Trip Report – Private Guided Safari at Tswalu Kalahari

Johan van Zyl All Authors, Johan 2 Comments

Situated in the Northern Cape of South Africa, close to the border of Botswana and Namibia lies the largest privately owned game reserve in Africa, Tswalu Kalahari.

The Kalahari is synonymous with red sands and vast open plains, but it is the breathtaking Koranaberg that runs north to south through the reserve that adds to the beauty of this Reserve.

Image by Linda Clews

Tswalu is very well known for it’s rare and endangered nocturnal species, which during the winter months offer some incredible sightings to guests at Tswalu.

Winter has not quite arrived at Tswalu, with the days warming up to mid to late 20 degrees celsius, meaning many of these nocturnal animals would only be active well after sunset.

Exclusivity is one of the major attracting elements to Tswalu, and during the 5 nights my guests and I were at Tswalu there were no more than 5 vehicles out.  Combine that with the fact that you have free range to over 110 000 ha (270 ooo acres) and it is easy to see why Tswalu is loved by so many.

Image by Linda Clews


Image by Linda Clews

Apart from the rare nocturnal species, Tswalu is also home to a healthy population of Cheetahs, a resident pack of Wild Dogs, some rare antelope species such as Roan and Sable, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra and also the ever popular Meerkats.

Image by Linda Clews

Image by Nancy Anderson

Image by Nancy Anderson

During the 5 nights my guests and I spent there, we had amazing sightings of all of these species, with some of the highlights including tracking Cheetahs for 4 hours and being able to spend another 5 hours with them, observing their behaviour and movement with no other vehicles present.  The pack of Wild Dogs are currently denning at Tswalu, and although we did not get a glimpse of the new puppies (they are estimated to be around 6-7 days old) we had great interaction around the den site between the Alpha Female and other pack members.

Image by Nancy Anderson

Arguably one of the most popular species on Tswalu are the Meerkats.  We left camp about half an hour before first light and got to their burrow just as the sun was peaking above the Koranaberg mountains.  Slowly one by one they would pop their heads out from the burrow, sun their bellies after a chilly evening, and then move on to forage looking for grubs and scorpions.  Some of the these Meerkats and very comfortable with the presence of humans, and my guests were able to get some amazing images of them and the laid on the ground only a couple of meters away from the Meerkats.

Image by Linda Clews

Image by Nancy Anderson


Watch the video of the Safari below.

I am heading back to Tswalu next month and look forward to exploring this beautiful property, who knows what might be in store for us.


About the Author

Johan van Zyl


The opportunity of visiting some of the wildest, undisturbed areas and sharing my passion for wildlife, conservation and photography with like minded people is a privilege that I am forever grateful.

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