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 Chateaux property is famous for. We were met with a welcome drink, a cold towel and fresh homemade 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 six 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 six individual suites with a plunge pool and outdoor 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 nine beautiful private suites with an outdoor 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 made an impression on me was how passionate they all were about the Reserve. The staff did go out of their way to give me an enjoyable experience. Unique 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 guests wish to see a certain animal was great.
The food and service were excellent, and my room beautiful. The design and layout of the rooms and public areas are well thought out and flows nicely. The private outdoor areas for each suite and large bathrooms with big windows out into the bush brings the outside into the room.
The game viewing was excellent and as well as all the animals you would expect to see, lion, cheetah, elephant and rhino, I saw some of the less recognised creatures, 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 than other reserves. Kwandwe is a 5-star Private Game Reserve and well worth a visit!
Kwandwe Game Reserve Review;