When you imagine South Africa, you do not normally think of deserts. Yet, this country touches on the edge of one - the Kalahari Desert. This section of red, sandy dunes and semi-arid land stretches across seven African countries including South Africa. Although not considered a true desert - as it has too much rainfall - the Kalahari Desert does truly deserve its name.Kalahari is derived from the Tswan word meaning a 'waterless place'. It covers some 900,000 sq. km (350,000 sq. m), and is home to countless mammals, birds and reptiles. Some of them are quite rare, and for the chance to see such wonderful creatures you should consider something different than the typical safari holidays. Why not consider desert safari holidays? One of the ideal places to start, and even end, this type of adventure is the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve.Tswalu Kalahari ReserveThe Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve covers around 1,000sq. km (100,000 ha). It is a private game reserve, owned by the Oppenheimer family since 1998. The name Tswalu means 'new beginning'. This was the intent of the original founder, Stephen Boler, who died in 1997, after tearing down fences and removing dams to create this nature reserve.While no longer farm land, the Twsalu Kalahari Game Reserve is still home to the San Bushmen. For over 20,000 years, they have roamed the desert creating a life for themselves. As hunters and gatherers, they know the wisdom of the land. If you wish, on a side trip, you can visit the ancient carvings of their ancestors found in caves and on rocks in the picturesque Korannaberg Mountains.The SiteAt Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve, the desert remains outside. Inside, you are treated as an honoured guest. Those who wish to take part in these desert safari holidays experience the utmost in luxury. Typical amenities on site include a spa, large dining facilities with a chef (as opposed to a cook), a gift shop, laundry and valet services, a lounge, a library and even an outdoor heated swimming pool. If you desire, you can enjoy mountain dining, catered, of course.Desert Safari HolidaysThis reserve provides you with the ultimate luxurious safari experience. You can wander across the sand dunes, go on guided horseback rides, or even take to the air in a hot air balloon. Yet, if you want to experience the full thrill of a desert safari holiday, you need to go on a guided game drive.At Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve you will get to see all the animals you expect to find in Africa. The reserve is home to cheetahs, and roan, sable and tsessebe antelopes. You will also have the opportunity to visit meerkat dens. The reserve is also part of the Diamond Birding Route and you can see many rare birds through your binoculars. You can even stargaze at night using the giant telescope.Yet, the big attraction, and the reason why so many choose here for their desert safari holidays, is the chance to get up close and personal with the desert animals and reptiles. In South Africa, this is the only reserve where you can see the endangered desert black rhino and the desert elephant - a truly rare and breathtaking sight.