baobab safari

A private lodge in Botswana

Posted on 1 April 2015 by Part of Africa

Part of Africa is your gateway to a magical private game reserve in the Tuli Block in Botswana. Every month we ask a fellow co-owner to let us know why he or she decided to invest in this reserve. This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Dan and Kathryn, co-owners since April 2008.

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Can you tell something about who you are, where you are from and what you do in everyday life?

My wife (65) and I (70) are from Seattle, Washington USA; we are both currently retired but while working my wife was an interior designer and I was the Director of Research for a large forest products company in the USA (Weyerhaeuser Company). A particular focus of my research was on environmental, forestry and wildlife management. I was the acting CEO of the private game reserve from late 2009 through 2011. I performed this work on a volunteer basis due to my love of the reserve.

How often have you been to Africa?

We first traveled to South Africa in 1994 on business. During that trip we fell in love with the bush. Since then we have visited southern Africa (South-Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland) about 20 times. Every time we visit we enjoy it more and find more places to travel.

What is it that makes Africa unique for you?

On my first trip to Africa and the “bush” my wife and I just felt this incredible bond to the earth and thought about how mankind originated in this special area. The diversity of landscapes from the dry deserts, to the beautiful beaches and coral reefs, from the the swamps to the mountains and savannas and beautiful forests. The diversity provides a lifetime of travel opportunities. Each trip to a new area develops lasting memories in us. We have brought much of our family here on holiday and they all return home with lasting memories and a strong desire to return.

Kathy Sjolseth at private reserve

And what is special about Botswana and the Tuli Block?

We spent 2 years looking for a safari/game reserve to buy into. The Tuli block and this reserve provide the best balance of easy access to South Africa airports and shopping; it’s a very safe country and area, there is almost no risk of malaria, very low population density, wonderful weather, stunning scenery, star gazing that is incomparable and freehold land on which we have ownership and 99 year renewable leases on private sites. This is just a starter list.

How did you find out about the reserve?

Once we decided to purchase property in a game/safari area we browsed the internet. We responded to an advertisement. Quick follow up to our query provided us information that seemed too good to be true. We were very skeptical but did decide to make a “look see trip” from Seattle to Botswana in March 2008. I made this trip alone as my wife had work responsibilities. The visit convinced me that this reserve was made for me. My wife agreed for me to purchase one share. We discussed wanting to purchase a second share so about one month later my wife joined me on a return visit. She was equally taken by the beauty of the game reserve and we decided to purchase a second share.

When did you decide to invest in the reserve?

We purchased our first share in April 2008 and second share in June 2008.

What was the main reason for you to invest in this reserve? Did you also visit other reserves in your search for a place/reserve to invest in?
We looked at a number of reserves, mainly in South Africa but decided on Botswana because of safety, security, freehold land without potential land claims, a robust economy, a very low population density and high animal density, better tax conditions, and a number of other factors. We also wanted a reserve that was NOT a time share or focused on fractional interest users. We liked the concept of low density use, the ability to self drive, the ability and focus on being part of a community of like minded bush and animal lovers who were willing to work to preserve and enhance the area and environment. Our plan is to hand this legacy down to our children and they to their children. We think this will be a precious resource for lifetimes of enjoyment. We will be able to look back and feel that we left this part of earth in a better state than when we started. We are able to self drive and are alone for most of the time. We have also developed a group of friends that span the world. These are not just people we see every few years. They have become close and personal friends to have and share precious memories with.

How often do you visit the reserve?

We visit about once per year now for about 3-4 weeks. We have purchased a private site on the Limpopo River and plan to build a private lodge. Once the lodge is complete we will plan to spend 2-3 months per year here, hosting relatives and friends as guests.

Dan Sjolseth at private reserve

What is your favorite spot at the reserve and why?

Initially we fell in love with the Limpopo-River and the large majestic trees and the huge rapids. Then, after trekking up Lipadi Hill we fell in love with Lipadi Hill and the views, but also the varied vegetations, rocks and animals that inhabit it. Then we fell in love with the plains… Now we have no favorite and find new favorites on every walk and drive.

Can you describe your perfect day at the reserve?

Perfect day… There are so many perfect days. Typically we get up before dawn for coffee and biscuits around the remnants of the previous night’s fire, and head out for a 2-4 hour game drive in whatever direction feels right. After an hour or so we find a good spot for tea, coffee and snacks. We typically return to camp about 9-10 for a light breakfast, to read and discuss the morning drive. We might then take a nap and get up for a light lunch and another drive or walk from about 4pm until 7pm. Sundowners are a favorite. Returning to the lodge and a nice fire, a bottle of wine and dinner prepare us for a great night of rest. Other favorites are taking our dinner or breakfast in the bush, stargazing on a koppie, a walk along the river. Some days we just stay near the lodge to read and swim.

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Are you inspired by this story and do you want to read more stories like this one? Go to our Blog.
Do you want to get a real taste of what it feels like to be a co-owner of this unique reserve? Go on our digital safari.
Or go to Contact if you want to contact us to get more information.