In January of 2015, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve was welcomed as a member of National Geographic’s exclusive society, the ‘National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.’ Located in the Southern region of the Kalahari in South Africa, the lodge underwent an uncompromising evaluation process, with a unique criterion. As of yet, only twenty-four lodges in the world have been welcomed into the fold of this society, and Tswalu has the enormous honour of being one of the three situated in South Africa.
Each of the Unique Lodge’s shares a dedication to conservation and sustainable practices, while remaining authentic to its surrounding environment, but still offering its guests an exceptional experience with quality service. The criteria of the National Geographic Society included:
- The Property, which is expected to be true in its design and atmosphere, to the environment and local culture that it inhabits.
- The Guest Experience must offer top quality service in every respect, and encompass a range of activities that are inspiring and educational, allowing guests to engage with the wildlife and the locals of the area.
- Sustainable Practices ensures that the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is ecologically safe, and involved in the conservation of the environment. It must assist in the protection of the region’s cultural heritage, and provide benefit to its local communities. Unique in this regard is the team of on-site experts who Tswalu work with to manage their ecological systems.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve has an all-encompassing lodge, with every service and activity a guest could want on offer. The Tswalu spa has been voted the ‘Continent’s Best Luxury Beauty Spa,’ (2013) by the World Luxury Hotel Awards, and the ‘Best Safari Spa,’ (2011) by Les Nouvelles Esthetiques. Considering one may take dinner on a private open deck with glasses of chilled wine, it is not surprising that Tswalu has also been voted one of the ’50 Most Romantic Hotels,’ (2011) by Travel and Leisure. Yoga classes couldn’t possibly get any more compelling, as one watches the animals arrive at the waterhole in the rising morning sun while stretching. Those who usually forego their gym sessions may find themselves invigorated to attend the gym which has an inspiring view of the savannah.
There is a range of activities that focus on the diverse wildlife, which includes lions, giraffes, antelopes, meerkats, hyenas, rhinos, zebras, and more – with guided safaris that allow you to explore on foot, by car, or on horseback. There are guided bush walks at night, and a tour that takes one to view the age-old rock art by the native San people, as well as a tour of the staff village which allows the guests to gain insight into the lives of the locals. As Tswalu focuses on habitat and wildlife conservation, they aim to share their knowledge as part of their sustainability project, and guests are offered a singularly informative experience through talks with the on-site staff ecologists. Parents travelling with their children need not relinquish the hopes of a romantic date, as there is a selection of entertaining pastimes for kids – including archery, children’s bush walks, and sessions whereby kids learn how to track animals.
The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve offers a truly unparalleled experience, and with their ambition to restore the Kalahari and conserve its wild beauty, guests can enjoy it with the knowledge that they are treading lightly upon the earth.