Walkers Bush Villa Rates and Prices (2019 Specials) - Read Reviews
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Walkers Bush Villa

Walkers Bush Villa

$3795 per person

Walkers Bush Villa is an exclusive and private bush villa available on an exclusive-use basis and promises guests an unrivalled safari experience in one of the most sought-after safari destinations in southern Africa. It’s a grand 5-star 4-bedroomed luxury safari villa which conjures up images of Karen Blixen’s “Out of Africa” era.

Walkers Bush Villa is an exclusive and private bush villa available on an exclusive-use basis and promises guests an unrivalled safari experience in one of the most sought-after safari destinations in southern Africa. It’s a grand 5-star 4-bedroomed luxury safari villa which conjures up images of Karen Blixen’s “Out of Africa” era.
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The splendid villa was conceived by Howard and Ingrid Walker who have a long history in creating and running exemplary hospitality destinations such as Critchley Hackle Lodge and Walkersons Hotel and Spa in Dullstroom. Their combined expertise in the tourism industry spans some 25 years.

Walkers Bush Villa is marketed to the discerning wildlife enthusiast with high expectations of the ultimate safari experience. It’s a fully-catered option with everything from personal gourmet chefs on hand and the dedicated attention of professional game rangers and trackers.
The whole safari experience is tailored to the individual needs of guests with excursions ranging from daily game drives, guided bush walks, photographic safaris, bush breakfasts, sundowners and authentic African dinners served under the brilliant night sky.

Children of all ages are welcome at Walkers Bush Villa and there’s an array of activities geared to keep children busy while their parents relax and soak up the rejuvenating healing powers of the bushveld.

Timbavati Private Nature Reserve itself is a premier safari destination and promises guests the ultimate safari experience; with 5-star accommodation in splendid settings and outstanding wildlife sightings. Luxury safari lodges in the Timbavati play a significant role in promoting sustainable tourism and contributing to extensive conservation initiatives.

Walkers Bush Villa

Walkers Bush Villa – Sleeps up to 10 guests

Walkers Bush Villa is a magnificent 5-star bush retreat which is booked on an exclusive-use basis.

walkers bush villa entrance
walkers bush villa suite bedroom views

The luxury Walkers Bush Villa lodge in the Timbavati has 4 bedrooms; one is a deluxe master bedroom and the other 3 are luxury private suites which surround the paved entrance courtyard.

Connected by elevated wooden walkways, these suites are all strategically positioned along the banks of the seasonal riverbed. All the suite decks overlook the riverbed and the magnificent sycamore groves.

Children of all ages are welcome at Walkers Bush Villa and the 3 standard bedrooms can be configured for a family group. There’s an adjoining sleep-out room which is accessible from the patio. The master bedroom adjoins the main house and is what Ingrid and Howard Walker refer to as the ‘pies de resistance’. It’s magnificent; boasting spending furnishings, a luxurious ensuite bathroom and an outdoor walk-in shower.

walkers bush villa suite bathroom leading into outdoor shower
walkers bush villa indoor lounge and fireplace

Features and facilities:
• 1 master bedroom with King-size bed
• 3 twin rooms which can be configured into a family room
• luxurious ensuite bathrooms
• air-conditioning throughout the luxury bush villa
• complimentary toiletries
• complimentary Wi-Fi
• 2 spacious lounge areas; one with a flat-screen TV and satellite channels
• open fireplace in main lounge
• indoor and outdoor dining areas
• large outdoor patio
• long swimming pool
• boma area with firepit
• outdoor sitting area for reading and relaxation
• beautiful lawn fenced off from the surrounding bushveld

FAQ's

Question: Best Time to Visit Walkers Bush Villa

Answer: May-August and December

 

Question: Who owns the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Answer: Howard and Ingrid Walker

 

Question: Where is Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Answer: Walkers Bush Villa lies within the Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) which, in turn, falls within the internationally-declared Kruger2Canyons UNESCO Man and Biosphere and within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation area (GLTP Treaty of 2002).

More About Walkers Bush Villa

Walkers Bush Villa

Guests staying at Walkers Bush Villa are treated to a tranquil bushveld retreat which is reminiscent of the colonial safari era. Two cheetah statues stand sentry at the entrance to the bush villa; with a long driveway flanked by a kaleidoscope of indigenous flowers. A magnificent water feature is the centerpiece of a beautiful paved courtyard. Walkers Bush Villa is furnished with collectible and handcrafted pieces, classic works of art and opulent finishes. Original sculptures by Dylan Lewis have pride of place in the main lodge and beautiful artwork adds to the elegance and sophistication of the bush villa.

The lavish lounge area is dominated by a magnificent chandelier; hanging silently from tall rafter ceilings. The open-plan living area leads out onto a wonderful outdoor patio with an expansive lawn broken by a long sparkling pool which is ideal for swimming lengths. Evenings are spent dining under the stars at an authentic African boma which is complete with a firepit and outdoor lounge area which is perfect for an afternoon spent reading and chatting. A personal executive chef prepares delicious meals; catering for guests unique culinary needs.

  • Included
    5 Star Accommodation
    Airport Transfers
    Breakfast
    Entry Fees
    Flights
    Meals
    Personal Safari Guide
    Spa treatments and Laundry
    Telephone
    Wifi
  • Not Included
    Boutique purchases
    Departure Taxes
    Premium Brands and Cellar wines

TOUR LOCATION

The Warden Hoedspruit, Hoedspruit, 1380

Inclusions and exclusions

Walkers Bush Villa Rates include:
  • Accommodation,
  • Chef,
  • All meals,
  • Local drinks (both soft and alcoholic),
  • Housekeeping services,
  • Two game viewing activities per day
  • Services of a professional game ranger and tracker.
Rates exclude:
  • All personal items, any item not described above
  • Timbavati Conservation levy of R328 per adult per night and R164 per child aged 12 and under per night in 2018 and R368 per adult per night and R184 per child aged 12 and under per night in 2019, which will be added to your invoice on confirmation of a booking.
   

Facilities and Amenities at Walkers Bush Villa

Description of Facilities / Amenities Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Tswalu The Motse | Number of suites9 Luxury suites
Tswalu Tarkuni | Number of suites5 Luxury suites
Tswalu The Malori | Number of suites1 Luxury suites
LODGE FACILITIES
Back up ElectricityYes
BomaYes
Boutique Shop**Yes
ChildrenYes
Full bar facilitiesYes
GymYes
Handicapped SuiteNo
LoungeYes
Meeting FacilitiesNo
ParkingYes
Spa*Yes
Swimming PoolYes
Telephone/Fax FacilitiesYes
WiFi***Yes
Wine CellarYes
SUITE FACILITIES
Air ConditioningYes
En-Suite BathroomsYes
FansYes
HairdryersNo
Lounge AreaYes
Mini-BarsYes
Private PoolYes
Safes in suiteYes
Tea/Coffee Making Facilities (Nespresso machines) Yes
TelephoneYes
DELUXE, PRESIDENTIAL AND LUXURY SUITES – ADDITIONAL FACILITIES
King Size BedsYes
Private PoolYes
 

WALKERS BUSH VILLA LIFE ENRICHING EXPERIENCES

  walkers bush villa safari game drive hippo sighting

ABOUT TSWALU KALAHARI PRIVATE RESERVE

Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve is the largest private game reserve in South Africa; situated in the Northern Cape which is the largest province in the country. It offers guests the ultimate desert safari experience in a breathtakingly scenic and fascinating region known as the Green Kalahari. Vast tracts of semi-arid desert landscapes are offset against lush green belts that lie alongside the Orange River. Carpets of fresh spring daisies blanket the arid plains of Namaqualand stretching deep into Namibia. The Green Kalahari shares a border with the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which is renowned for its spectacular landscapes, massive red sand dunes and dry riverbeds. Located in a malaria-free region, Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve spans some 100 000 hectares and is home to 70 species of animals and 230 recorded species of birds. Nestled at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountain, the Tswalu safari lodges have spectacular views of the expansive Kalahari grasslands. The Korannaberg Mountain is a quartzite formation which is attached to the Olifantshoek Supergroup. The mountain range forms a huge basin which acts as a natural catchment area and provides a healthy water table which means Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve is able to support incredible biodiversity. Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserveis owned by the Oppenheimer diamond-magnate family and is a member of Relais & Châteaux which is a collection of gourmet restaurants, boutique hotels, resorts and villas. It’s unashameably marketed to the elite traveller offering exclusivity and privacy and a unique safari experience. The number of guests is limited to 30 at any time with a dedicated staff compliment of personal butlers and professional game rangers. The striking reserve is home to one third of South Africa’s highly endangered desert black rhino as well as the legendary black-maned Kalahari lions and cheetah. You’ll also find rare antelope such as roan, sable and tsessebe as well as an abundance of birds which includes endangered raptors and bird species endemic to the Green Kalahari. There are two luxury safari lodges on Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve that offer sophisticated accommodation in a spectacular setting; The Motse consists of 9 spacious and secluded private suites and Tarkuni is the personal home of the Oppenheimer family which can be booked on an exclusive-use basis. Malori is a splendid sleep-out deck which offers guests an authentic safari experience sleeping out in the bushveld under the brilliant African night sky. The reserve was formerly a hunting property owned by a British businessman who bought 35 farms to create 88 000 hectares of pristine wilderness area. The Oppenheimer family took ownership of the reserve in 1998 and immediately put a stop hunting. Successful breeding programmes were established for rare and endangered species such as roan and sable antelope; wildlife habitats were transformed for greater eco-biodiversity and countless buildings were demolished and removed. Tswalu Kalahari was declared a Nature Reserve in 2014 and granted formal protection for its incredible fauna and flora. The world “Tswalu” means “new beginning” which was the perfect term for what the nature reserve symbolises for the stark Kalahari region.   walkers bush villa sundowners

INCREDIBLE BIODIVERSITY

Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve is located in the Green Kalahari in the Northern Cape which is a region renowned for its incredible biodiversity. It’s estimated that there are 5 400 plant species in the Northern Cape spread out across 6 large biomes; the Nama Karoo biome, succulent Karoo biome, savanna biome, grassland biome, fynbos biome and desert biome. More than 30% of the plants found in the Northern Cape are endemic to the desert region and most occur in the Succulent Karoo biome along the West Coast of South Africa. Many of these plant species are rare or threatened and have limited distribution. The Northern Cape is divided into four regions and boasts a total of 6 national parks, including two Transfrontier parks which stretch into world-renowned safari destinations such as Namibia and Botswana. You’ll also find two of the largest rivers in South Africa in the Northern Cape as well as 3 iconic deserts. The best known of these two rivers is the Orange River which is the lifeblood of the stark and arid region. The fertile riverbanks create an endless oasis which snakes its way across the dry region. The agricultural activities of the Northern Cape lie along the Orange River including vast vineyards which produce award-winning vintages. The Orange River thunders over the Augrabies Falls to create the world’s 6th largest waterfall. In full flood, the mighty river thunders through a ravine and drops over a sheer granite cliff face into a massive pool below. The name given to the waterfall by the Khoi means “place of great noise’ which aptly describes the strength of the waterfall. In total, there are over 15 000 hectares of unique riverine ecosystems to explore in the Northern Cape. It may be the driest part of South Africa but its incredible biodiversity is fascinating.

OPEN-HEARTED PEOPLE OF THE NORTHERN CAPE

One of the most appealing aspects of the Northern Cape is its people. They’re open-hearted, friendly and welcoming. The region has a proud heritage and the communities are culturally diverse with many historic influences which have shaped the cultural heritage of the Northern Cape. Expect open smiles and genuine affection when you arrive at Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve. The Kalahari is the ancestral home of the San people, more commonly known as Bushmen. Many ancient engravings can be found in the Tswalu Kalahari area which current research suggests may be the oldest artworks on Earth.

PRIVACY AND EXCLUSIVITY

Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve offers its guests the ultimate safari experience with a promise of privacy and exclusivity. The number of guests staying at Tswalu Kalahari is limited to 30 at any time and a maximum of 10 private safari vehicles are allowed in the 110 000-hectare reserve.  

UNIQUE WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

The beauty of staying at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is you’ll see a selection of animals which are unique to the arid region and not found elsewhere in the mainstream game reserves in South Africa. One of these is the springbok antelope which is the national symbol of the country and renowned for its grace and agility. You’ll also find the Kalahari lions of the Northern Cape which are easily identified by their sheer size and striking black manes; the highly endangered desert black rhino, the skittish Hartmann’s mountain zebra; a coalition of cheetah; and breeding herds of endangered roan and sable antelope. The Northern Cape is well-known for its populations of meerkat and viewings of these quirky creatures are fantastic in the Tswalu private reserve. Dedicated researchers have established two colonies of habituated meerkats which provide fascinating insight into the intricacies of the meerkat family behaviour. Other incredible sightings include the elusive aardvark, aardwolf, silver and bat-eared foxes and African wild cats as well as the highly endangered pangolin. Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve is regarded as one of the best places in the world to see the aardvark and pangolin. They tend to favour the open grasslands of Tswalu and are easy to spot in winter when they emerge in daylight in search of ants and termites.  

TAILORED GAME DRIVES

Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve caters for the discerning wildlife enthusiast in a private and exclusive setting. There are no firm routes or times for game drives and guests staying at the luxury lodges at Tswalu Kalahari are free to set their own safari schedule. Guests are also offered the option of guided bush walks in Tswalu with a professional game ranger. It’s the ultimate way to experience the bushveld from a different perspective and get close and in touch with the region’s unique vegetation, learn more about the plant’s medicinal and healing properties and examine smaller creatures which play a vital role in the reserve’s delicate ecosystem. The private safari vehicles on Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve have exclusive access to the entire reserve which spans some 1 100 square kilometres. There’s no limit to the time guests can spend at sightings and no issue with “queue to view” like you get in southern Kruger National Park. And there are no areas in the reserve which are “off limits” to guests or used as private concessions. It’s a dream safari destination in Africa from that perspective. The daily itinerary is planned around the individual needs of guests and can include anything from daily game drives and day or night bush walks to horseback safaris, encounters with meerkat colonies or extraordinary excursions to archaeological sites in the Korannaberg hills where you’ll find San rock art dating back some 380 000 years.  

BIG 5 WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

You’ll find the Big 5 in Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve which includes elephants, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard although sightings of leopard are rare because of the mountainous terrain. Sightings of cheetah are outstanding and fairly common. Apart from the usual collection of antelope, zebra and giraffe which you’ll find on a standard safari tour of the Kruger National Park; the Green Kalahari is home to unique species such as gemsbok, springbok, eland and red hartebeest which have adapted to the harsh desert conditions. You’ll also find incredibly rare species such as the roan and sable antelope, the Hartmann mountain zebra and the desert black rhino. The Kalahari lions are famous because of their sheer size and magnificent black manes. Wild dogs are occasionally seen on game drives and you should see wild cat, jackal, the silver and bat-eared fox, aardwolf, lynx, honey badger and small spotted genet.  

CONSERVATION AT ITS CORE

Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve spans some 1 100 square kilometres of Kalahari savanna. It’s the largest private game reserve in South Africa; it’s twice the size of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and bigger than Madikwe Game Reserve. The Oppenheimer family have made conservation a priority with a vision to “restore the Kalahari to itself”. The luxury safari lodges at Tswalu Kalahari serve as a means towards meeting the conservation objectives by generating much-needed financial resources to support the various projects. People in the area benefit from work opportunities in a region where unemployment is high and job scarcity is a problem. Tswalu Kalahari has three main conservation goals: • restore the natural environment to its pristine condition • re-establish and protect its biological diversity • maintain the natural ecological processes and characteristics of the Kalahari environment This entails managing the entire ecologicalsystem including the vegetation and available water resources. The goal is to restore vital ecologicalprocesses which have disappeared in other parts of the Kalahari and maximise the diversity of fauna and flora in the region.

REJUVENATING THE GREEN KALAHARI

Guests staying at Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve indirectly or directly contribute to the upliftment and well-being of local communities as well as a number of large conservation projects. This is done through the Tswalu Foundation which was founded by Jonathan Oppenheimer in 2008 with the aim being to involve guests in the foundations ambitious research programmes. Through the Tswalu Foundation, benefactors may contribute to existing projects or even suggest and fund new research on a subject of their choice. The research programmes focus on the Kalahari’s unique and diverse ecosystems and the precious flora and fauna found in the semi-arid region. An key conservation project is the management and monitoring of the ecology of the highly endangered pangolin and potential threats of climate change to their survival. Tswalu Kalahari is home to the charismatic African big game species such as black-maned Kalahari lion, cheetah, wild dog, desert black rhino and Cape buffalo. These fine species benefit from extensive conservation initiatives; it involves buy-in from the local community where conservation awareness and education is key to their long-term survival. From a human perspective, Tswalu Kalahari offers support in the form of a much-needed clinic and school in the area as well as education initiatives for adults.  

KALAHARI HORSE RIDING SAFARIS

A unique activity at Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve is horse-back safari tours of the vast reserve. The horses at Tswalu are suitable for all abilities and levels of experience and children are welcome to join in on horseback safari rides. It’s the ideal way to experience a safari tour of the Kalahari with gentle walks over the grassy plains and rolling dunes. The well-trained horses are comfortable getting up close to buffalo, hartebeest, kudu and mountain zebra and there’s nothing more magical than a wilderness safari in the Kalahari on horseback.  

CASUAL FINE DINING

Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve offers guests a gastronomic experience after long morning and afternoon game drives; with a selection of signature dishes prepared by an Executive Chef. You can get anything from delicious venison dishes to a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich. The meals at Tswalu Kalahari are one of the incredible memories you take with you when you leave the luxury Tswalu safari lodges. Delightful sunrise breakfasts get the day started with a panoramic view of the waterhole. Sundowners in the bushveld are followed by authentic African bush dinners. Enjoy a true Kalahari feast in a spectacular setting; under the brilliant African night sky. Each elegant meal is paired with wine from Tswalu’s award-winning wine collection which features the finest wines from South Africa’s premier wine estates. Tswalu Kalahari received a Platinum award from the Diners Club Wine List Awards for its excellent wine selection.  

RELAXATION AND REJUVENATION

The spa at Tswalu Kalahari is an award-winning facility offering guests two tranquil therapy suites with a private shower and beautiful private garden. The therapists at Tswalu’s spa set the benchmark in quality and innovation for an authentic safari spa experience. The spa provides a cool haven to escape the relentless Kalahari sun. It’s crafted using natural materials with reed ceilings and dry-stone walls. It’s the perfect escape after a fascinating safari tour of the Green Kalahari and a haven of peace and tranquility. Inspired by the beautiful surrounds, the soothing treatment suites at the spa open onto a hidden indigenous garden with a labyrinth, an outdoor patioand a yoga pavilion. The therapists offer authentic signature treatments using local products renowned for their healing properties. There’s a well-equipped gym on the property which is a short walk from the spa at The Motse. Its expansive glass front provides guests with a panoramic view of the bushveld surrounds and wonderful wildlife sightings. The gym’s Technogym® equipment includes a Spaczio Forma treadmill, Forma bike, Unica multi-function strength trainer and rowing machine. There are also free weights and plenty of floor space for stretching and toning.  

FAMILY SAFARI TOUR

The whole family is welcome at Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve. Children are kept busy with a range of activities which leaves parents free to relax in their luxury suites after game drives or enjoy decadent pamper sessions at the spa. It’s important to the team that they introduce children staying at the luxury lodges at Tswalu to the principles and practices of conservation. Part of their mission is to pass on a passion for wildlife conservation to the next generation in a way that is interactive, exciting and fascinating. Young children are given a backpack with an information booklet and tools they’ll use as part of the Tswalu Junior Ranger programme. Activities for children staying at Tswalu include archery which involves making their own bow and arrow; identifying spoor and making casts; bush walks with a professional game ranger and private game drives which appeal to young children.  

THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN THE NORTHERN CAPE

The Northern Cape is renowned for its stark, semi-desert beauty with vast open landscapes, expansive aqua-blue skies and unique flora and fauna. It’s the largest of all the provinces in South Africa and the most sparsely populated. Unique biomes in the Northern Cape range from the endless red dunes of the Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park to the wild Namaqualand with its kaleidoscopic wildflowers.  
  • Green Kalahari
The Kalahari Desert stretches across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa and conjures up images of vast fossil desert lands. The name Kalahari is derived from the Tswana word meaning “place of great thirst”. Most of the desert is not considered a true desert due to the amount of rainfall the area receives. Nearly 10 000 years ago, the region was dominated by Lake Makgadikgadi which was an ancient lake that dried up due to tectonic shifts in the Earth’s surface. The annual rains drain into what are now the salt pans of Makgadikgadi Pan in Botswana and Etosha Pan in Namibia. The wetlands attract tens of thousands of flamingoes as well as other migrant water birds and incredible animal species which have adapted to the harsh desert conditions. The Southern Kalahari which comprises the Northern Cape Province of South Africa is often referred to as the Green Kalahari due to the amount of rain it receives and its ability to support a broad diversity of fauna and flora. Rare species found in the semi-arid grasslands include the Kalahari black-maned lion, roan and sable antelope, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, good populations of the desert black rhino and cheetah as well as gemsbok, tsessebe and eland. The Southern Kalahari is also home to the rare and elusive aardvark, aardwolf and pangolin. It’s one of the best regions in South Africa to see pangolin which is a highly endangered species. Small mammals unique to the region include the silver and bat-eared fox, lynx and aardwolf as well as charming colonies of meerkats. A remarkable feature of the Southern Kalahari are large nests built by weaver birds which hang from the branches of camelthorn trees.
  • Green Kalahari
The Kalahari Desert stretches across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa and conjures up images of vast fossil desert lands. The name Kalahari is derived from the Tswana word meaning “place of great thirst”. Most of the desert is not considered a true desert due to the amount of rainfall the area receives. Nearly 10 000 years ago, the region was dominated by Lake Makgadikgadi which was an ancient lake that dried up due to tectonic shifts in the Earth’s surface. The annual rains drain into what are now the salt pans of Makgadikgadi Pan in Botswana and Etosha Pan in Namibia. The wetlands attract tens of thousands of flamingoes as well as other migrant water birds and incredible animal species which have adapted to the harsh desert conditions. The Southern Kalahari which comprises the Northern Cape Province of South Africa is often referred to as the Green Kalahari due to the amount of rain it receives and its ability to support a broad diversity of fauna and flora. Rare species found in the semi-arid grasslands include the Kalahari black-maned lion, roan and sable antelope, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, good populations of the desert black rhino and cheetah as well as gemsbok, tsessebe and eland. The Southern Kalahari is also home to the rare and elusive aardvark, aardwolf and pangolin. It’s one of the best regions in South Africa to see pangolin which is a highly endangered species. Small mammals unique to the region include the silver and bat-eared fox, lynx and aardwolf as well as charming colonies of meerkats. A remarkable feature of the Southern Kalahari are large nests built by weaver birds which hang from the branches of camelthorn trees.  
  • The Orange River
The Orange River is the lifeblood of the dry Kalahari region and where you’ll find fertile tracts of agricultural land which create an endless oasis along the river banks. It’s a popular destination for canoeing and river rafting trips. The river was originally called the Gariep meaning “the Great River”. It was later changed to the Oranje (Orange) River after the great explorer Robert Gordon rowed out to the middle of the river’s mouth and drank a toast to the Dutch Prince of Oranje. As more settlers arrived in the dry region, the Orange River was used to irrigate agricultural land and the first canals were built to direct water from the river to the farms. Commercial farming activities were given a boost when the first water-driven mill was introduced to the region. Some of the many attractions in the Southern Kalahari region are linked to the history of the people and showcase their entrepreneurial spirit in what was otherwise an inhospitable area to settle. These include ancient San rock engravings, old mission churches, the first water-driven mill, hand-built irrigation tunnels, an Egyptian-styled hydro power transformer, waterwheels, a historical camel thorn tree under which the first town in the region was founded, war graves and an ancient date palm avenue.  
  • The Orange River Winelands
The Northern Cape is a dry and largely inhospitable environment yet it supports row upon row of land under vine. The vineyards of the Southern Kalahari stretch along the banks of the Orange River and stand out in complete contrast to the surrounding barren landscapes. A popular thing to do on a trip to the Southern Kalahari is to join a 2-day wine tour which takes you from Upington, Keimoes and Kakamas to Groblershoop and Grootdrink. The wine tour introduces you to the fine wines of the region which have been created from quality grapes cooled by the desert microclimate and enhanced by the soil found on the banks of the river which is made up of a combination of alluvial deposites, granite, dolerite and shale. The wineries tend to plant sultana, columbard, chenin and hanepoort grapes. Most wines produced by the Orange River Wine Cellars are white wines; a combination of dessert wines, semi-sweet wines and blends. Wine produced from grapes grown on the east and west banks of the Orange River are distinctly different.  
  • Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is wedged between Namibia and Botswana and is renowned for its red sand dunes which fade into infinity. The national park spans some 960 000 hectares which makes it the largest nature conservation area in southern Africa. Together with the adjoining Gemsbok Park in Botswana, the region forms one of the world’s truly unspoilt ecosystems. Two ancient rivers wind their way through the vast open savanna grasslands; the Auob and the Nossob. They’re a valuable source of water for herds of springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest who roam the river banks and predators such as cheetah and the black-maned Kalahari lion which follow in their wake. The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is one of the best birding sites for raptors; it’s home to the martial eagle and bateleur which are two of the largest raptors in southern Africa. Sociable weavers create gigantic nests in camelthorn trees which weigh up to 300 kilograms each.  
  • Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park
In 2000, the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park merged; creating one of the largest wilderness areas in the world now called the Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park. Spanning some 3.6 million hectares, the Kalahari Transfrontier Park is rich in fauna and flora and home to rare and unique species such as the majestic black-maned Kalahari lion and endangered desert black rhino. Wildlife in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is abundant, birdlife is prolific and its striking landscapes provide incredible photographic opportunities for aspiring and professional photographers.  
  • Augrabies Waterfall National Park
The Khoi people call the Augrabies Falls “Aukoerebis” which means “place of great noise”. It aptly describes the thunderous sound of water cascading into an abyss of the Orange River Gorge. The waterfall came into being some 500 to 600 years ago; it’s about 60 metres high and the gorge below is about 200 meters deep and runs for about 18 kilometres. When the river is in flood, the waterfall is beyond breathtaking. The Augrabies Falls lie at the heart of the Augrabies Falls National Park which is located about 120 kilometres from the town of Upington. The national park spans some 820 square kilometres and stretches along the mighty Orange River. The gorge is an impressive example of erosion in a granite basement. A unique plant species found in the Augrabies Falls National Park is the giant tree aloe which is also known as the quiver tree or kokerboom. The quiver tree is so named because its soft hollow branches were used by the San (Busmen) to make quivers for their arrows. This incredible tree species has adapted to the dry rocky surrounds of the Southern Kalahari and can withstand extreme temperatures and infertile soil. A fully-grown tree stands about 5 metres high and creates a striking silhouette in a beautiful Kalahari sunset. The quiver tree attracts flocks of birds in winter who feed on its copious nectar; baboons are often seen sitting in the tree tearing flowers apart to suck on the sweet liquid. A prominent feature of the Augrabies Falls National Park is Moon Rock which is a large exfoliation dome measuring some 700 metres wide by 100 metres high. A unique animal found in the national park is the Augrabies flat lizard, otherwise known as the Broadley’s flat lizard. Other animals to look out for in the Augrabies Falls National Park is the klipspringer antelope and the endangered desert black rhino.
  • The Richtersveld
The Richtersveld is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which consists of 3 biomes; desert, succulent Karoo and fynbos (fine bush). The vast undulating landscapes are endless and it’s the perfect place to seek absolute peace and tranquility. Spanning some 16 000 hectares, the region is renowned for its ancient San rock engravings at Vioolsdrift and the Rooiberg picnic area which is surrounded by almost supernatural ‘halfmens’ (half-people) trees. You’ll also interact with the Nama people who have maintained many of their traditional ways which include building rush-mat houses which can be picked up and relocated during the seasonal migration times when large herds of antelope move to new grazing grounds.  
  • Quiver Tree Forest
A striking feature of the Southern Kalahari is the world’s largest colony of flowering aloes known as the kokerboom or quiver trees. This fascinating collection is found on GannabosFarm near the towns of Loeriesfontein and Nieuwoudtville. The quiver tree can live up to 400 years due to its unique ability to store water in its trunk. It’s perfectly adapted to the arid conditions of the Kalahari Desert and stands proudly on the stark desert landscape. The name ‘quiver tree’ was given by the San people (Bushmen) who used the dried-out hollow branches as quivers for their poisoned arrows. Sociable weavers build massive nests in the branches of the kokerboom; they’re multi-chambered nests that can weigh up to 300 kilograms each.  
  • Tankwa National Park
Tankwa Karoo National Park is a remote and rugged wilderness area in the Northern Cape and renowned for its stark beauty. Incredible wildlife sightings include red hartebeest and oryx as well as an array of desert-adapted birds and reptiles. Stargazing, photographic safari tours and 4-wheel-drive tours are popular attractions as well as the dramatic landscapes and absolute peace and tranquility. The area is sparsely inhabited and visitors need to travel in 4WD vehicles and carry a satellite phone on them. Accommodation in Tankwa Karoo National Park ranges from safari lodges, guesthouses, self-catering cottages and campsites.  
  • Mokala National Park
Mokala National Park is located south-southwest of Kimberley and is home to some of South Africa’s most endangered animal species including the white and black rhino. You’ll also have other incredible wildlife sightings of roan and sable antelope, tsessebe, black wildebeest, caracal, aardwolf, giraffe, zebra, kudu and oryx. Visitors staying in accommodation at Mokala National Park enjoy horseback safari rides, hiking and mountain biking through pristine wilderness. Accommodation in Mokala National Park ranges from safari bungalows, self-catering cottages and campsites.  
  • The Big Hole, Kimberley
The Big Hole of Kimberley is a massive hole in the ground which is the size of 8 football fields and the world’s largest man-made hole. It’s located on the outskirts of the capital of the Northern Cape which was in its day the diamond capital of the world. The foundation of South Africa’s wealth was laid during the frenetic days of the diamond rush which occurred in the dry arid region in the 1870s. Diamond prospectors discovered a diamond field in 1871 on a farm which belonged to the de Beer brothers. Between 1871 and 1914, about 23 million tons of earth and rock were excavated from the mine for a yield of some 15 million carats of diamonds. The Big Hole of Kimberley is now filled with water but with some imagination you can get a sense of what it was like when thousands of men toiled in the massive hole, hauling up rock and dirt to the surface using a rudimentary cable system. For more information on the diamond era and the role Kimberley played in creating extraordinary wealth for the country, you can visit the Kimberley Mine Museum. The Mining Hall at the Kimberley Mine Museum showcases a collection of photographs and documents which tell the story of the ancient diamond rush era. In the Diamond Hall, you’ll fine two replicas of the largest uncut diamonds in the world; including Eureka which was the first diamond discovered in South Africa. A restored tramcar from 1913 is a fun way to travel between the neoclassical City Hall (built in 1899) and the Big Hole and Mine Museum.  
  • Upington
The town of Upington is rich in cultural heritage and its roots can be traced back to 1870. A chieftain from the Hottentot clan wanted his people to acquire reading and writing skills which he knew could be acquired from the local missionaries. His appeal to have a mission station erected at Olyfenhoutsdrift was granted and Reverend Christiaan Schröder was sent to the area to educate the local tribe in these skills. Realising the potential of good irrigation from the Orange River, the Reverend and Japie Lutz lay building foundations and hand dug irrigations canals which are still in use today. The town of Upington rose from these early agricultural initiatives and expanded rapidly to become the commercial, agricultural and educational centre of the region. The home of the Reverend Schröder has been perfectly preserved and is included in a tour of the town. The main attractions in Upington include: • Donkey Monument at the Kalahari Oranje Museum • Camel and Rider Statue; a memorial to the policeman and their camels who patrolled the harsh desert territories • Roman Catholic Church built in 1861 • Reverend Schröder’s historic home • Date Palm Avenue; planted in 1935 at the Eiland Holiday resort, it’s the longest palm avenue in the southern hemisphere measuring a distance of over 1 000 metres • Oranjerivier Wine Cellars; the largest wine cellar in South Africa and the second largest in the world • Dutch Reformed Church; built in 1911 • Fruit sellers’ market; the region is known for its delicious table grapes, watermelons and melons • South African Dried Fruit Co-operative (SAD); second largest operation in the world and one of the most modern of its kind • Sakkie Se Arkie; for a wonderful sunset cruise down the Orange River  

MORE ABOUT THE TSWALU FOUNDATION PROJECTS

The Tswalu Foundation was set up by Jonathan Oppenheimer in 2008 with the single-minded purpose of involving guests in the foundations ambitious research programmes. Through Tswalu Foundation, benefactors may contribute to existing projects or even suggest and fund new research on a subject of their choice. The research programmes focus on the Kalahari’s unique and diverse ecosystems and the precious flora and fauna found in the semi-arid region as well as the well-being and upliftment of local communities living adjacent to the reserve. A few of the latest projects undertaken by Tswalu Foundation includes the following:  
  • Namaqua and Burchell’s Sandgrouse research project
This project investigates the conservation status of the Namaqua and Burchell’s sandgrouse in Tswalu Kalahari. There’s a need to understand the population dynamics, ecology and breeding habitats for this species in the Kalahari; as well as the assessment of the impact of non-exclusive factors, such as food availability, predation and water availability which impact on sandgrouse populations. This project is undertaken by Dr Aldo Berruti, Director of the African Gamebird Research Education and Development Trust (AGRED), who hopes to unlock the secret to understanding the biology of these unique birds.  
  • Aardvark research project
Climate change is a real threat to arid and semi-arid ecosystems which are expected to be severely altered. This project focuses on documenting the adaptations of the unique aardvark for survival in the Kalahari by understanding its body temperature rhythm and activity patterns; thus improving understanding of how this ecologically important animal will adapt to climate change. The project is undertaken by Prof. Andrea Fuller, Dr Leith Meyer and Dr Benjamin Rey from the School of Physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand who are particularly interested in the effects of climate change on wildlife. Nora Weyer has been the principle researcher on the Aardvark project since 2013.  
  • Kalahari desert birds and climate change research project
The project is focused on predicting how Kalahari desert birds will respond to climate change. This will be achieved by assessing the rising temperatures and increasingly frequent heat waves associated with climate change that are predicted to severely impact birds in hot desert habitats. This study is undertaken by PhD student Ben Smit of the Department of Zoology and Entomology of the University of Pretoria and the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of the University of Cape Town.  
  • The Colonial White-Browed Sparrow Weaver research project
The core aim of this project is to advance the birding communities’ understanding of the causes of variation in cooperative behaviour in animal societies. The colonial white-browed sparrow weaver in Tswalu Kalahari has been used as a model system. The project focuses on investigating two poorly understood mechanisms through which variation in cooperative motivation may arise. The programme in managed by Dr Andrew Young of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus in the United Kingdom.  
  • The Sociable Weaver and the Pygmy Falcon research project
This project investigates the extreme association between the Sociable Weaver and the Pygmy Falcon system in the Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve; a system in which the ‘predator’ not the prey makes the active association choice. However, the true nature of the relationship in this association (mutualism, commensalism or parasitism) is unclear and the system is largely unstudied. This study is headed by Dr Robert Thomson from the Department of Biology at the University of Turku in Finland, who aims to unravel the mysteries behind this unique association.  
  • Scorpions project
Scorpions are generally disliked; yet they form a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. This project aims to survey the scorpion diversity in Tswalu Kalahari. Location records are gathered in order to map out the distribution of scorpions in the reserve. The research project is focused on studying distribution within the reserve, ecological requirements and associations with specific habitat as well as recorded ecological and vegetative ecozones. This study is undertaken by leading scorpion expert and author of the book Scorpions of Southern Africa, Jonathan Leeming.  
  • How large predators affect the foraging and habitat use of herbivores?
This project focuses on how large predators affect the foraging and habitat use of herbivores in arid environments. Predators directly affect their prey in both lethal and non-lethal ways. Non-lethal effects such as fear and apprehension generated from the possibility of being attacked may be enough to change prey behaviour. Ultimately, risk-sensitive behaviour may affect food and habitat use, change ecological processes and potentially affect biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Thus, an understanding of the effects of fear (or the absence thereof) can play a key role in the management and conservation practices in reserves and parks. The project is undertaken by Dr Mohammad Abu Baker and Dr Adrian M Shrader of the School of Life Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.  
  • The secretary bird research project
The main focus of this project is raptor conservation in the southern Kalahari which involves the assessment of the effects of land use practices in defining heterogeneity across an arid landscape and the importance of this for avian raptors, including niche partitioning of raptors in Tswalu Kalahari. The project addresses a number of questions relating to the biology of this large raptor species; in particular breeding biology, post-fledgling inter-and intra-specific competition, and food selection. The project is undertaken by Dr Craig Symes from the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.  
  • Healthcare clinic at Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve
Dr Ludwig and Eva Focking of Germany championed the development of the Tswalu clinic and, together with the Tswalu Foundation and with the assistance of the state-run Health Care services, the clinic provides an important health care and health education service to local communities living in this remote part of the country. The clinic employees medical professionals who are willing to share their expertise while enjoying a stay at Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve. The dental clinic is well established and an eye-care facility is planned in the next phase. This initiative is coordinated by Dr and Mrs Ludwig Focking, the South African Department of Health and Tswalu Kalahari Social responsibility.  
  • Pre-primary crèche at Tswalu
Tswalu encourages staff to stay with their families on the property. Children in remote areas such as Tswalu may not have the same developmental opportunities as children in more urban areas. In order to ensure that the Tswalu pre-school children receive adequate education and development opportunities, the Tswalu Foundation sponsors a crèche for local children. The children benefit from interaction with other children as well as having access to a range of early learning opportunities supervised by a qualified teacher. The Tswalu crèche has been developed internally by Tswalu Kalahari Social Responsibility.  
  • Tunnel farming project
Tswalu Kalahari is continuously looking for ways to reduce its ecological footprint and sourcing local produce is an ideal approach to address this issue. The Kalahari is a water-stressed environment and the production of fresh produce is a difficult undertaking which means Tswalu Kalahari needs to source its fresh produce from a long distance away. With the assistance of the Tswalu foundation, a system of tunnel farming was developed where grey water from the laundry is used. Apart from providing fresh produce for the tourist operation, it’s envisaged that the gardens will supply nutritious green produce to local communities to address malnutrition problems in the area; particularly among children and people with compromised immunity.

Walkers Bush Villa Game Lodge Rates 2019

VALIDITY PERIOD 01 JANUARY 2018 – 31 DECEMBER 2019

Walkers Bush VillaRates and Tariffs
Luxury Suite | per night per person | CateredZAR60 000
 
 
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