Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA

Set in 54,000 acres of private wilderness, Kwandwe is one of the largest private Big 5 game viewing areas in South Africa.

With only 2 lodges and 3 exclusive villas, safari activities include morning and afternoon game drives, walking safaris, birding and conservation programs.

CONSERVATION safari in A private wilderness

Kwandwe is a celebration of what conservation can achieve through regeneration. Once farmland, the reserve is rich in biodiversity and lies within the Eastern Cape, where 7 of South Africa’s 8 biomes meet. The diverse and undulating landscape is home to several endangered species, including black and white rhino, and cheetah. 

Through the centre of the reserve the Great Fish River meanders for 30kms and along its course, you find Great Fish River Lodge. Further west lies Ecca Lodge, and in prime locations are the exclusive villas: Fort House, Melton Manor and Uplands. 

Renowned for quality guiding, understated luxury and the thousands of animals and wildlife that call the reserve home, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and accommodation options to make every African dream come true.

In July 2012, Kwandwe was brought by USA-based investors, the Chouest Family. Conservation and communities lie at the heart of the Chouest’s investment in Kwandwe. The family visit on a regular basis to enjoy all the reserve has to offer.

FAST FACTS

RATES

Rooms:
R 11 250 – R 14 440 per person per night

Villas and Ecca Family Suite:
R 37 000 – R 98 550
per villa/suite per night

ACCESS

Fly:
Scheduled flights from Port Elizabeth Airport to Kwandwe’s private airstrip are available. There is also a 2km tarred runway for private charters.

Drive:
1 hr and 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth.

CHILDREN

Villas and Ecca Family Suites:
All ages

Great Fish Lodge: 12 years+

Kwandwe is one of the best family safari experiences in Africa. Designed for families by families and a malaria free destination.

Classic Portfolio Since 1993

What we love

Classic Portfolio Since 1993

EXPLORE

One of South Africa’s largest privately-owned Big 5 reserves.

bio-diversity

View a wide variety of wildlife species and eco-systems in one unique location.

GET INVOLVED

From hands-on wildlife conservation to community involvement, you too can make a difference

LODGES & VILLA

From couples and honeymooners to families and groups of friends, there is something for everyone.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

The impact of your stay

Kwandwe is committed to biodiversity conservation and rural livelihoods. This is enabled through a sustainable tourism business, which is underpinned by a leading safari experience. In these challenging times, their robust business model together with a dynamic management approach preserves Kwandwe for generations to come.

Kwandwe, unlike any other safari experiences in Classic Portfolio and very similar to Marataba Conservation Camps, is privately owned and managed land and wildlife. While this model gives great flexibility, it also comes with great responsibility.

Every stay contributes through:

  • Paying R 400 per person per night Conservation & Community Levy. Funds raised are equally split between reserve conservation and community development.
  • For every guest who stays, 35% of the accommodation rate is allocated towards Kwandwe’s 5 Pillars of conservation, over and above the Levy. Guests can get involved through:
  1. Grow: Conserving bio-diversity and the ecology of the area. Re-plant spekboom, a wonder plant that is endemic to the Eastern Cape, on game drives and walking safaris and observe flora rehabilitation in action.
  2. Protect: Safeguarding vulnerable species. Take part in a rhino conservation drive and track the endangered animals on foot. Join a specialist Rhino Conservation Safari (extra cost) and get hands on with DNA sampling, micro-chipping and notching rhinos.
  3. Engage: Supporting and developing the local community. Visit the Mgcamabele Centre and the Ubunye pre-school located on Kwandwe, and learn more about their community projects in the Eastern Cape.
  4. Collaborate: Expanding wildlife populations beyond the borders of Kwandwe. Wildlife swaps ensure genetic diversity and translocations support moving animals to other protected areas. Request to be added to the conservation mailing list and keep up to date with planned projects and how to get involved.
  5. Research: Partnering with academic institutions to conduct biodiversity research. Set up a camera trap and inspect other footage to understand how we use motion detection cameras to survey moments and territories and understand more about certain species.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
LODGES & VILLAS

Something for everyone

KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Great Fish River Lodge

This founding lodge features a classic-contemporary style of simple elegance that embraces the lodge’s splendid setting high up on a bank overlooking the Great Fish River. The colour scheme comprises a calm and natural palette of earthy tones, from khaki browns to charcoal greys. Stone walls, thatch roofs and long wooden walkways bring natural materials into the interiors.

Designed to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living, each suite has floor to ceiling framed glass doors overlooking the Fish River. There is an indoor/outdoor shower as well as a bath, plus a private plunge pool perfect for unwinding in the privacy of your own suite. 

SEASONALITY: Open all year

CHILDREN: 12+ years

Great Fish
River Lodge

9 Suites

from R 11 250 per person per night
All meals and house drinks.
Morning and afternoon drives.
A specialist guide for shared experiences - big game walking, birding, photography.
Visits to the Mgcamabele Community Centre (subject to availability).
WiFi

KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Ecca Lodge

Re-opening late 2021.

Set in thick vegetation overlooking a dense valley, Ecca Lodge offers breathtaking views onto an escarpment of steep shale cliffs. Expansive wooden viewing decks provide the ideal setting to soak up the bushveld atmosphere with a leisurely lunch or a sundowner drink. Rooms are airy and open, with barely a barrier between the indoors and the African bush. Highlights of the guest areas include the open interactive kitchen, a gorgeous rim-flow lap pool, and the nearby interpretive library.

Each of the stylish suites features a spacious en-suite bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers, separate loo, and twin hand basins. Wraparound wooden decks lead from sitting rooms and bedrooms to private plunge pools and outdoor showers.

3 of the suites accommodate families and can sleep 2 adults with 2 children (kids beds in the lounge area). These suites are allocated a private guide and vehicle for a private family safari.

SEASONALITY: Open all year  

CHILDREN: All ages

Ecca Lodge

3 Suites &
3 Family Suites

from R 11 250 per person per night
All meals and house drinks.
Family suites include private guide and vehicle.
Morning and afternoon drives.
A specialist guide for shared experiences - big game walking, birding, photography.
Visits to the Mgcamabele Community Centre (subject to availability).
WiFi

KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Uplands Homestead

Uplands Homestead strikes a perfect mix between the genteel and the wild. The elegant and refined interiors, with their damask linens, antique silver and porcelain, create the ideal foil for the rugged bushveld and wildlife outside. Furnished with authentic antiques and memorabilia reminiscent of a stately Settler home from the 1820s, stylish modern comforts have been added, including a swimming pool, gazebo, and boma set amongst rolling lawns, surrounded on all sides by sweeping slopes with hundreds of aloes.

A dedicated chef and villa team create the ideal bush home, while a private guide and tracker lead safaris at your own pace. 

One master suite and two en-suite rooms are perfect for one family of up to 6 people.

SEASONALITY: Open all year  

CHILDREN: All ages

Uplands Homestead

Exclusive Villa
3 Rooms

from R 48 750 per villa per night
All meals and house drinks.
Private guide and vehicle.
Morning and afternoon drives.
A specialist guide for shared experiences - big game walking, birding, photography.
Visits to the Mgcamabele Community Centre (subject to availability).
Child minding
WiFi

KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Melton Manor

With sweeping views of the Afromontane forests, Melton Manor at Kwandwe is a contemporary frontier farmhouse with a modern touch. This sole-use safari villa, where the smallest detail of your stay is planned according to your specific wishes, is perfect for family holidays, parties, or groups of friends. 

The welcoming villa with its four en-suite bedrooms is cleverly designed around the central courtyard and a large, inviting swimming pool. In the bedrooms, the interiors humorously combine traditional mid 20th century furniture with the latest in South African design.

Our favourite is the interactive farm-style kitchen, which invites guests to try a hand at combining flavours under the cheerful guidance of the personal chef. Or, for a more relaxing time, simply watch as the chef cooks up wholesome and delicious snacks.

Melton Manor is perfect for families or a group of friends of up to 8 people.

SEASONALITY: Open all year  

CHILDREN: All ages

Melton Manor

Exclusive Villa
4 Rooms

from R 59 600 per villa per night
All meals and house drinks.
Private guide and vehicle.
Morning and afternoon drives.
A specialist guide for shared experiences - big game walking, birding, photography.
Visits to the Mgcamabele Community Centre (subject to availability).
Child minding
WiFi

KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Fort House

Kwandwe Fort House is situated on a knoll overlooking the wide open plains of the 54 000-acre reserve. This is a sole-use safari villa in a private setting with sweeping views of the Great Fish River valley. Fort House discreetly combines the very best of an exclusive safari lodge with the latest conveniences of a modern home, and offers total privacy and an abundance of space to reconnect with loved ones.

Further features include a  heated swimming pool, dedicated spa treatment room, wine cellar and guest pantry as well as indoor, outdoor and covered outdoor dining areas. Its central location allows for easy access to the prime game viewing areas of Kwandwe, while also being far from any of Kwandwe’s other lodges, affording guests ultimate privacy.

Fort House is ideally suited for families of up to 8 people, comfortably accommodated in 2 master bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms, all of which are en-suite. 

SEASONALITY: Open all year  

CHILDREN: All ages

Fort House

Exclusive Villa
4 Rooms

from R 77 750 per villa per night
All meals and house drinks.
Private guide and vehicle.
Morning and afternoon drives.
A specialist guide for shared experiences - big game walking, birding, photography.
Visits to the Mgcamabele Community Centre (subject to availability).
Child minding
WiFi

KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Into the Wild @ Galpin Tented Camp

Kwandwe’s Into the Wild program will equip you with the skills and attitudes that might one day save your life in the bush, as well as helping you connect with nature, and get to grips with what it takes to run a game reserve in South Africa, conservation work and all.

Into the Wild is focused on personal development through fun, adventure and challenge. During the four days, you will learn the fundamentals of:

  • Kwandwe’s conservation efforts and rare species protection.
  • What and who make a game reserve work by spending time ‘behind the scenes’.
  • Building and starting a fire (matches not included!).
  • Reading and using the wind and the weather to your advantage.
  • Following tracks and interpreting the signs of the bush.
  • Understanding dangerous game and how to read and manage situations (elephants, buffalo and black rhino).
  • Identifying bird calls and what they mean.
  • Large animal immobilisation and the processes involved (focus on rhinos)

Into the Wild is ideally suited for families with older children, a group of friends or a group of 16-18 year old children.

SEASONALITY: Available in the cooler months May – September.

CHILDREN: 16+ years

Into the Wild @ Galpin Tented Camp

Exclusive 4-day conservation experience
3 Tents

from R 19 000 per person per night PLUS R 6 000 Conservation Fees
All meals and house drinks.
Conservation guide and vehicle.
Morning and afternoon drives.
Hands-on conservation work.
Large animal immobilisation.
WiFi (not available)

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Featured Offer

Stay Longer

Stay 4-5 nights and receive 10% off accommodation.

Stay 6-7 nights and receive 15% off accommodation.

Stay 8+ nights and receive 25% off accommodation.

VALID: All year

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Featured Journey

Safari Sandwich & Island Unwind

We call this our "slam-dunk" combination as it offers fantastic diversity, easy access and is available all year round. It is also well suited to couples and families alike.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Location

Getting there

FLY

The closest commercial airport is Port Elizabeth.
Scheduled flights from Port Elizabeth Airport to Kwandwe’s private airstrip are available. There is also a 2km tarred runway for private charters.
Private charters can also be arranged from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

DRIVE

From Port Elizabeth, it is a 1 hour and 45 minute drive; transfers can be arranged. Self-drive guests leave their vehicles in the car park at Heatherton Towers, and are transferred to their lodge or villa.

COVID TRAVEL

Kwandwe complies with well-considered SOPs to provide the safest possible environment for guests and staff while ensuring a truly authentic experience.

PCR testing can be managed in Grahamstown.

Availability

Contact

Email:
reservations@kwandwe.co.za

Tel:
+27 46 603 3400

Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8am – 5pm.