Located in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert, Tswalu is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering an area of just under 250,000 acres. Tswalu is not only home to a unique desert habitat, but it also provides an extremely remote and high quality safari experience in a malaria-free area. Only thirty guests at one time can traverse across this unique landscape. The southern Kalahari receives more rain than the Central Kalahari in Botswana. The rains are followed by an eruption of lush green grass and golden flowers. Tswalu’s amazing wildlife and magical wilderness are enriched by the owner’s passion for conservation and dedication “to restore the Kalahari to itself.”
Located along South Africa’s border with Botswana, Madikwe sits on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. One of the largest private game reserves in South Africa, Madikwe covers an area of 185,000 acres. Run in partnership by local communities, the private sector, and the state, Madikwe is a great conservation story. Its partners have successfully rehabilitated and restored old farmland to its natural state. It is famous for hosting one of the largest wildlife translocations in the world. More than 8,000 animals and 28 species have been released back into this restored wilderness. Madikwe is a great, family friendly, malaria-free, Big Five wildlife destination, conveniently located close to Johannesburg.
The Waterberg is a scenic wilderness located four hours west of Johannesburg in a malaria-free zone. This easily accessible region is home to the beautiful Waterberg mountain range filled with breathtaking gorges, clear streams, rolling hills, and endless views. The sandstone formations provide an amazing backdrop to this region, located far from the crowds of South Africa’s busier safari destinations. The region’s cultural, archaeological, topographical, and biological diversity make it well worth a visit!
Beginning in September, temperatures rise as South Africa transitions into summer. Summer lasts for almost six months, from November to March, bringing warm days, comfortable nights, and scattered thunderstorms. Antelope give birth in the early summer months, and migrating birds arrive during this time of plenty. From April to May South Africa transitions into winter. Green grasses left behind by summer’s rains dry out by June, when winter is in full swing and temperatures drop. As the winter landscape continues to dry out and vegetation thins. This provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities due to increased visibility into the bush.
Sightings of some of South Africa’s most rare and extraordinary wildlife occur at Tswalu, including black rhino, black-maned Kalahari lions, and meerkats. It is also home to more shy, elusive creatures, such as the aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin, and porcupine. Sightings of these creatures become even more common during the winter. Tswalu’s vast, open landscape provides great sightings of cheetahs and rare antelopes such as roan, sable, and tsessebe.
Elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra, and many species of antelope have been released here and have established successful populations. Leopards have long called Madikwe their home, making this massive reserve an amazing malaria-free, Big Five destination. Madikwe is known as one of the best places to see African wild dogs.
The Waterberg’s ample habitats support an abundant population of wildlife. All of Africa’s large wildlife species from elephant and rhino to the big cats can be found in this Big Five safari destination. In addition to the region’s abundant mammal populations, it is home to an amazing variety of birds, including the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures in the world. Hundreds of breeding pairs have settled along the mountain ridges.