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Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve Review

Near the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the malaria-free Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, which at 900 square km (347 square mi) is the biggest privately owned game reserve in Africa; it's the perfect place to photograph a gemsbok against a red dune and an azure sky. Initially founded as a conservation project by the late millionaire Stephen Boler primarily to protect and breed the endangered desert rhino, it's now owned by the Oppenheimer family. Today it spreads over endless Kalahari dunes covered with tufts of golden veld and over much of the Northern Cape's Korannaberg mountain range. Its initial population of 7,000 animals has grown to more than 12,000, and it's now home to lion, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, and many species of antelope. It's the best place in Africa to see rhino—the reserve has more than 50 white and 20 black rhinos, which have amazingly adapted to living in the desert. Other rare species include roan and sable antelope, black wildebeest, and mountain zebra. There's not so much game as in some of Mpumalanga's private reserves because the land has a lower carrying capacity (the annual rainfall is only about 9¾ inches). But when you do see the animals, the lack of vegetation makes sightings spectacular. And the fact that only about three open-sided game vehicles traverse an area two-thirds the size of the entire Sabi Sands makes your escape all the more complete.

This is one of the most child-friendly game reserves in Southern Africa. Children are welcomed and well catered to, with lots of freedom and special activities.

Updated: 11-14-2012

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