My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It had been many years since I had been on safari in the Eastern Cape and I was eager to see how the experience had changed. We flew from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth where we picked up our rental car and drove the 2 hours to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. From the moment we arrived at reception we experienced the service that this Relais and Chatwaux property is famous for. We were met with a welcome drink, a cool towel and fresh home made cookies accompanied our check in.
There are 4 properties on this 22,000 hectare reserve:
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge
This is a great child friendly lodge. They welcome kids older than 6 years old (6 – 11 can go on game drives at ranges discretion.)
They provide special kids meals, a kids activities room and nannies are also available. There is a nice communal pool area for the kids to play in.
This lodge is in a more contemporary style with 6 individual suites with a plunge pool and out door shower. If you have children with you the lounge area of your suite would be converted to a kids room.
Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
This is the more traditional African Safari Lodge, located overlooking the river. This lodge is aimed more at adults (no under 12s). They have 9 beautiful private suites with an out door shower, private plunge pool and patio area.
Kwandwe Melton Manor
This is a separate 4 bedroom house with a large communal pool and patio area.
It is a very relaxed and beautiful lodge and you feel very at home here. You can also rent the whole house out just for your family.
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead
This is a 3 bedroom house that can only be rented by a family taking it for sole use.
My experience at Kwandwe was excellent. The staff were exceptional, every single person I met could not have been more helpful. What really made an impression on me was how passionate they all were about the Reserve. The staff really did go out of their way to give me a wonderful experience. Special details like pancakes cooked in the bush, champagne and pre dinner snacks in the bush, welcome notes in my room and the guides going out of their way to accommodate a guests wish to see a certain animal was really great.
The food and service was excellent and my rooms were beautiful. The design and layout of the rooms and public areas is well thought out and flows nicely. The private outdoor areas for each suite and large bathrooms with big windows out into the bush really brings the outside into the room.
The game viewing was great and as well as all the animals you would expect to see, lion, cheetah, elephant and rhino, I saw some of the less seen animals, I saw a porcupine, a caracal, aardwolf and a jackal. The guides are able to get close to the animals and they also offer the opportunity to go on a walking safari. The guides are well trained and passionate about the wildlife.
The Eastern Cape has become a real alternative to the more famous areas like Kruger. It is very accessible and is much less crowded that other reserves. Kwandwe is a 5 star Private Game Reserve and well worth a visit!