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Hotel Lodge Tarkuni Hotel 5 star
Kuruman, Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve 8460, South Africa Tswalu, South Africa -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Any lingering doubts you may harbour about the quality of the Tarkuni are quickly dispelled when you learn of its 'Relais & Châteaux' status, which just about says it all... It looks more like a little private residence in the middle of the savannah than a hotel. Indeed, you will soon find your bearings and start feeling at home from the moment you drop off your suitcases. From the high level of comfort to the happy, efficient and dynamic staff, by the end of your stay, you will not want to leave. Bliss!

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    Location 10.0 /10

    The Tarkuni is located in the Tswalu private game reserve, which is an hour and a half's flight from Johannesburg. On landing, it takes about another hour to reach the hotel in the middle of the savannah. The reserve's other hotel, the Motse, is a half-hour drive along the track.

    Accommodation 9.20 /10

    The Tarkuni has just five rooms and can sleep up to ten people. Coming to somewhere like this with no neighbours is such a treat, and if you visit as a group you will effectively be staying in your own private residence in the middle of the Tswalu reserve, which is an exceptional experience! The very spacious and stylishly decorated rooms are arranged in a semi-circle, with a four-poster bed (complete with a mosquito net) overlooking the large terrace. Every room is also provided with a safe, air-conditioning, hospitality products, a hair-dryer, etc. You will be disappointed if you expect to find a television or a minibar, but it is unlikely that you will miss them during your stay. The bathroom is a real winner, with a choice between a pedestal bath or an outdoor shower screened off behind attractive cut stones.

    Overview 8.45 /10

    The Tarkuni is replete with natural materials and free of any artificial objects, helping create a welcoming, Zen-like atmosphere. The decor has been very artfully designed and the place is quite simply beautiful, there are no two ways about it. Built to resemble a private home, the communal areas provide the focal point of the hotel. Inside, you will find a comfortable lounge area, a fine central fireplace and a big table in the centre of the hotel, with rooms surrounding them. You can relax upstairs in the library or in front of the television in the lounge, or otherwise head for the comfortable outdoor lounge area to make the most of the Kalahari desert heat. There is also a large wooden table for meals to be taken outside under the shade of a pretty pergola. A little further away, you will find a small swimming pool, and, although it is unlikely that you have come all this way to swim lengths, it is perfect for cooling down in.

    Food and drink 8.95 /10

    The Tarkuni's restaurant goes the extra distance and is more akin to a 'table d'hôtes', with a specific chef taking care of your meal. The varied meals can be taken either inside or outside, depending on how you feel. It is common practise to have a hot drink and a few dry biscuits before heading off on safari, and there is a buffet breakfast waiting for you on your return. It is not a huge spread, but hot dishes like scrambled eggs are on the menu. Lunch is also served as a buffet, with full table service for all the courses at dinner. The light, refined and delicious cuisine is simply irresistible!

    To know

    If you are hoping to take a trip in a hot-air balloon, an experience which we would strongly recommend, remember to book in advance because the external agency that provides this service is based far away in the city of Johannesburg, a 9-hour drive from the reserve. There is no need to worry about traffic jams once you are in the reserve though, as it has six vehicles with a total capacity of thirty people, which is plenty!


    • Car park
    • Spa


    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      horse riding


    • The comfortable facilities
    • The size of the rooms
    • The cuisine


    • The lack of amenities
    • The distances in the reserve
    • The floor is slippery

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10