A frontrunner in everything that is good about South African wildlife conservation, owned by Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer, and located south of the Botswana border, on the 100,000 hectare malaria-free Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, Tswalu Kalahari, at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains, and overlooking the Kalahari scrub and grasslands, The Motse is an outstanding eco-luxury lodge.
Now the recipient of a Boyd Ferguson makeover, The Motse is a stone and clay and thatch build comprised of a main house and 8 legae or suites. Elevated and open-sided, the main house at Motse includes multiple seating areas, a mezzanine library, bar, walk-in wine cellar, pool, decking, boma, spa and shop. Described by Conde Nast Traveller as the epitome of African chic, everything about the main house is restrained, organic and natural: polished floors offset by stone walls; an outdoor dining area’s canopy made of sticks, roughly weaved, it’s edges spiky, jagged; and throughout, Tswalu’s distinctive red clay wall cladding, its unfinished look a Motse motif.
The food is excellent, as is the service. Feedback from returning guests is full of praise for the standard of food, the flexibility of the staff, and the fact that everything at Motse – from special diets to individual tastes – is easily catered for. Theresa Fehrson heads up the kitchen, and prepares anything from bush tucker to 5 course gourmet meals. Friendly, highly knowledgeable, excellent in every field, the service here is something else.
The suites of The Motse are divine. Like the main house, architecturally clean, understated, the use of glass acts as a fine counterpoint to the use of more traditional materials, while inside the same restrained themes are explored, and here the open log fireplaces add colour to the clay, polish and bleached deadwood. Open-plan, each room is divided into clearly defined sections, a private sundeck, a sleeping area, a study, a changing area and an en-suite bathroom. The beds are huge, comfortable and come with ceiling-to-floor mosquito nets. The bathrooms are equally fine and possess a stand-alone bath, basin, flush toilet and inside and outdoor showering facilities. Two of the suites are bigger, have two bedrooms, separate lounges and are designed with families in mind. All suites overlook a busy waterhole. The Motse can accommodate up to 20 guests.
Activities at Tswalu are legion. They include horse riding, guided walks, game drives, rock art trips, educational and cultural visits, star-bed sleep-outs and massages – either on desert platforms or in the newly extended spa. Horse riding is offered to all, with horses and trails for beginner, intermediate and experienced riders. The equipment and horse ride guides are first rate. Child friendly, Tswalu Kalahari sees the next generation as crucial stakeholders in its ideas around sustainability and conservation. The pools are centrally located, the junior ranger programme is oversubscribed and children are welcome on all game drives, irrespective of age.
Please note that bookings taken for 3 nights or more come with a private vehicle, guide and tracker, giving guests complete control over the shape and timings of their itineraries.