Why book an African Safari (Especially Now)? Read More

Tswalu – The Red Kalahari

The Kalahari is Africa’s most unique safari destination. It’s a desert – there’ll be plenty of sand and smooth-lined dunes in your view – but the Kalahari is also a landscape of trees and grassland, mountains and wetlands. And far from being a harsh and uninhabitable environment, the Kalahari is home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife with some of the rarest and most sought-after animal sightings in the world.

Aardwark in Tswalu Kalahari

The Kalahari is a great place to photograph Africa’s seldom-seen creatures.

You can visit the Kalahari and view its wildlife in several countries – notably Botswana – but if you are looking for the purest distillation of the Kalahari experience, then South Africa’s Tswalu Reserve stands head and shoulders above everyone else.

Tswalu The Red Kalahari

Immerse yourself in the red Kalahari environment at Tswalu.

The country’s largest private reserve, Tswalu protects a great swathe of red-sand Kalahari and its wild animals. And because Tswalu lies at an ecological junction between savannah and desert, the animals are a fascinating mix of familiar savannah species – giraffe, buffalo, zebra, warthog – and arid-area specialists such as brown hyena, oryx gazelle and black rhino. All the top land predators are there: cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena, wild dog – and Kalahari lions come in extra-large size with black manes.

Wild dogs in Tswalu

Tswalu is one of the few remaining refuges for the endangered African wild dog.

What Tswalu is really famous for, however, is its ability to deliver regular sightings of the truly rare and elusive animals of Africa: the ant-eating trio of the aardvark, pangolin and aardwolf as well as perennial favourites like honey badgers and bat-eared foxes. The pangolin sightings are especially impressive; this writer spent five years on safari in Botswana and never even saw their footprints let alone an actual animal.

Pangolin in Tswalu

Hoping to photograph a pangolin Tswalu is the best place in Africa to see them.

Tswalu is a private operation and an unashamedly top-end one. You’ll fly there from Johannesburg and stay in complete luxury with the pleasure of exceptional service. There are three camps – the Motse offers couples and family suites, the Tarkuni Homestead is a private-use villa and Loapi Tented Camp is where to go for complete privacy. Together, the camps total just 40 beds which gives Tswalu the lowest guest footprint (beds per hectare) in the whole of South Africa. And since each booking is guaranteed a private vehicle with field guide and professional tracker, a Tswalu safari is truly a bespoke and exclusive experience. Your safari programme is built around your interests and includes game drives, guided walks and horse-back safaris but make sure you leave some time for the classic Kalahari experience – meeting a family of habituated meerkats.

Tswalu's meerkats

The Kalahari’s meerkats are among its most endearing residents & you can join their family for a while.

It’s a wildlife photographer’s dream (there’s an in-house photographic guide and a specially equipped photo-safari vehicle) but the range of accommodation and ambience means the camps are equally suited to honeymooners and families. Other features at Tswalu include star-bed sleep outs, fine dining and spa treatments.

Tswalu Kalahari accommodation

A Motse Suite typifies Tswalu’s accommodation, where tradition meets modern, overlaid with pure comfort.

But this is no gratuitous show of wealth: Tswalu is deeply involved in wildlife conservation and is committed to local communities. Scientific programmes have resulted in boosting the populations of endangered animals like black rhino, wild dog, pangolins, the roan antelope and brown hyena while community commitment means Tswalu draws its human resources from the area, runs a guide training academy and provides free primary health care to anyone living with a 100 kilometre (60 mile) radius.

Tracking rhino in Tswalu

Tracking Tswalu’s rare black rhinos on a research drive; you can also take part in these activities.

It does come with a price however; Tswalu is never going to be the cheapest part of your safari but it will more than likely be the highlight. And the rates you pay go towards keeping this part of the Kalahari and its animals protected for perpetuity. And sometimes that’s a price worth paying.

Tswalu The Red Kalahari

There is a uniqueness to Tswalu – land of the red Kalahari.

Hands-on Expertise

  • We’re based in Africa
  • Consultants Travel in Africa
  • Knowledgeable team
  • Expect great customer service

Accredited & Bonded

  • SATSA – Bonded Membership (2061)
  • Travel Save Compliant Certificate
  • Fully Independent & Owner Run
  • Travel Support from Start to Finish


Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)