Kwandwe Safari Lodge
Kwandwe Safari Lodge
Kwandwe Safari Lodge lies in the heart of South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape near Grahamstown, and is a perfect Safari location at the end of the Garden Route in South Africa. A victory for far-sighted conservation, 20 000 hectares (49 000 acres) of farmland in the Great Fish River region were restored and restocked with African wildlife.
Design Holidays are proud to recommend our clients to stay at one of South Africa’s finest safari lodges – Kwande with the best rates and a full price match available on each one of our South Africa holiday itineraries.
Kwandwe Safari Lodge Accommodation
Classic safari accommodation: Kwandwe Private Game Reserve features the exclusive Main Lodge, unique historic Uplands Homestead and Ecca Lodge, all offering world-class sophistication and style in the African bush.
Kwandwe Main Lodge: Set along the aloe-studded banks of the Great Fish River, nine suites feature private plunge pools and spacious thatched game viewing decks with magnificent views of the wild yet gentle landscape. Stylishly furnished in Frontier Settler style, integrating local African culture with colonial settler history, the elegant thatched stone and glass suites feature floor-to-ceiling doors which fold back to reveal uninterrupted wilderness vistas. Guest areas have a large fireplace with massive stone chimney, and a soaring thatched roof with imposing chandeliers. Sophisticated, glass-fronted sitting and dining areas boast expansive viewing decks with breathtaking river views. Delicious Pan-African cuisine is served on the private decks, in the candlelit dining room, or enjoyed in the boma (outdoor dining area).
Uplands Homestead: This gracious homestead is a sensitively restored 1905 farmhouse comprising three spacious en suite bedrooms with private terraces – available for sole use by guests. Uplands Homestead has a large swimming pool and gazebo, and guests enjoy their own private ranger, tracker, chef and open 4×4 safari vehicle. It is situated far from Main Lodge in a tranquil valley and combines modern touches with 1820 Settler décor and classic architecture. The sitting and dining areas feature high ceilings, wooden floors and beautiful fireplaces. In the modernised farm kitchen, Uplands Homestead’s private chef prepares delicious Pan-African cuisine and local specialities. Nothing beats a true bush banquet in a surprise setting under the magical African sky.
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge: Innovative, stylish and intimate, Kwandwe Ecca Lodge embodies a “funk-meets-futuristic-farmhouse” ambience, and features just six intimate suites, each with an en suite bathroom with plate glass-enclosed shower, bath, w.c and twin hand-basins, as well as a sitting area which can comfortably convert into accommodation for children 11 years and younger. Overlooking rolling spekboom valleys, main guest areas include a spacious sitting room, dining room and bar area, interactive kitchen, sparkling rim-flow lap pool and interpretive centre. The ‘fun member’ of the Kwandwe family, Ecca Lodge is constructed of stone gabion walls and corrugated iron. Nestled into a gently sloping, densely vegetated hillside, the Lodge is airy and open with barely a barrier between indoors and the African bushveld.
Kwandwe Game Viewing
African Big Game: Ensuring superlative game viewing opportunities, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve comprises five distinct habitats which are host to a remarkable array of Big Five game.
- Lion, cheetah, hyena and leopard
- Black and white rhino
- Fascinating nocturnal wildlife are regularly encountered
- Breeding site for threatened blue crane
- Scenic Great Fish River
- Great birdwatching – 238 bird species
- Interpretive game drives led by expert rangers
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve Wildlife Habitats: Kwandwe is a biodiversity ‘hotspot’ with six of South Africa’s seven biomes converging in this region of the Eastern Cape. The bushclump savanna-thicket dominates on flat terrain and north-facing slopes with euphorbia, euclea, schotia, carissa and three species of tall aloe abundant. Tall succulent-thicket grows on steeper south-facing slopes with tall river euphorbia, honey euphorbia and Cape candelabra growing alongside sneezewood and other trees. Riverine thicket forms a narrow band along the Great Fish River, with Cape bushwillow, karee and sweet thorn dominant trees. Grassy dwarf-shrubland is an open habitat of sparse tussock grasses and stunted shrubs. The level of the Great Fish River fluctuates markedly, such that broad sand bars are exposed or covered. From June to August, the Reserve boasts a spectacular display of winter flowering aloes.
Mammals at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve: Kwandwe is a victory for far-sighted conservation with the successful reintroduction of over 7000 larger mammals taking place prior to the Reserve opening in 2001. Today, herds of elephant and buffalo frequently drink and mud-bathe at waterholes, and cheetah and lion are regularly encountered in open habitats. The home ranges of both black and white rhino are well known and these bulky herbivores are often seen, whilst hippo move between the Great Fish River and larger waterholes. Springbok are the most abundant antelope, with good populations of greater kudu, oryx (gemsbok), red hartebeest and eland. Bushbuck and Cape grysbok keep to dense thickets. Abundant termites provide food for the nocturnal aardwolf, aardvark and bat-eared fox. Black-backed jackal, Cape fox and caracal are commonly encountered smaller predators. Family parties of suricate (meerkat) provide entertaining viewing. Rock hyrax, red rock-rabbit and elephant-shrew live in rocky terrain.
Birds at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve: There are 238 species recorded to date at Kwandwe. Ostrich, secretary bird, blue crane, Stanley’s bustard and crowned lapwing are conspicuous in open habitats. Raptors include jackal buzzard, martial eagle, Verreaux’s (black) eagle and pale chanting goshawk. African fish-eagle hunt along the Great Fish River, where giant kingfisher, reed cormorant and green-backed heron also fish. Malachite, amethyst and greater double-collared sunbirds feed on the nectar of aloe blooms, and the strident calls of bokmakierie, Karoo robin and acacia pied barbet ring out across the plains and valleys.
Other African Wildlife: Tent, angulate and parrot-beaked tortoises occur alongside the more widespread leopard tortoise. Dwarf chameleon, southern rock agama and rough-scaled lizard are other interesting reptiles found in the Great Fish River. The giant bullfrog is among 16 species of frog which emerge after rainfall. Abundant termites provide a food source for many animals and their conical mounds are seen all over. Colourful lichens cloak tree trunks, stems, boulders and rocks.
A victory for wise land management and conservation, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is committed to CC Africa’s core principle: Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People. CC Africa’s focus: Community equity, income generation, education and health care are a primary concern. Managed by CC Africa, Kwandwe was established with an ambitious programme to restore 20 000 hectares (49 000 acres) of once degraded farmland to pristine wilderness condition and to restock it with game. Today, a diverse range of African wildlife, including elephant herds and the Big Five are once more at home in this fascinating reserve. In consultation with community organisations such as the Angus Gillis Foundation – a charitable trust that was created by co-owner Carl DeSantis to facilitate community development both within the Reserve and in the broader Eastern Cape communities – Kwandwe has contributed greatly to the empowerment and development of the local economy.