The Motse at Tswalu

The Motse at Tswalu: Information from the owner

All the information on this page is supplied to us directly from the lodge owner and reflects their view, not ours.
For Expert Africa's view, see our own report, which contains our own observations and views.

Type Safari Lodge
No. of rooms 9
Last updated 18-May-2020

Main description of The Motse at Tswalu

The Motse at Tswalu: Facilities

Property facilities 24-hour Security, Bar, Gym, Internet Access (Complimentary), Kiddies Club, Laundry Service (Complimentary), Library, Malaria Free, Mobile Connectivity, Pool, Private Vehicle Available, Restaurant, Spa
Room facilities Air Conditioning, Balcony / Deck, Bath, Complimentary Wi-Fi, Disabled Rooms, Dressing Gowns, En-Suite, Fan, Fireplace, Fridge, Hair Dryer, Heated Towel Rails, Internet Access (Complimentary), Laundry Service (Available), Laundry Service (Complimentary), Lounge Area, Mini Bar, Mini Bar (Complimentary), Mosquito Nets, Outside Shower, Pure Cotton Linen, Safe, Sala, Shower, Tea / Coffee, Verandah
Available services Babysitting Service, Room Service
Activities on site (some activities may be seasonal) Bird Watching, Game Drives, Game Viewing, Game Walks, Gourmet Picnic, Helicopter Scenic Flights, High Tea, Horse Riding, Massages, Night Drives, Safaris, Sleep Outs, Walks (Guided)

Room types at The Motse at Tswalu

Motse Family Suite

Luxury is a given when you are on safari at Tswalu. At The Motse, just 18 adults are accommodated in nine individual legae (suites) made from desert sand, rock and thatch, with every comfort imaginable – open fireplaces, outdoor showers, private sun decks, spacious living areas, separate dressing and study areas and wireless internet.

We have three family legae (suites) which have 2 en-suite bedrooms separated by a large lounge and deck.

At the main lodge elevated decks around the freeform pool, allow panoramic views of the surrounding Kalahari landscapes, and a waterhole popular with wildlife. A spacious lounge and dining area, library, spa, fully-equipped gym, impressive wine cellar and traditional boma complete the luxury facilities.

Motse Legae

A ‘village’ of just nine houses (three of which feature a second bedroom for children), The Motse captures the soul of the Kalahari in its design and materials. Private spaces flow effortlessly into waterhole views and beyond to the savannah.

The architecture of The Motse aligns beautifully with Nature to create moments of warmth and coolness, seclusion and shared memories. Bedrooms are illuminated by the sun rising over the ridge behind The Motse, and indigenous trees create pools of shadow. Each space at The Motse invites you in, just as Tswalu beckons you to explore and investigate your surroundings.

Units at The Motse at Tswalu

Tarkuni Private Villa

Set amid two rolling mountain ranges, Tarkuni is an oasis of serenity with beguiling views on every side. The private homestead accommodates up to 10 guests in five luxurious en-suite bedrooms and boasts a vast open-plan lounge and dining room, and intimate mezzanine library. A covered deck leads to a private tsala and swimming pool. A dedicated guide, tracker and vehicle are at your disposal, while a personal assistant and housekeeper will ensure you are well looked after.

Activities at The Motse at Tswalu

Bush walks

Much of Tswalu’s beauty can be found in the smaller details: the ripples left by the wind on the crest a sand dune, a yellow flower opening to face the sun, or the tracks of a porcupine digging for roots. Walking at Tswalu gives you the opportunity to see these and other signs of the abundance of the southern Kalahari, as well as following the tracks of larger species.


As well as being an incredible community of flora and fauna, Tswalu is also an extended human family of people from the Kalahari and beyond. We find strength in our diversity, and because we all share the same vision for the future of Tswalu, we can combine our energies and passion to make Tswalu’s vision a reality.

The Tswalu community consists of our staff members and their families, researchers, visiting doctors that support the healthcare centre, visiting artists in residence, and each of our guests, alongside a wider community of neighbours, conservationists and everyone who cares about the restoration of the Kalahari.


Every moment of every meal at Tswalu reflects the culinary heritage of South Africa and is carefully designed to be as inclusive as possible. Sustainability is key: we forage for Kalahari ingredients and work with local suppliers who share our low-impact ethos.

We believe that luxury is found in contextual, relevant flavours rather than wasteful over-abundance. Our food offering helps tell the story of Tswalu – it’s inspired by and captures the essence of the Kalahari.

Habituated meerkats

Join a group of habituated meerkats as they emerge from their burrows and warm themselves in the rising sun or meet up with them as they return home at the end of the day and groom and play at dusk.

Their gregarious nature and amusing antics (think early morning sunbathing and playing chicken with scorpions) have made meerkats extremely popular as subjects of wildlife documentaries. Our two habituated colonies have accepted the presence of humans without letting it disrupt the important business of grooming and foraging.

Meerkats are just one of the smaller predators which abound at Tswalu: aardwolf, African wild cat and caracal are also frequently seen.


Viewing Tswalu from the air is the best way to appreciate the sheer scale of the southern Kalahari. The folds in the land reveal themselves as you look down on mountain peaks where quite possibly no-one has ever walked and trace intertwined game paths that wind through the grasslands.

Flying at either end of the day reveals the fascinating interplay of light and shadow as the land glows warmly or slowly slips into darkness. Watching eland patiently file down to a waterhole, or the puffs of dust raised by the hooves of an oryx on the run are moments that will live with you forever.

Horseback riding

Another exciting game viewing option at Tswalu is a horseback ride

Horseback safaris allow guests to explore the dunes and savannahs on our well-schooled and well-mannered horses, which are suitable for all ages and all levels of experience.

There is no better way to get close to nature and the wildlife. On a horse safari in at Tswalu, you become part of the landscape and many of the animals react differently to your presence. No-one who experiences this kind of closeness with wildlife ever forgets it.

Our equestrian guides are well trained in the Kalahari ecology, and will lead you on a true safari where you can ride alongside antelope, buffalo, zebra and giraffe, or watch them from a distance without detection.

Children are welcome on horseback safaris. Both trail and English saddles are available and every piece of necessary equipment is provided, in every imaginable size.

Junior Ranger's Programme

Children are welcome at Tswalu and the reserve is well equipped to cater for them. Tswalu believes that they too can be part of the conservation vision.

The youngsters will be introduced to the Junior Ranger programme and given a backpack with guides and tools to help them learn about the Kalahari. During their stay they will make their own bow and arrow for archery, learn how to identify spoor, and track game on foot.

In between game walks and drives there are activities at The Motse specially designed to occupy the kids while mom and dad relax. Tswalu’s stables will create a special “pony camp” for any child who shares their passion for horses. There is no malaria in this part of the Kalahari and the pool is a big attraction. They can chat to the rangers, decorate cup cakes and even cook their own bush dinner in the special children’s boma. A separate children’s menu caters for their individual tastes.

Babysitters can be arranged for younger children if parents want time alone.

San petroglyphs

Join your guide in trying to puzzle out the hidden meanings in millennia-old rock engravings of animals, birds and abstract shapes. Today, no one knows whether they were created as memories, prayers or maps, but their beauty and mystery endure.

The Malori starbed

Watching thousands of stars slowly spin through a black velvet sky as you fall asleep makes a night spent on our Malori sleep-out deck an unforgettable experience. Enjoy a glowing Kalahari sunset as you eat dinner, then see the world anew as birdsong and the strengthening light awaken you at dawn.

The Tswalu Foundation

The Tswalu Foundation exists primarily to support ecological research at Tswalu. Through accumulating a growing body of quality output on the fauna, flora and the unique habitat of the southern Kalahari we have been able to make informed conservation management decisions to better support our shared vision.

This information has been made freely available to our neighbours and other interested parties so that, as we seek to add to our shared understanding of this rich and diverse landscape, they too can care for their land in the best long-term interests of the wildlife and people of the Kalahari.

During your stay at Tswalu, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with researchers studying both iconic and more obscure species and witness scientific conservation in progress.

Tswalu Spa

The Spa and Gym at The Motse provide both relaxation and stimulation for body and mind, with inspiration coming from the savannah views and the use of organic materials both in the construction of this space, and in the spa treatments.

Your own private safari

With your own dedicated guide and vehicle, you can experience Tswalu exactly the way you want to. There are no fixed schedules or time limits at special sightings – during your stay, the dunes and grasslands are yours to explore the way you want to, and each wildlife encounter can unfold at its own pace.

Just like the sands of the Kalahari, we understand that your priorities can shift during your time at Tswalu. That’s why we’ll never try and shoehorn your experience into a fixed schedule.

Tswalu is unquestionably one of the best places in southern Africa to see cheetah in the wild – the vast open spaces and antelope herds of the Kalahari readily lend themselves to high-speed pursuits. Visiting Tswalu also gives you front-row seats for sightings of species that prove elusive elsewhere, from aardvark and pangolin to Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra.

Tswalu’s ecotourism ventures have a notably low ecological impact while also contributing significantly to the sustainability of the reserve and its achievement of its conservation and community upliftment goals. By remaining honest to our guiding principles, we can deliver a safari experience of startling authenticity.

Restaurants at The Motse at Tswalu

Dining at Tswalu

Tswalu offers a number of dining options for guests who can dine indoors or out, in the dining room or at the pool deck, and can enjoy their meals at times that suit them. From a late breakfast at the pool, a picnic in the dunes, a feast in the boma, or sundowners and snacks on your private deck... guests will delight in the delicious gourmet meals prepared by Executive Chef Justin Pillay. Justin joined the reserve on 8 October 2012, bringing with him a wealth of experience as a head chef and a fine-dining specialist. He has created an exceptional wining and dining experience at Tswalu, stamping his influence on all the dining options and striving to establish Tswalu as a top culinary destination. Tswalu's wine list has been carefully selected from the best South African wines available and guests will enjoy the food and wine pairing menus. The wine list was awarded Platinum status by the coveted Diners Club Wine List Awards in 2012.

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