Kwandwe Ecca Lodge is one of five properties located within Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. It’s a contemporary and family-friendly property, and it makes for a thrilling stop along the Garden Route. The lodge has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor! Accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, twice-daily game drives, nature walks, big game tracking, transfers between the homestead and Kwandwe’s airstrip, childminding, and a laundry service.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge is accessed via road transfer from Kwandwe’s airstrip or by driving into the reserve from Port Elizabeth (2 hours 30 minutes). It’s situated in the central region of Kwandwe, amidst hills clad in the small succulent known as spekboom.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Guest accommodation consists of three double suites and three family suites. Each occupies a structure made up of wood-panelled walls, stone-filled gabions, and a sturdy corrugated iron roof. The interiors are contemporary and colourful, and very spacious too. The double suite option contains a super-king-size bed with lighting over, bedside units, a writing desk cum vanity table with chair, and a large wardrobe. This space adjoins a lounge area, where you’ll find comfortable seating and a coffee table. The en-suite washroom offers separate flush toilet, twin washbasins, walk-in shower, and bathtub. Additional amenities include air conditioning, ceiling fans, a mini-bar, and a hairdryer. Sliding doors from all areas lead out onto a private deck, which boasts an outside shower and a plunge pool! In the family suite, the lounge is put to use as a second bedroom, for a maximum of two children aged 0–16 years.
The main lodge at Ecca is also made out of wood, stone, and corrugated iron, and it’s approached from the guest suites along well-marked pathways. Its interiors are similar to those of the suites as well. In the lounge, well-cushioned sofas and armchairs surround coffee tables, and a cosy fireplace provides some welcome warmth during the chillier months of the year! There are a few books too, and guests can also do a little reading in the lodge’s library, which has a television and some wildlife DVDs too. The dining area has a pleasant informal feel, and it forms part of an interactive kitchen so you can chat with the kitchen staff while they prepare delicious meals! Alternatively, private dining can be arranged. A decent assortment of drinks is available from the bar. The children’s play centre offers some games and interactive activities, and everyone can enjoy a refreshing dip in the shared swimming pool! The pool is set within a generously proportioned deck, where sunloungers are positioned in the shade.
- Ecca’s activities focus on exploring Kwandwe, enjoying some exceptionally good game viewing and a few other excursions.
- The reserve covers approximately 220 square kilometres of savanna, shrubs, thickets, and water sources. The Great Fish River flows for 19 miles through this expanse of land, enticing a broad range of wildlife.
- All Big Five live here – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo.
- You can also look out for smaller predators such as cheetah, hyena, and rare wild dog, and other herbivores including hippo, giraffe, black wildebeest, zebra, eland, kudu, red hartebeest, steenbok, and gemsbok.
- Kwandwe’s a great destination for birders too, with over 300 types of feathery friend in residence. Just a few examples of specials are ostrich, crowned eagle, Kori bustard, red-billed oxpecker, and the blue crane from which the name of the reserve derives.
- Expertly guided game drives take place during early morning and late afternoon into evening, and guests of each family suite are allocated their own vehicle complete with private ranger and tracker!
- Nature walks, designed to introduce guests to the smaller species in the reserve, start out after breakfast. This activity has a minimum age requirement of 12 years, so if you’re here with younger children this is the ideal time for them to pop to the play centre, where they’ll be well looked after by a designated childminder.
- Moreover, guests must be at least 16 years old to participate in big game tracking. However, special-interest safaris involving photography, rhino conservation, and birding are available for all.
- Catch-and-release fishing is offered too, either in still water or in the Great Fish River. Among the species that might bite are largemouth bass, one of the biggest basses in the world!