Situated in South Africa’s immense Savanna Biome, Tswalu lies in a transition zone between the true Kalahari ecotype and arid savannah. With the vision of leaving our world better than they found it, Tswalu’s mission is to bring together conservation and research for an unforgettable wildlife experience. Uncover below how this remarkable property commemorates Conservation Day not just annually, but as an integral part of its daily ethos.
Keeping the Kalahari Safe
In efforts to study and combat the effects of global warming on the species in the Kalahari, Tswalu’s KEEP (Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project) project, is the first of its kind, to try to answer some of the pressing issues related specifically to climate change effects in regions of South Africa. The aim of this ambitious project is to understand the impacts of climate change on the Kalahari ecosystem by investigating the responses of environmental change on various species. In doing so, the hope is that the Insights gained will result in better approaches for maintaining ecosystem function in the Kalahari, and infer what the future may look like for organisms in similar living conditions around the globe.
The Long Run and Tswalu’s Impact Statement
Tswalu’s recently released impact statement is a new tool developed in collaboration with The Long Run to provide travelers with annual data on operating sustainably while measuring the positive impact on local communities and the environment. As Tswalu means “a new beginning” in the Tswana language, the impact statement demonstrates transparency as to how the cost of a guest’s stay contributes to Tswalu’s long-term goal of restoring and conserving The Kalahari’s natural wilderness while respecting the cultural heritage of the region. Working alongside of the internationally recognized conservation organization, The Long Run, has bolstered Tswalu on a journey of continuous improvement as it is only awarded to organizations that demonstrate a holistic balance of the 4Cs: Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce. Adhering to the 4 C’s, a guest staying at Tswalu assists in various conservation and community initiatives just by lodging at The Motse, Tarkuni, and Loapi. From conserving nearly 500 species in 114,000 hectares to investing over $5 million in nature and people, guests’ money is being put to work through various research projects and initiatives through the Tswalu Foundation. Guests can also participate in various conservation projects throughout their stay, such as visiting the Dedeben Research Center and Tswalu School. With the lowest ratio of guests to space in a privately protected area in South Africa, Tswalu is more than just accommodation, providing guests exclusive access to a private wilderness experience. Being transparent about Tswalu’s financial choices will hopefully provide Tswalu guests with a clearer understanding of the cost of conservation and how much it takes to operate sustainably, especially during a time when the urgency of the climate crisis and sustainability efforts makes accountability and transparency so important.
Conservation Rooms in the New Loapi
New to Tswalu is Loapi, six individual micro-camps, each functioning as a stand-alone and independently run mini-camp, courtesy of GAPP Architects. In Setswana, Loapi means ‘The space below the clouds’ which is reflected in the camp’s environmentally sensitive, modular design suspended between earth and sky. The camp features numerous environmentally sensitive solutions, from energy-saving air-conditioning and solar-powered pool pumps to generous, shade-creating overhangs. Insulated walls, double roofs, and cross-ventilation naturally help temperature regulation. Furthering guests' experience, Loapi is unique in that each unit includes its own conservation room for guests to have an educational space to learn about regional conservation efforts and current research initiatives at the property.