Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Return to Map of Eastern Cape Reserves © CC
View images of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve: Kwandwe
KWANDWE RATES: Kwandwe Rates
KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME
THE EASTERN CAPE
Private Game Reserve, one of the continent's
southernmost game reserves, is located in the beautiful and historically
rich Eastern Cape along 30 kilometres of privately-owned Great Fish
River frontage, surrounded by 21,000 hectares/45,000 acres of exclusive,
malaria-free wilderness. This location is a natural conclusion to
a journey along the world-famous Garden Route.
by CC Africa.
aptly means “Place of the Blue Crane” in Xhosa
(South Africa’s highly endangered national bird) and is home
to a population of these rare birds. It offers an exceptional safari
experience in a region steeped in history and culture. The Great
Fish River was a hotly contested border during the Frontier Wars
of 1779 to 1878 between the Xhosa nation, Dutch farmers and the 1820
Settlers from England. Kwandwe’s reception building is a Frontier
War-era fortified homestead, and the Reserve boasts its own intimate
The reserve is set on the edge of the former Karoo Basin
where several of Africa's vegetation zones converge and biodiversity
is therefore extremely rich. The Kwandwe landscape is dominated by
valley bushveld on open plains and rolling hills, with succulent euphorbias,
aloes and spekboom among the characteristic plants. Thousands of animals,
including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo)
have been reintroduced to roam the reserve, which is also a haven for
endangered animals and birds and numerous programmes to support them
have been introduced.
images of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, click Kwandwe
Kwandwe offers three (soon to be four) distinct accommodations:
exclusive Great Fish River Lodge, unique historic Uplands
Homestead, Ecca Lodge and the newly constructed Melton Manor,
are exceptional lodges, all offering world-class sophistication
and style in the African bush.
Fish River Lodge For
images of Great Fish River Lodge, click Great
Set along the aloe-studded banks of the Great Fish River, nine luxurious
suites feature bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor
showers, separate w.c, twin basins, personal bars, portable phone
for room service and covered verandas. The décor is African-inspired,
with earth-toned fabrics, indigenous timber and early settler antiques
and artefacts. Each suite has a private river deck and plunge pools
overlooking the Great Fish River.
The guest areas are spacious, with generous,
wraparound viewing decks leading from the dining room, bar and sitting
areas. The sitting, library and dining areas each have a fireplace.
The wine cellar has a selection of premier South African wines catering
for the connoisseur. Pan-African cuisine can be served on your private
river deck, or enjoyed under a canopy of stars in the firelit boma.
Alternatively, meals can be taken in the sociable ambience of our spacious
dining area. A well-stocked Safari Shop offers clothing, books, gifts
and African crafts.
The stylish and
classic décor at Great Fish River Lodge has been modelled
on the new Frontier Settler style, which integrates local African
settler history. Thick, roughly-hewn yellowwood tables, chunky kists
and woven basketry exquisitely blend with Persian rugs and plush
chaise longues. The emphasis is on deep comfort and contemporary
design elements. Subtle aloe green and slate grey hues are used throughout
the lodges to complement and enhance the natural environment.
The main reception area is situated in
a turreted, fortressed old farmhouse called Heatherton Towers, which
is situated 40 minutes from the Lodge. Built as the home of Arthur
Douglass, the world's first ostrich farmer, it has
spacious rooms, a shady, deep verandah, yellowwood floors and high
ceilings from which chandeliers hang imposingly. A welcoming fire blazes
from the huge fireplace with massive stone chimney. The glass-fronted
lounge and dining area follows the river's contours. It is surrounded
by timber-decking which overhangs the cliff edge, offering spectacular
images of Uplands Homestead, click Uplands Homestead
Uplands Homestead offers an alternative experience at
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and is perfect for those for whom privacy
is paramount. This
lovingly restored 1905 farmhouse contains three air-conditioned, spacious
bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies. Two rooms
have bathrooms with a ball and claw bath and one room has a bathroom
with an oval stone bath.
the sole use of a group or family, Uplands Homestead
is situated half an hour from Heatherton Towers (Kwandwe’s
reception building) and 45 minutes from Main Lodge. Children are welcome.
Uplands can accommodate a maximum of six adults, one child and one infant
Antiques and memorabilia reminiscent
of an 1820's Settler home elegantly blend with comfortable, modern
finishes. The sitting and dining areas feature high ceilings, wooden
floors and beautiful fireplaces. The airy
living and dining rooms each feature period fireplaces and have been
restored to turn-of-the-century style. A deep and shady veranda leads
out to the large swimming pool and gazebo.
has its own chef, who will create delicious, mouthwatering Pan-African
meals and local specialities for you. A private butler is also
included to tend to all your needs. Guests
also have exclusive use of 4x4 safari vehicle and a private
Ecca Lodge For
images of Ecca Lodge, click Ecca
Set in spectacular African wilderness surrounds, this unique safari
lodge boasts a revolutionary design – stone-and-mesh gabion
walls, sliding glass, timber and gauze doors and corrugated iron
roofing. Ecca Lodge is fun, flamboyant and fabulous, with a “funk-meets-futuristic-farmhouse” ambience.
Nestled into a gently sloping, densely vegetated hillside, the
Lodge is airy and open with barely a barrier between indoors and
the African bushveld.
suites feature bedrooms with en-suite bathroom, plate glass-enclosed
indoor shower, outdoor shower, separate w.c, twin hand basin,
large veranda and a private deck. There is a sitting area
which can comfortably convert into accommodation for children 11
years and younger. Interior design reflects natural
textures in hues of burnt aloe orange, rust and olive. Furnishings
combine clean, contemporary sofas with venerable old collectables
from the area.
Guest areas feature
a spacious sitting room with fireplace, dining room and bar area
and a deep veranda with expansive wooden viewing decks overlooking
rolling spekboom valleys with a backdrop of the distant cliff-faces
of ecca shale. There is an inviting swimming pool and an intimate
Delicious fresh farm cuisine is prepared
in the modern, open-plan kitchen and an interpretive centre provides
hours of entertainment for children of all ages.
Melton Manor For
images of Melton Manor, click Melton Manor Images
Melton Manor is a sole-use safari villa with four ensuite
bedrooms. Combining the very best elements of Uplands
Homestead and Ecca Lodge, this is a contemporary Frontier
farmhouse with added warmth and humour. This spacious
u-shaped lodge is characterised by high ceilings and deep, cool
verandas, each overlooking the central courtyard and its large
swimming pool. The bedrooms each have their own spacious
bathroom and innovative “butler hatches” for discreet room
Set in a beautiful location overlooking the Fish river and afromontane forests, Melton Manor is the perfect escape for a family safari, accommodating 8 guests. The elegant and simple design incorporates earthy, organic finishes, deep, inviting sofas, gorgeous Nguni rugs, dramatic photography, and celebrates the style of early frontier days.
The four ensuite bedrooms feature innovative "butler hatches" for discreet room service and the interactive kitchen is a cozy place where guests can chat with Melton Manor's expert chef.
The gracious guest areas feature fireplaces for evenings spent
relaxing with a glass of wine or reading a good novel. The
interactive, contemporary farm-style kitchen is abuzz with
chefs cooking up wholesome and always delicious farmhouse
dishes with Eastern Cape flair.
Meals and Cuisine
The Kwandwe chefs
feature Pan-African cuisine with an emphasis on Eastern Cape classics
like Ostrich, Lamb
specialties. Examples of favourite recipies
• Lightly curried West
African corn and coriander soup served with Naan bread
• Spice rubbed chicken with grilled bananas and ginger chutney
• Fire-roasted Karoo Lamb with caramelized onions and chilli served
with sweet potatoes rubbed in cumin
Homemade vanilla bean ice cream with macadamia nut praline and slow-roasted
Kwandwe caters for all specified
diets. When making your booking,
kindly request the specific
diet you require. Should specific items need to
be flown in, there will be an additional charge, which will be quoted
Children over 12 are welcome.
Uplands Homestead: All children are welcome.
Ecca Lodge: All children are welcome.
Children five years and younger cannot
participate in the regular game drives unless the Uplands Homestead
is reserved (all three rooms).
Child-minders can be booked at an additional cost. Other activities
for children include painting, fishing and children's Eco-Guides.
Morning, afternoon/evening and night game drives in open game viewing
vehicles, guided river walking and hiking, bush sundowners and picnics
on the reserve, fishing, rhino tracking, sleep outs, visits to hides,
Battle Field and Historical Tours to Grahamstown and surroundings can
be arranged. Other activities include Pioneer Cultural evenings and story
telling, as well as bush breakfasts/dinners - weather permitting. Wild
Coast viewing flights can also be arranged.
Game Drives: Twice-daily
game drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles. Other activities are bush sundowners,
dinners on the banks of the Great Fish River, picnics in the Reserve,
guided river-walking/hiking and canoeing, fishing, rhino tracking, sleep-outs,
visits to hides and Pioneer cultural storytelling evenings.
Interpretive Walks: Walking
in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is a unique way of experiencing the
in the valley is permitted only with
a guide and is especially rewarding for those interested in birds, vegetation
excursions are wide-ranging and can be adapted to special interests:
These include a tour of rock paintings,
stone tools and artefacts in the Valley of the Ancient Voices, or a
trip to nearby Grahamstown to explore the museums and historical homes.
For those with an interest in
military history, the area surrounding Kwandwe was the battleground
for ongoing Frontier Wars from 1779 to
1880 and is peppered with military graveyards, war memorabilia, forts,
museums and military towns such as Fort Beaufort.
Further tours explore the culture
of the Xhosa people, their myths and legends and oral history, as well
as their political development, dating from the mission schools of
the 1820s. Scenic Wild Coast flights can also be arranged.
You may track rhino and/or
buffalo under the guidance of an experienced ranger.
It is also possible
to go on polo or golf tours in the vicinity of Kwandwe Private Game
Kwandwe has a cozy library with
first edition books on the region as
well as other valuable books on South African history, fauna and flora.
Wildlife and Ecology
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve stretches along the lush banks of the Great
lodge and glass and thatch chalets
have been built along a steep cliff edge overlooking the river. The landscape
includes vast plains, deep valleys and gorges filled with spekboom, aloe
and euphorbia and is characterised by undulating hills covered in sub-tropical
thicket, also known as valley bushveld.
Game: The massive and ambitious wildlife
reintroduction programme at Kwandwe is now virtually complete, with
all of the large
known to occur here, once again roaming free. For the first time in over
100 years, Elephant, Lion, Cheetah, Buffalo and Black Rhino wander free
in this reborn wilderness. Giraffe, Zebra, Greater Kudu and several other
antelope are resident and regularly seen. Of particular interest are
the many unusual nocturnal mammals which are regularly encountered on
night drives; these include the comical Aardvark, termite-eating Aardwolf,
Bat-eared Fox and Springhare. This is also the home of the sociable and
entertaining Suricates (or Meerkats) which live in close-knit family
Birds: Kwandwe supports a great diversity
of birds with over 200 recorded species. Several of South Africa's
rare and endemic birds
occur here. Kwandwe
means "Place of the Blue Crane" in the local Xhosa language
and these graceful and sadly threatened birds are seasonal breeding visitors.
Resident species in the bush clumps and thickets include Bokmakierie,
Karoo Robin, Acacia Pied Barbet and Chin-spot Batis. When the abundant
aloes are in flower between July and September, hundreds of nectar-feeding
sunbirds, the Greater Double-collared and Malachite dominating, visit
the spectacular blooms. Ground-dwelling birds are well-represented,
with Kori and Stanley's Bustard, Southern Black Korhaan, Helmeted Guineafowl
and Spotted Dikkop all regularly encountered. In well-wooded areas,
the Black-headed Oriole, Knysna Woodpecker and Narina Trogon may be
encountered. Birds of prey flourish with Jackal Buzzard, Rock Kestrel,
African Fish Eagle, Black Eagle and Secretarybird among those most
Insects: Interesting insects abound,
with colourful grasshoppers particularly abundant during the warmer
bees and wasps are
prolific when aloes and euphorbias are flowering. Butterflies include
the African Monarch, Citrus Swallowtail and African Migrant.
Reptiles: A variety of small lizards
and four species of tortoise are present in rocky areas and bush clumps.
species of snakes (most are harmless)
occur but they are rarely encountered. The large Nile monitor is regularly
seen sunning itself on the banks of the Great Fish River, but will quickly
dive for cover when approached too closely. At night, look out for nocturnal
geckos hunting around lights.
Fish: The Great Fish River is home to
Banded Tilapia and Chubbyhead Barb, as well as the predatory Sharp-toothed
Catfish which has invaded the
system from the Orange River. Frogs are more readily heard than seen,
but Common River Frog, Raucous Toad, rattling Frog and Plaintive Rainfrog
are among the 17 species thought to occur in dams, rain pools and the
Flora: A great variety of plants occur,
with numerous succulents being among the most interesting. Flowering
are at their spectacular best during
the dry winter months. Common trees include the Karoo Boerbean, Sweet
Thorn, Jacketplum and Karoo Shepherd's Tree. A stroll around the lodge
surrounding will reveal a host of fascinating miniature plants, and several
species of lichen.
Habitats: Four distinct habitats (based
on dominant vegetation and topography) can be recognised. Bushclump
Tall Succulent Thicket,
Grassy Dwarf Shrubland and Riverine Thicket each support characteristic
animals and plants.
Kwandwe, CC Africa has followed their conservation model of restoring
pristine wilderness state. Over 2,000 kilometres
of fencing was removed, along with windmills, metal pipe-lines, drinking
troughs and other signs of organised agriculture. Rehabilitating the
land from damage caused by extensive sheep, goat and cattle grazing was
a project that was started several years ago and is expected to
continue for quite some time.
Up until the mid-1800s, the Fish River valley was full of large
numbers of game, which included herds of elephants and animals like
the now extinct Cape Lion. Before opening for guests in October 2001,
7,000 animals were re-introduced to the reserve.
Kwandwe currently supports the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Eastern
Cape Crane Project which monitors both Blue and Grey Crowned Cranes
in the province.
Top Return to Map of Eastern Cape Reserves Return to Map of Eastern Cape
tourist information and activities in the
Eastern Cape, click More
further information about South Africa, click More