The once private safari home of the Oppenheimer family, Tarkuni at Tswalu Kalahari has been redesigned. The homestead is located in a secluded valley below the ancient Korannaberg Mountains and offers guests complete privacy and flexibility while on safari. As part of the redesign all the pleasurable daily rituals of safari living, from leisurely meals outdoors to afternoon siestas by the pool, were carefully considered. Project Architect Adrian Davidson aspired to include more natural light, while creating an easier and more peaceful flow between the relaxation, dining and outdoor areas.
Tarkuni sleeps ten people in five bedrooms and comes with its own staff including a chef, housekeeper, safari guide and tracker, and exclusive use of a private vehicle. The five guest bedrooms have new, natural light-flooded bathrooms with outdoor showers. All the glass sliding doors throughout the house have been fitted with screen doors to keep insects at bay. In the evening the glass doors can be flung wideto allow the scents and sounds of the bush to filter in, while the screen doors can be secured to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. Outdoors, shaded verandas and the original teak day beds have been positioned close enough to a deep splash pool to take spontaneous dips and keep an eye on young children. The pool is smaller and more water wise than the original, aligning with Tswalu’s sustainability journey.
For multi-generational families or a reunion of friends, the rustic-chic thatched retreat is everything guests would want in an exclusive-use safari camp – a home from home that is luxuriously comfortable, yet comfortingly familiar. A fire pit encourages gathering for an early cup of coffee before game drives, the brazier is just as conducive to sociable drinks before dinner while sharing stories of the day’s special sightings. Positioned in front of the house is an inviting boma with low stone walls to take full advantage of the magnificent views across the waterhole to the horizon.
Lighter and airier, Tarkuni’s interiors reflect the natural surroundings of fresh botanically inspired greens and natural, earthy tones. The southern Kalahari’s complex textures and organic forms find expression in some beautiful bespoke pieces of furniture, designed exclusively for Tswalu. Re-fashioning some of the older pieces not only ensured continuity and authenticity, especially for returning guests, but also to be more sustainable and less consumptive.
Thoughtful decor and lifestyle enhancements aside, having exclusive access to the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa is the real luxury of choosing Tarkuni, along with freedom to plan every aspect of your stay. Richly interpretative game drives with your private guide, tracker and vehicle allow in-depth exploration of Tswalu’s diverse landscapes, tracking down some of the iconic species of the southern Kalahari such as the black-maned lion, desert black rhino, pangolin and aardvark.
Tarkuni offers the ultimate escape at any time of the year, providing opportunities to stop and appreciate the silence and the immense sense of space that defines Tswalu Kalahari. Days here are fluid and flexible, as active or relaxed as guests want them to be. It’s a place to restore and replenish the mind and body.
New Star Bed Experience
For those searching for an unfiltered experience more immersed in nature, Naledi, which means ‘star’ in the local Tswana language, is Tswalu’s new back-to-nature star bed experience in the Korannaberg Mountains.
Elevated above a valley with wraparound views, Naledi is a new option for the true adventurer who yearns to sleep beneath the southern Kalahari’s brilliant blanket of stars in safety and seclusion. Naledi is designed as a romantic sleep-out experience for two adults, but is also ideal for a family of four. Everything has been carefully considered so that guests have everything that is needed for a comfortable stay.
At Naledi, camping stretchers are layered with luxurious bed linen including extra throws and blankets should the night turn chilly, breakfast treats accompany warming mugs of coffee, tea or hot chocolate and dinner is served picnic-style. A few steps from the main Naledi deck is an open-air shower, basin and toilet on its own timber platform, providing comfort throughout the stay. A private guide will leave guests with a fully charged, two-way handheld radio for remaining in contact should they need assistance at any time.
About Tswalu Kalahari
Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest privately-owned reserve, set in the green Kalahari. Its low-impact, high-value approach to ecotourism ensures that revenue flows directly back into conservation work.
With only two camps, The Motse and Tarkuni, Tswalu accommodates just 30 people and has the lowest guest footprint in South Africa. The property is unique in that it has a foundation dedicated to research. Research informs every conservation decision taken and is a vital part of what Tswalu is all about. Guests are encouraged to interact with scientists and doctoral students in the field, should they have a keen interest in a specific subject. Those who choose Tswalu contribute to the sustainability of our commitment to preserving the southern Kalahari’s biodiversity for future generations.