Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, which stretches over 282,000 acres across South African Kalahari, has opened its new Loapi Tented Camp. Designed to exacting environmental standards by Cape Town architectural firm GAPP Architects, it offers a wilderness experience in the largest privately protected area in South Africa. The camp is unique in that guests don’t share any communal spaces. Instead, there are six private safari homes, each an exclusive-use retreat or independently run micro-camp.
With expansive views across arid savannah grasslands, each of the six homes that make up Loapi (four one-bedrooms and two two-bedrooms), are tucked into the contours of the Korannaberg mountains and can accommodate two to four guests. The six homes span over 3,200 square feet and over 4,600 square feet, respectively, and are for those desiring complete privacy on safari. The micro-camps are at least 300 feet apart to ensure privacy, and each home comes with a private team that includes a homathi (butler) and chef, a private vehicle, and an experienced guide and tracker.
The modular design, combining canvas, steel and glass, was largely manufactured off-site to minimize the environmental impact and protect the iconic shepherd’s trees. The camp could also, should it be required, be disassembled and carted away, leaving the environment exactly as it was found, according to GAPP. It could then be reassembled elsewhere.
Designed as contemporary glass and steel pavilions incorporating a color palette of natural hues, the living and dining areas form the heart of each home, while highlighting the open-plan kitchen, fully stocked pantry and bar. Shaded decks have day beds for relaxation, a water-wise plunge pool, and a fire pit for sundowners and early morning coffee. The bedrooms connect guests to the sights and sounds of nature while providing insulation from the Kalahari’s extreme temperatures.
Prior to their game drive, guests can meet with their team in Loapi’s conservation room and learn about the research projects happening on-site at Tswalu. Additionally, the flexible itinerary allows guests to choose to spend all day tracking Kalahari keystone species, such as the desert black rhino or brown hyena, visit nearby pans where resident black-maned lion prides converge, or take a picnic breakfast to the top of Bushman Hill where Hartmann’s mountain zebra and greater kudu are often spotted.