RESTAURANT KLEIN JAN AT TSWALU KALAHARI SELECTED AMONGST 10 EXTRAORDINARY FINE-DINING EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD (TRAVEL + LEISURE)
Leading travel magazine Travel + Leisure, has singled out Restaurant Klein JAN at Tswalu Kalahari as one of 10 of the world’s most extraordinary fine-dining experiences. The US-based digital and print magazine provides a local eye on the best places to stay, eat, see, and explore, and reaches more than 16 million travellers every month.
Klein JAN tells the story of South African culture through food, from the ways of the old to the new. Creating Restaurant Klein JAN has been Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s great homecoming project. Growing up on a farm in South Africa’s rural Mpumalanga province, he felt an instant connection to the vastness of the Kalahari and knew that the time had come to return the spirit of JAN – his Michelin-star restaurant in Nice – to home soil. The Kalahari region’s underexplored ingredients were the perfect inspiration to open a new restaurant and bring fine dining home – giving the food from the Kalahari the global stage it deserves.
In the words of Travel + Leisure: ‘The adventure begins en route to this one-of-a-kind dining destination, since wildlife and matchless landscapes encompass the drive in. Combine a century-old farmhouse in the midst of the Kalahari Desert’s iconic orange sand, an awe-inspiring subterranean root cellar 13 feet (almost four metres) below, and a soaring dining room open to the wild, and you start to get the picture of Klein Jan, a transportive culinary experience created by Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen for South Africa’s largest private safari reserve. The surprises are endless and stupendous, both in the way diners physically move through the meal and the flavours, textures, and stories packed into the delectable journey that is distinctly of the Kalahari. This is no passive lunch or dinner; it’s participatory, immersive, and wildly thrilling, mysteries unfolding with every exceptional bite.’
Tintswalo Lapalala has introduced a new activity available to resident guests with a keen interest in conservation, who wish to spend some time with the reserve’s highly effective Anti-poaching K9 unit.
A small group of up to six guests will have the opportunity to gain personal insight into the adventures and challenges faced by the reserve’s Anti-poaching unit. The unit has an excellent track record and plays a crucial role in 24-hour monitoring and patrolling of the reserve. This does not only entail the protection of animals, but also of plant life as the reserve falls within the Waterberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers sanctuary and protection to all fauna and flora.
Situated in the Waterberg (Limpopo province), Lapalala Wilderness consists of 48 000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness that creates a safe haven for a range of African species, including the endangered black and white rhinoceros, cheetah, African wild dog and roan antelope. It is globally recognised for its rhino conservation efforts and was the very first reserve in history to introduce black rhinoceros onto private land.
Guests will have the opportunity to interact with the Anti-poaching team and learn more about the remarkable capabilities of the Anti-poaching K9 unit, which are trained to track individuals through the dense and rocky terrain of the reserve. They will also witness demonstrations by dog handlers and their K9 partners consisting of Hounds, Pointers and Malinios, showing off their impressive training and skills, and laser sharp focus.
Tintswalo Lapalala is known for offering interesting and immersive guest activities over and above standard safari game drives, to present a unique, sustainable wilderness and safari experience in a malaria-free area. Environmentally conscious and off the grid, the family-friendly lodge has seven luxury tented suites with private plunge pools, accommodating up to 16 adults and four children.
With 37km of pristine river frontage, unique wilderness activities include riverside picnics, fishing and swimming in rapids and crystal-clear rock pools. Daily game drives and guided bush walks are on offer, as well as a Children’s Activity programme. Excursions are offered to ancient iron age and rock art sites within the reserve and the community-based Wilderness School. Other relaxing pursuits include spa treatments, sundowner cruises, birdwatching, stargazing and romantic sleep-outs.