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At Ker & Downey, we are firm believers that any day is a good day for a safari. We have yet to experience one that didn’t live up to (or surpass) expectations, but there are definitely some game drives that stick out as extra special. Ker & Downey’s luxury travel designer Nicole Porto had one such experience on her recent trip to Tswalu Kalahari.

At over 27,000 acres, the Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve is South Africa’s largest private game reserve. Situated in the Northern Cape Province, the reserve is an unlikely source of desert luxury. Vast, arid plains mingle with sparse grass, thorny trees, and scars of dried up waterways. It’s in the Kalahari that you find Africa as nature intended, and where the rare reigns. Some 80 species of game are found here including all of the Big Five, and a treasure trove of plains game and predators such as black and white rhino, zebra, springbok, and much more. But the most coveted animal to behold in this region is most certainly the pangolin, a shy and mostly nocturnal mammal that is one part anteater and one part battle tank. On her safari, Nicole was lucky enough to spot the elusive animal, and the next day, had an incredible wild dog sighting. Keep reading to find out more about her safari at Tswalu Kalahari.

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Highlight of your trip? Our guide received word that a pack of wild dogs had just taken down a kudu, so we raced over to the site and approached on foot, getting as close as six feet away from them. We were able to watch the dogs devour the kudu for nearly an hour, then jumped back in our vehicle and followed the pack as they returned to their den to feed a female dog that had recently had a litter of pups. Witnessing the circle of life that close—the sounds, smells, and just the energy of being so close to these often elusive predators—was probably the most exciting safari experience I’ve ever had.

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Favorite Activity? Spending the morning with a habituated meerkat colony, following them as they set off on their daily hunt for grubs, spiders, and frogs. They are so used to being around people that you can be as close as a foot away and watch them diligently dig for their prey.

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Don’t miss… the Malori sleepout – the opportunity to sleep under millions of stars in the middle of the pristine Kalahari.

What surprised you about your trip? I had always assumed that Kalahari wouldn’t offer a superb safari experience, mostly because I thought it would just be desert-adapted species and not much else. I was very wrong—in addition to some truly spectacular antelope (Kudu, Roan, Sable), we saw lions and wild dogs, aardwolf, mountain zebra, black rhino, brown hyena, and African wild cat. For anyone wanting to tick off some of those more elusive species from their list, it is a dream of a safari.

To start planning your luxury safari to Tswalu Kalahari, contact your luxury travel designer.

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