Kwandwe Private Game Reserve


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Kwandwe Private Game Reserve was the 2nd safari stop on our road trip around the Eastern Cape. Personally, this was my most favourite stay on our trip, unfortunately we were only able to spend 1 night due to them being fully booked, but we will definitely be heading back there soon!

This absolute gem of a property is the most spectacular Big Five experience in the malaria free region of the Eastern Cape. Well in my humble opinion at least!
This 22 000 hectare reserve is situated near Grahamstown; and is only 160km (100 miles) from Port Elizabeth Airport. They also have a landing strip that means you can take any number of daily flights from Cape Town or Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth or Plettenberg Bay and then a short flight to the reserve.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve has a variety of accommodation options available depending on your taste as well as group size. We were fortunate enough to have a quick looksee of the new Fort House that used to be the owner’s home while he was building his new home on the reserve. It’s fully equipped with everything you need; from gym, pool, 2 BBQ areas, living spaces and 4 gorgeous en suite bedrooms. The other villas are Uplands Homestead and Melton Manor. Any of these private villas would be ideal for families or groups of friends traveling together.

The lodges available are Great Fish River Lodge and Ecca Lodge. We stayed at Ecca Lodge but I visited Great Fish River Lodge a few years back.

Great Fish River Lodge is located next to the Great Fish River and you have beautiful views of the river and surrounding wildlife. They do allow children at this lodge but they must be over 12 years of age. Some of their stand out features include a private pool in each suite as well as indoor / outdoor showers.

Ecca Lodge is the more child friendly lodge as they have child minders on hand as well as a small playroom for the littlies. They have a total of 6 suites here; 3 double suites for couples and 3 family suites that can accommodate a maximum of 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years old. The added bonus here is that if you are traveling with children you get a private game vehicle so that your children can go on each game drive with you and that drive is tailored around your family’s specific needs. This was really special as our 22-month-old son was able to join us on the game drives and see a large herd of elephants as well as giraffe, rhino and plenty of buck. We even stopped the vehicle so he could go and touch a tortoise. Special times and memories!

My pros, cons and top tips for Kwandwe Private Game Reserve:

    • an excellent addition to a Garden Route itinerary due to it’s easy access via air or road
    • room 3 is not a good choice as the pool of the suite is visible from the public area
    • due to the size of the reserve but a high density of animals you’re liking to see 4 of the Big Five; the leopards are very elusive
    • the rangers & trackers are exceptionally knowledgeable and really add to your safari experience
    • amazing for kids; the child minders are excellent and keep the little ones busy with all sorts of activities from looking for small bugs and insects to enjoying baking with the chef
    • due to the abundance of wildlife you have excellent sightings and many animals are seen close up
    • binoculars are a must on any game drive; here more to view the abundant bird life