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Truffles For Africa

I will bet you any amount of money you like that when foraging for truffles in the likes of Piemonte and Perigord, there is no danger of you being stalked by a 550 lb black-maned Kalahari lion. I bet you thought you’d never get that chance, either—how wrong you were!

It just so happens that a type of truffle, distantly related to the French variety, grows wild in the Kalahari—a vast expanse of desert that takes up a good chunk of Botswana and northern South Africa. !nabas (the exclamation point signifies a ‘click’ in the San language) as they are known to the San, are very specific to this region and grow nowhere else. Due to high rainfall in the region this year, the truffle experts at Tswalu Kalahari are expecting a windfall crop of the things.

To encourage you to get there and have a taste of these rare treats before the meerkats gobble them up, Tswalu has an offer that should make your mouth water even before you find and cook your truffles. For 7,700 ZAR (South African Rand) per person per night, and with a minimum four-night stay at Tswalu in April and May 2011 you get:

– Free flights to Tswalu from Johannesburg or Cape Town
– Full board accommodation including all drinks and selected wines
– Walking and horseback safaris
– A private vehicle, and your very own truffle hunting team (better known as a personal guide and tracker)

This is a great deal any way you slice it but to sweeten it even further, children under 12 are free and pay only 50% for their onward flight after your stay.

As if hunting for truffles in the wilds of the Kalahari wasn’t enough, Tswalu is really an extraordinary place to spend some time. Unlike at other more rigid safari destinations, here the world (or rather the desert) is your oyster. What you do is completely up to you; you can go on game drives or bush walks, ride horses into the desert, eat and even sleep out under the stars, have a close encounter with a meerkat or two, or simply pamper yourself in the spa. Even the lodge is worth a visit in its own right, and warm, welcoming service perfectly complements the earthy luxury of the place. I could describe it, but I’ll let the pictures above do the talking.

Trufflepig will be visiting Tswalu in May to get a closer look at this amazing camp, and we promise to report back.

Due to high rainfall in the region this year, the truffle experts at Tswalu Kalahari are expecting a windfall crop of the things.

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