Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

The stunning view waiting for you

The Motse Lodge  

Located in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve this remote location in the southern Kalahari, in the Northern Cape offers the ultimate off-the-beaten-track escape at the forefront of sustainable ecotourism in South Africa.

The word ‘Tswalu’ means ‘a new beginning’ and Tswalu Kalahari is driven by two ambitions: to create an inspirational experience for its guests and a conservation vision, to restore the Kalahari to itself. This entails the management of the entire ecological system, including the vegetation and the available water resources to restore vital ecological processes which have disappeared in parts of the Kalahari, thereby maximizing the diversity of life found in the region. These two goals sit in perfect equilibrium with each guest contributing directly to the sustainability of the reserve in a true model of eco-tourism.

Guaranteed access to a private vehicle, guide and tracker provides guests with the freedom and flexibility to explore the green Kalahari’s diverse, game-rich habitats – always with unlimited time at sightings. On a Tswalu safari, time and space are the true luxuries.

In the shelter of the mountains – which also provide a dramatic backdrop to wildlife sightings – you can encounter Tswalu’s 240 kinds of bird and 80 mammal species, including Hartmann’s mountain zebra, wild dog, black maned lion, pangolin and aardvark.

The Motse

At the foot of the Korannaberg mountains, the Motse is a luxury, contemporary camp with 12 luxury "homes"

The Motse
The Motse

The Motse camp is a secluded ‘village’ of nine “legae” (the Tswana word for ‘dwellings’) including three family legae, accessed from the main building along wooden walkways which wind through the quiver trees and camel thorns. They are situated to ensure that each one is private and secluded and built using natural materials from the area.

Luxury is a given when you are on safari at Tswalu. At The Motse, just 18 adults are accommodated in nine individual legae (suites) made from desert sand, rock and thatch.The three family legae (suites) have 2 en-suite bedrooms separated by a large lounge and deck - with every comfort imaginable – open fireplaces, outdoor showers, private sun decks, spacious living areas, separate dressing and study areas and wireless internet. At the main lodge elevated decks around the freeform pool, allow panoramic views of the surrounding Kalahari landscapes, and a waterhole popular with wildlife. A spacious lounge and dining area, library, spa, fully-equipped gym, impressive wine cellar and traditional boma complete the luxury facilities.

The Motse welcomes children of all ages.

The habituated Meercats are always a pleasure to see

Dining at Motse

From a late breakfast at the pool, a picnic in the dunes, a feast in the boma, or sundowners and snacks on your private deck... guests will delight in the delicious gourmet meals prepared by Executive Chef Marnus Scholly. Every moment of every meal at Tswalu reflects the culinary heritage of South Africa and is carefully designed to be as inclusive as possible. Sustainability is key: we forage for Kalahari ingredients and work with local suppliers who share our low-impact ethos. Tswalu believes that luxury is found in contextual, relevant flavours rather than wasteful over-abundance. Our food offering helps tell the story of Tswalu – it’s inspired by and captures the essence of the Kalahari.

Working in partnership with Michelin-starred South African chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, our chefs look to reinterpret the flavours they find around them and create unique taste touchpoints at every turn. Our choice of ingredients is only half the story; the context from which they come and in which they are served completes the picture. All guests now have the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Restaurant Klein JAN.

Tswalu's wine list has been carefully selected from the best South African wines available and guests will enjoy the food and wine pairing menus.

The Motse boma
The Motse

Specialised activities at The Motse

Each activity becomes part of your exclusive, personalised Tswalu safari.

  • Private vehicle With your own dedicated guide and vehicle, you can experience Tswalu exactly the way you want to. There are no fixed schedules or time limits at special sightings – during your stay, the dunes and grasslands are yours to explore the way you want to, and each wildlife encounter can unfold at its own pace.
  • Bush walks Much of Tswalu’s beauty can be found in the smaller details: the ripples left by the wind on the crest a sand dune, a yellow flower opening to face the sun, or the tracks of a porcupine digging for roots. Walking at Tswalu gives you the opportunity to see these and other signs of the abundance of the southern Kalahari, as well as following the tracks of larger species.
  • Horseback riding Horseback safaris allow guests to explore the dunes and savannahs on our well-schooled and well-mannered horses, which are suitable for all ages and all levels of experience. There is no better way to get close to nature and the wildlife. On a horse safari in at Tswalu, you become part of the landscape and many of the animals react differently to your presence. No-one who experiences this kind of closeness with wildlife ever forgets it.
  • Habituated meerkats Join a group of habituated meerkats as they emerge from their burrows and warm themselves in the rising sun or meet up with them as they return home at the end of the day and groom and play at dusk. Their gregarious nature and amusing antics (think early morning sunbathing and playing chicken with scorpions) have made meerkats extremely popular as subjects of wildlife documentaries. Our two habituated colonies have accepted the presence of humans without letting it disrupt the important business of grooming and foraging.
  • Helicopter Viewing Tswalu from the air is the best way to appreciate the sheer scale of the southern Kalahari. The folds in the land reveal themselves as you look down on mountain peaks where quite possibly no-one has ever walked and trace intertwined game paths that wind through the grasslands. Flying at either end of the day reveals the fascinating interplay of light and shadow as the land glows warmly or slowly slips into darkness. Watching eland patiently file down to a waterhole, or the puffs of dust raised by the hooves of an oryx on the run are moments that will live with you forever.
  • The Naledi sleepout Naledi, which means ‘star’ in the local Tswana language, is Tswalu’s back-to-nature star bed experience in the Korannaberg mountains. Elevated above a valley with wraparound views, Naledi is for the true adventurer who yearns to sleep beneath the southern Kalahari’s brilliant blanket of stars in safety and seclusion. Spending a night in a star bed, with nothing between you and the night sky, has become increasingly sought after as travellers search for authentic, unfiltered experiences immersed in nature. Naledi has purposely been kept very simple so as not to detract from its private and remote setting in the southern reaches of the reserve. Sleeping in the open, under the stars, is as old as time.
  • San petroglyphs Join your guide in trying to puzzle out the hidden meanings in millennia-old rock engravings of animals, birds and abstract shapes. Today, no one knows whether they were created as memories, prayers or maps, but their beauty and mystery endure.
  • Junior Ranger's Programme The youngsters will be introduced to the Junior Ranger programme and given a backpack with guides and tools to help them learn about the Kalahari. During their stay they will make their own bow and arrow for archery, learn how to identify spoor, and track game on foot. A separate children’s menu caters for their individual tastes.
  • Tswalu Spa The Spa and Gym at The Motse provide both relaxation and stimulation for body and mind, with inspiration coming from the savannah views and the use of organic materials both in the construction of this space, and in the spa treatments.

The Motse private game derives
Easy access to Motse

Unlike most private reserves in South Africa, there are no other lodges on the property and the land is not shared with guests from other concessions or properties. This means that there are no areas of the reserve that are off-limits to guests. Heading off in a new direction every day, it literally feels as if you have the entire southern Kalahari to yourself.

Tswalu is malaria free, making it an ideal safari destination for families. Children are actively encouraged to participate fully in the safari experience.

Making a difference

Through a voluntary The Tswalu Foundation, The Tswalu Foundation exists primarily to support ecological research at Tswalu. Through accumulating a growing body of quality output on the fauna, flora and the unique habitat of the southern Kalahari we have been able to make informed conservation management decisions to better support our shared vision. This information has been made freely available to our neighbours and other interested parties so that, as we seek to add to our shared understanding of this rich and diverse landscape, they too can care for their land in the best long-term interests of the wildlife and people of the Kalahari. During your stay at Tswalu, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with researchers studying both iconic and more obscure species and witness scientific conservation in progress.

Tswalu offers a vision of hope that brings together conservation, research and an unrivalled safari experience. Everything we do is centred around our creed: To leave our world better than how we found it.

Tswalu Private Reserve

Amazing scenery awaits you in the Green Kalahari

This is a Malaria free area.

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