This is a seasoned safari traveller’s favourite, with award-winning lodges in Big 5 territory in the Eastern Cape. The isiXhosa word ‘Kwandwe’ means “Place of the Blue Crane”, South Africa’s National Bird, which you’re sure to spot here.
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Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is about 30km north of Grahamstown – a quaint university town steeped in history – and about 160km from Port Elizabeth. It is home to several luxurious Relais & Chateaux lodges and offers unparalleled encounters with wildlife and the African bush.
Throughout southern Africa you will find safari lodges that offer sublime comfort, excellent wildlife, innovative architecture and spectacular scenery. A seasoned safari traveller’s favourite will always be a combination of the best aspects of several lodges. Unless he’s been to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and stayed at the Great Fish River Lodge. Moulded into the landscape and designed with a sophistication that is understated and purposeful, the lodge is a subtle combination of innovation and traditional standards.
The fun sister to the regal Great Fish River Lodge, Ecca is an innovative rock and glass construction wedged into the dense vegetation of a hillside overlooking a valley. With only six suites, each with luxurious en suite bathroom and private deck, the lodge is more intimate than its serene neighbour and features an open-plan kitchen that prepares hearty South African farm food.
All the heavyweights are in attendance – white and black rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, kudu, and the Great Fish River attracts hundreds of species of bird including the ultra rare blue crane and the majestic fish eagle.
Not content with simple game drives, the lodge offers exciting rhino tracking safaris, guided walks, canoe safaris, night drives, and historical anecdotes and storytelling from the local historian.