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“A Truly Remarkable Experience”

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Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 23, 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, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Frank C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 - 229 of 418 reviews

Reviewed April 20, 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, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank kalitaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2014

How do I start? This lodge is magical. The food is excellent and well catered for vegetarians, of which I am one. The staff are so friendly and nothing is too much trouble, just ask and they will provide it if they can. The lodges are comfortable and homely and the game drives an experience not to be missed. The surrounding gardens of Tswalu have friendly antelope roaming and the view from the verandah is wonderful, different types of antelope, ie Sable, Oryx and also Wildebeest are often seen at the waterhole. We were very sad to leave but would love to return at some point.

Room Tip: All lodges are excellent.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank SandraDocherty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2014

From the moment we entered the Signature Hanger at the Cape Town Airport until we returned five days later, our experience, to use the old Michelin Guide rating system, was three stars -"worth the journey." The guiding and tracking were exceptional, the staff friendly and well-trained, the cuisine varied and excellent, the accommodations very comfortable with every need anticipated. Having your own tracker and guide on the open vehicle drives with no set times to return for breakfast and dinner, the wine tasting dinners, dinner on the dunes, and, of course, the Green Kalahari with its amazing wildlife, large and small, ... Tswalu was wonderful!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank 860Bonnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2014

We stayed at Tswalu as part of our Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations! We couldn't have asked for better, we had three nights at the Motse which was amazing, we were looked after so well it was quite a wrench to leave, the food, staff, rangers, the drives, rooms just everything was wonderful! One of our highlights was waiting for the meerkats to appear sitting in chairs and sharing a bottle of wine, the meerkats did appear but not for long!! Thanks to Rosé of The Luxury Safari Company who arranged the trip for us, everything worked like clockwork - thank you Rose!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Simon202014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2014

Our first trip to South Africa and the start of a month long sojourn in this beautiful country. Tswalu outdid itself and exceeded our expectations to the point that they became our benchmark for the rest of the game reserves and hotels we stayed at for the next 3+ weeks. NOTHING COMPARED. Ironed linen sheets, friendly, professional staff, superb food divinely presented - game drives with knowledgeable guides and trackers! Tswalu has it all. We even had a horrific thunder and lightning storm one night but the thatched roof was tight and we stayed warm and dry! We were extremely lucky to see an elusive nocturnal pangolin (and baby) during our visit in addition to all the various wild animals (too numerous to mention) as well as the cheetah and both white and black rhinos and lions mating! Tswalu is huge and the sense of enormous space leaves you with the most incredible feelings when you drive up over a hill and see endless land and sky and a pride of lions walking down the track! Our guide and tracker were excellent and very attuned to what we wanted to see and do. We never felt rushed or ever came back from a "drive" feeling disappointed in our outing. oUR dream is to be able to someday return to Tswalu. We have the Kalahari sand bottle sitting on our fireplace mantle and the statement on the bottle says it all "I have taken a part of it with me and left a part of me behind." This is truly an all inclusive 5+ star resort. Fine wines and spirits are there for the asking. Meals are cooked to perfection and one "tasting" menu was probably the best dining we have ever, ever had and we have travelled extensively. Thank you to all the Tswalu staff for giving us such a magical experience.

Room Tip: I can't imagine that a bad location exists at Tswalu.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank cruisingatsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2014

My husband and I love private game reserves and we have been to the best in South Africa. Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is our firm favourite because of its vastness and variety of animals. We stayed at the Motse for three nights in March 2014.This was my husband's first visit and I have been a returning guest since 2007. I have stayed at both Motse and Tarkuni with my family. The service from the staff in general, cleanliness of the rooms and the facilities can compare with few other private game lodges in the country. However, the game drives have always been a disappointment for me and this time was no exception. The ranger who was assigned to us focused more on teaching my husband how to use his camera than showing us the wildlife.My husband is an amateur photographer. Although we did not see a lot of game, we did see the two famous Kalahari lions with their dark manes. That was a real treat. Our afternoon game drives were short and the ranger appeared to be in a hurry to get back to camp. I had asked her to arrange for us to go and see the archaeological site on one of the cliffs and instead she took us to see some San rock art in some hills. Although she did offer to take us to the archaeological site the next day nothing came off it and when my husband asked about it the trekker said that we needed to go up there very early and that we did not have enough time left to do so. The ranger also arranged for us to do some horse riding on the Monday morning before our departure and we ended up riding around in the sweltering heat. We were later told by someone at the stables that most of the horse riding is arranged to take place before the sun comes up. I would have preferred a game ranger who had a passion for the Reserve to show us around rather than someone who took her own photographs while taking us around. We booked the Malori sleep out as a special treat for the Saturday night of our stay and this outing turned into a nightmare. Around 10pm that evening a severe storm came over the area and the wind and the rain was extreme. We found that the tent flaps of the Malori deck were not tied down properly and that it fitted badly, there were gaps between the floor and the tent walls allowing the wind to blast through the tent. The toilet is in the open and situated at a distance from the tent, I could not use the toilet during the storm. The solar lights were inadequate, even before the storm came over. The two batteries with flashlight left with us had a 10 minute life. We were left in total darkness while the storm raged. In the middle of the night we awoke from a fitful sleep, drenched. The bed, except for a patch of about half a meter by half a meter was completely soaked. The roof leaked and water was pouring down on the duvet and rest of the bedding. My husband refused to call for help as he did not want to expose anybody else to the violent storm and in the morning we were picked up at about 7am by the ranger and trekker and taken back to the main lodge. The Malori deck is over rated. More attention should be given to the comfort of guests and management should check the weather before leaving guests out in the wilderness on their own. Informing guests of what they can ask for as far as the food menu and game drives are concerned will be an added bonus, guests should be informed of what they can expect when they check in at the main lodge.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Penny0108
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
Location: South Africa > Northern Cape > Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center 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 Specialty Lodging in Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve
Price Range: $2,065 - $3,429 (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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