Want a luxury safari but don't fancy battling the tourist hordes at Kruger National Park? Then head to the edge of the Kalahari Desert, where you'll find the stunning Tswalu, described by Forbes magazine as 'the best safari lodge you've never heard of'.
Owned by the billionaire Oppenheimer family, this is the place to come if you want to get away from it all - it's the largest private game reserve in South Africa, covering 1,000sq km, so don't be surprised if you go for hours without seeing another living soul.
Even in a country famed for its super-luxe lodges, Tswalu is the swishest and sexiest. Stay in one of the eight striking suites at the main lodge, the Motse, all of which have an open fireplace, sumptuous bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower, and a private sun deck; or rent out Tarkuni, the Oppenheimers' exclusive private retreat.
It goes without saying that there are game drives and bush walks, but here's the Tswalu difference: you get your own guide (we had the fabulous Joe) so you can choose exactly what you want to do and when.
You'll also get the chance to watch some of the world's rarest creatures, often with a gin and tonic in hand. Over three days we saw a seldom-seen pangolin (an adorable scaly mammal resembling a living pinecone) and critically endangered black rhinos as well as lions, giraffes and super-cute meerkats.
WOW FACTOR: Tswalu's
stunning outdoor 'room' The Malori, which allows
you to sleep under the Kalahari night sky in a king-size bed covered in Aldona linen.
FLIGHT TIME: 15 hours.