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Tswalu’s Recent History

The original Tswalu was first created by Stephen Boler, a Manchester entrepreneur, as a hunting reserve in Africa’s Kalahari region. In 1998, Stephen died suddenly; his will left instructions that Tswalu was to be offered first to Nicky Oppenheimer. And so Nicky and his family became custodians of this extraordinary land.

Tswalu Kalahari in the 1950's

Taken here in the 1950s, this shows a desolate land ravaged by cattle farming and neglect.

Much has changed in the last decade or so. Hunting stopped overnight. Hundreds of tonnes of man-made structures, farm buildings and fences, were removed. New land was added to extend and protect habitats and territories. The grasses were allowed to grow. Gradually, indigenous game such as the critically endangered desert black rhino and huge, black-maned Kalahari lions were brought home.

From the beginning, Nicky Oppenheimer’s mission has been clear.

“To restore the Kalahari to itself.”

And to secure the future of this land and its people by creating a sensitive and sustainable model of tourism, allowing visitors to Tswalu Kalahari to witness its beauty and protect it too. In the Tswana language, “Tswalu” means “new beginning”. The last decade here has been just that.

Tswalu Kalahari takes its place as part of the Diamond Route which links together all the conservation initiatives of De Beers and the Oppenheimer family. Across the Diamond Route, visitors and researchers alike can gain access to some of South Africa’s most precious ecologies, to learn about their wildlife and to understand how conservation works. Each property also raises awareness among local communities of the role of the environment in creating livelihoods and opportunities.