International restaurant award puts the southern Kalahari on the culinary map Restaurant Klein JAN honoured at La Liste Awards 2022 as ‘International Hidden Gem’

Cape Town, 3 December 2021Tswalu Kalahari is proud to announce that Restaurant Klein JAN was honoured at the prestigious La Liste 2022 gala evening in Paris on 29 November 2021. With South Africas first Michelin-star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen at the helm, the restaurant was awarded as the ‘International Hidden Gem’.

Described as a ‘restaurant worth going an extra mile for, Klein JAN is situated in the middle of South Africas largest privately owned reserve dedicated to conservation and research. Klein Jan was launched in April 2021 and is an exciting collaborative project between chef Jan Hendrik and Tswalu Kalahari. 

Creating Restaurant Klein JAN at Tswalu has been the South African-born Jan Hendrik
s great homecoming project. Growing up on a farm, 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, France – to home soil. The Kalahari felt like a blank canvas with unlimited possibilities, he said. 

Every taste at Tswalu Kalahari is a reminder of South Africas culinary heritage, interpreted in a fresh, modern way. Tswalus executive chef, Marnus Scholly, and Jan Hendrik spent two years delving into the authentic flavours, heritage foods and ingredients in the Northern Cape. 

The idea behind Klein JAN is to celebrate local and foster a sense of community. Our suppliers are the real heroes and have become part of the greater Tswalu family, which includes the talented teams behind Klein JAN and Tswalu. Being recognised as the worlds Hidden Gem will keep on motivating us to do better, to learn more from nature, and to keep searching for authentic stories from the Kalahari to tell. It is a privilege to convey the Kalaharis unique sense of place to the world.” – Marnus Scholly, Executive Chef, Tswalu Kalahari

In true
hidden gem’  fashion, the restaurant has a magnificent root cellar at its core. This subterranean storehouse is stocked with all the ingredients destined for the plate, many of them cured, preserved or pickled in-house. Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of the dining journey, bringing to life all these region-specific ingredients on a multi-course, seasonal menu. 

Dining at Klein JAN is a culinary adventure from start to finish with different courses – visual works of art – served in theatrical, interactive spaces. As part of their stay, Tswalu
s guests get to enjoy one complimentary dinner at Klein JAN, adding a unique dimension to a safari of a lifetime in the southern Kalahari. With the addition of this destination dining room to the guest experience, the culinary traditions and ingredients of the Northern Cape have become the shining stars of a seasonal menu rooted in local culture.


The wide, open spaces of Tswalu Kalahari have long drawn those seeking a deeply layered, immersive safari. Transformed by summer rain, the green Kalahari is nature at its most diverse and surprising, and to spend time here is to be touched by exuberant, soulful beauty. 


Through a vision of restoration and biodiversity conservation, Tswalu Kalahari is striving to protect this breathtaking wilderness for future generations. A commitment to celebrating local provenance, heritage and culture, as part of Tswalus journey towards greater sustainability, makes the reserve the perfect home for Klein JAN.

About La Liste

The prestigious La Liste offers travellers and food lovers an expert edit of the worlds best restaurants. The 2022 awards recognise chefs, restaurants and regions that are making waves in the industry through innovative cooking, sustainable sourcing and an authentic sense of place.

About Tswalu Kalahari

Tswalu Kalahari is South Africas largest privately owned reserve, a place of wide, open spaces in the heart of the southern Kalahari. Its low-impact, high-value approach to ecotourism ensures that revenue flows directly back into conservation work. With only two camps, the Motse and Tarkuni, Tswalu accommodates just 28 people and has the lowest guest footprint in South Africa. The property is unique in that it has a foundation dedicated to research. Through the Tswalu Foundation, research informs conservation and is a vital part of Tswalus vision of restoration. Guests are encouraged to interact with scientists and doctoral students in the field, should they have a keen interest in a specific research subject. Those who choose Tswalu contribute to the sustainability of the ownerscommitment to preserving the southern Kalaharis biodiversity for future generations.


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