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Tswalu offers every photographer and film-maker a unique chance to capture their own observations of the Kalahari. But the desert and its eco-system are too complex to be defined in one image or film. The dunes and the grasslands hold too many secrets; the landscape can change in an instant with the first drops of rain.
WildEarth has set up a live webcam at Tswalu to monitor an habituated meerkat colony. Watch them go about their daily lives and explore their fascinating underground burrow systems!
Exploring the dune roads with a spotlight one evening, we spotted a small bat-eared fox. As we watched him, an abundance of ground dwelling woolly dhafers - a Christmas beetle like insect - were drawn to the spotlight. When he saw them, the fox began darting around in the light trying to catch the beetles in a feeding frenzy!
By Marco Tonoli - Head Field Guide
Tswalu Kalahari has populations of both black and white rhino which are thriving under the protection of our conservation team. Rhinos are identified by notches in their ears as well as microchips under the skin and in the horns, to assist in combating the illegal trade in rhino horn. Here our guests have the opportunity to follow and participate with Conservation Director Gus van Dyk and his team in the important process of ear notching.
The Kalahari winter has an interesting impact on the general behaviour of nocturnal animals, which is why the ground pangolin (manis temminckii), a mostly nocturnal forager, is often seen in the middle of the day searching for food. Although it is considered to be one of the rarer creatures to encounter in Africa, with the winter climate, soft sands for tracking and wide open landscapes, this is probably one of the best places to view this elusive animal.
The word Kalahari is often synonymous with dry desolate environments devoid of water and life. In fact, the Kalahari is a massive expanse of land covering over 2.5 million km² with many different types of habitats. In this southern section of the Kalahari, often referred to as the Green Kalahari, summer rainfall can bring an adundance of water. Here, Head Field Guide Marco Tonoli, heads up into one of the catchment areas in the Korranberg mountains to explore the results after a Kalahari summer thunderstorm.
Following from our previous meerkat video, Marco has just discovered that the alpha female of one of our smaller meerkat colonies has since born pups. Watch them explore their new kingdom under the watchful eye of their babysitter.
Tswalu’s population represents one third of South Africa’s entire remaining, critically endangered Desert Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis). Their conservation and protection is a success story we are very proud of at Tswalu.
Even though their eye sight is relatively poor, Rhino’s have got an incredible sense of smell and will respond to human scent from approximately 800 meters. Join one of our Field Guides, Christo De Jager, and some of our recent guests as their adrenaline surges while in search of this magnificent mammal in its natural environment.
An African rock python, one of South Africa’s endangered species, is rescued from a nearby mine and released onto a new home, on Tswalu Kalahari.
Tracking is an art, tracking is a science. It is knowledge passed down from one generation to the next. Join Moses and William for a true Kalahari experience, in search of the youngest members of our Northern lion pride.
Join Marco, Adrian and some recent guests at a meerkat burrow. The constant programme of research here means that Tswalu’s meerkat colonies tolerate close encounters allowing you an extraordinary opportunity to witness their constant antics.
This sequence is from a forthcoming documentary by award-winning film-maker Owen Prumm. It describes the drama and diversity of Tswalu’s wildlife at a particular time. Marco, our own Head Field Guide and a skilled cameraman himself, assisted with the making of this film.
Owen’s filming of one of the meerkat colonies here at Tswalu colourfully demonstrates the charm and intelligence of these highly social mammals. Scientific research into the meerkat is continuous on the reserve and guests can join researchers at a burrow in the early morning to witness such behaviour at close range.
The male Kalahari lion with its black mane is a huge and gorgeous animal, recently described by the UK’s Daily Telegraph as being “worth 10 of any other”. This magical footage shows one of Tswalu’s adult males together with another creature on whom this eco-system depends - the termite.
This clip captures another interaction between lion and insect. Despite the formidable power of Kalahari lionesses, tiny ants prove too persistent an irritation, even for them.
A meerkat’s existence seems to switch between constant play and constant vigilance. “The Meerkats” is a full-length documentary movie shot here at Tswalu Kalahari. Produced by the BBC’s celebrated Wildlife Unit and with a voice-over by Paul Newman, the film follows the progress of one particular pup in the colony and the hazards of early life in this extraordinarily challenging environment.