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Wildlife

There is a perception that the Kalahari is a sparse and desolate desert. In reality it is a semi-arid grassland with wide open savannahs and a diversity of habitats. Tswalu is unique because it combines the typical Kalahari savannahs and sand dunes with the Korannaberg Mountains. The Korannaberg offer a sheltering influence which increases the biodiversity of the area enormously. The mountains also provide spectacular backdrops for the landscape

The diversity of habitat (and climate) has resulted in an extremely diverse animal population. There are about 80 species of mammals and approximately 240 species of birds. The open habitat makes game viewing excellent and the animals can be appreciated within their habitat rather than amongst bushes.

One aspect of the game viewing experience which is worth mentioning is that we have six vehicles which have exclusive access to the entire reserve (which spans over 1000 square kilometers). Thus, there is no reason to queue for a sightings and no need to have limited time at sightings so that other vehicles can have their “turn” at a sighting. Also there are no areas which are “off-limits” or that are used by other concessions.

Giraffe

Many of the animals that guests would encounter on a game drive (or horse ride or walk) are species that are seen in the more traditional safari areas (such as zebra, buffalo giraffe, white rhino etc) but many are also quite different from other areas to the east. The antelope in particular are quite different. The Kalahari species include Gemsbok, Springbok, Eland, Red Hartebeest and more. In addition, there are great opportunities to see rare species which are also seldom seen in the “usual” safari areas. These include Roan and Sable antelope, Tsessebe, Hartmanns mountain zebra and of course the desert black rhino (a population of which we are very proud).

The larger predators also offer excellent viewing opportunities. Because of the rugged mountains, leopard are very rarely seen but the Kalahari grasslands lends themselves to excellent cheetah viewing. Spotted hyaena are rare but brown hyaena are fairly common.The Kalahari lions, although the same species as other lions across Africa, are famed for their size and beautiful manes.  Wild dog are also occasionally seen on game drive.

Tswalu’s small carnivores offer perhaps the most special and unique sightings. Meerkat viewing is fantastic and we have 2 colonies of meerkats that have grown to trust people and allow close approach and observation. Apart from the more common small predators such as jackal and wild cat, unusual carnivores could include silver fox, bat eared fox, aardwolf, lynx, honey badger and small spotted genet.

Cheetah

“I can say with confidence that Tswalu is probably the best place on earth to view aardvark and pangolin. Both these unusual animals are rarely seen elsewhere but the open grasslands on Tswalu make the animals easier to find, particularly during winter when they emerge in daylight to search for ants and termites.” GUS VAN DYK, GENERAL MANAGER