The Motse at Tswalu
The morning sun is warming the desert sand and the small colony of meerkats is busy. They’re scurrying around cleaning their burrow, while one keeps watch standing on a boulder, sentinel style. All domestic chores need to be wrapped up swiftly, so they can go out foraging for insects for breakfast. We are tickled and mesmerised watching these quirky creatures energetically go about their daily lives on Tswalu Kalahari Reserve.
The Motse, meaning ‘the village’ in Tswana, is set amidst rolling savannah dunes that stretch out in all directions to meet the moody Korannaberg Mountains. As the main camp on Tswalu, The Motse’s suites are housed in nine individual ‘legae’ or dwellings, village style. They’re designed with sensitivity and empathy to place, environment and the guest experience, and reflect the space and energy of the surrounding Kalahari. Completely private too, each legae is blissful, decorated in muted sand tones and natural materials to honour the beauty of the environment outside. Sweeping views are everywhere, even from your bed or outdoor shower. This is breathe-easy country, for sure.
Within The Motse is also a central guest area, comprising beautiful living and dining spaces, the bar, wine cellar, gallery, shop and spa for couples treatments. There is a dedicated photographic studio with a canvas printer for images, and a trained guide to assist with image printing. The southern Kalahari is deeply photogenic and home to rare wildlife, such as black-maned lion, black rhino, endangered pangolin, aardvark, aardwolf, cheetah, oryx, African wild cats – and, of course, those comical meerkats. There is plenty for birders to see too, so taking photos comes easily here with five different habitats to explore.
Stretch your legs with a bush walk into the mountains to see ancient petroglyphs, go game viewing on horseback or by safari vehicle. All experiences are exactly according to your desire, so days can be relaxed or packed with activity – as you wish. But when you are out there in this ancient desert of endless space, you will be moved by the surreal beauty and tranquility of the place, it’s simply unforgettable and stills your mind and soul.
If you’d like to explore deeper, the Tswalu Foundation offers interactions with researchers, tracking pangolin or aardvark, sociable weavers or snakes for data collection. It’s authentic and informative and gives insight into natural life in the Kalahari. Sleeping out under the stars at comfortable, tented Malori or rustic, open-air Naledi are also wow experiences to appreciate nature more intimately. Much more than five star, these are full-galaxy star experiences that are as enchanting as they are unique – much like everything you will experience when you visit Tswalu.
What we love
- that you can dine at enchanting Klein JAN, and taste the authentic flavours of the Kalahari
- the junior ranger programme for kids to experience conservation in action
- that guests can meet visiting artists in residence
- serene, pared down, nature-inspired décor throughout
- the different and evocative dine-out and sleep-out options, with ablution facilities
Need to know
- children under 12 stay free in their parents’ room
- the pool is not covered
- since the lodge is not fenced, guests should not walk between lodges
- there are air conditioners and fans
- it’s malaria free
- please advise special dietary requirements in advance of arrival
- access by daily private charter flights from Johannesburg (90 minutes) and Cape Town (2 hours) directly into Tswalu
Posted by Keri Harvey