of green, on your own private safari vehicle or on horseback. Spend time with the habituated meerkats (we had the most incredible time watching babies suckling from their mother and running and tumbling like little furry acrobats), spend a night at the Malori (without doubt the most magical night of our lives) listening to the sounds of jackals howling and waking to the most incredible vistas interrupted only by herds of antelope and giraffe, take time out in the spa, or have a yoga lesson on the tsana (with an audience of roan, nyala and warthogs), or just relax and let the sounds of the desert work their magic, and the wonderful staff do what they do best which is to make every moment of your stay with them nothing short of perfection.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank nosyposy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boerne, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 April 2014

No words, pictures or advertisement can come close to describing Tswalu, one of the finest African experiences anyone can have. This being our third trip to Africa, it ranks #1 in comparison to places previously visited. From the minute we landed to the minute we departed, everything and everyone was awesome. Personal Ranger (Travis) and Tracker (Corne) were top notch, cuisine was second to none and available around the clock, you set your own schedule, housekeeping and wait staff were exceptional. We highly recommend Tswalu to anyone wanting a once in a lifetime African experience.

Room Tip: Our accommodations were Five Star and very private.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Frank C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keller, Texas
Level Contributor
59 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2014

The title refers to the fact that two years ago, our travel agent was scheduling our first ever African Safari and tried to get us to go to Tswalu. We knew nothing about it and knew no one who had ever been there. We said no. This time, she again insisted we give it a try....

Our stay at Tswalu was second to none.

People write descriptive words and they seem overkill - wonderful, terrific, fantastic, unbelievable, amazing. But our six days at Tswalu were all of these things
everyday.

We loved relaxing in our accommodations when not out on drives; they were above great. We watched warthogs and kudu walk, eat, nap casually around our deck. I could scare the warthog away when I went out to read but the kudu? They just ignored me and kept up their routine.

The food – whether in our room, under the stars or at a traditional boma, was five-star. Whenever we were served, Rachel or Lebo or whomever would always tell us, “my pleasure.” I have a little bit of news for you. It was always our pleasure!

Our drives, that which we think makes a safari a safari, well, we can’t measure.

Vast land – hills, mountains, valleys, and miles and miles and MILES of red dirt dunes - unique trees, shrubs, birds, animals – from the very small to the very tall and very large – were our every day adventure.


But the key to it all, even above the beauty, is the people.

You can have all of this and not have a happy “me” without wonderful staff.

From meeting at the airstrip, everyone – not just the someone “assigned” to you, but everyone, introduces himself or herself and makes you feel like you are the only one at Tswalu.

They learn who you are and are genuinely interested in you.

Our guide, there was no better! Don’t let him get away.

Our tracker, so SO very good.

Everyday was planned so we could have the times we didn’t even know we wanted! Thank you for our wonderful Tswalu adventure!

Adrian – We never thought we could have so much fun. You went over and above the task of guiding and we feel quite fortunate to have lucked into you as our Tswalu Guide. Thanks for making our first trip to the Kalahari so grand.

Corne – you are an unbelievable Tracker with great instinct for this great country! Thank you for sharing so many interesting details of your country with us. We will never forget how you made our trip so special.
Joe, you manage this Lodge like it is your home; I’m sure you eel this way. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.

Room Tip: We had Number 5. It was right next to the lobby and perfect for us. There are so few rooms, only 6...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank kalitaylor
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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