Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
A tranquil and timeless big 5 game lodge perched on the banks of the Great Fish River, Eastern Cape
Kwandwe reserve – 22 000 hectares of prime game viewing country in the heart of the Eastern Cape!
Perched along the lush green banks of its namesake, Great Fish River Lodge has been designed to showcase the endless landscape in which it is set. Large viewing decks allow for a fully immersive experience in nature and are the perfect spot to watch majestic kudu meander down to the river for a drink, or enjoy an African sunset.
22 000 hectares of land straddling both the north and south banks of the Great Fish River have been converted into an award winning Big Five game reserve featuring a number of stunningly luxurious lodges.
Great Fish River Lodge is the flagship lodge of the reserve and features a classic-contemporary style of simple elegance that embraces the lodge’s splendid setting, high up on a steep bank overlooking the Great Fish River. This is a majestic place where you can watch kudu meander down to the river or observe playful cape clawless otters swimming in the cool waters below - all from the comfort of your suite.
Featuring a classic-contemporary style of understated elegance and earthy tones, Great Fish River Lodge is all about tranquillity and solitude. Nine spacious suites feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors, revealing an uninterrupted wilderness, and all have ensuite bathrooms, and an outdoor shower as well as indoor bath and shower. At the main area, relax on the outdoor deck, curl up in the library, and enjoy delicious African-inspired meals in the candlelit dining room or in the boma.
The end effect is a refined and beautiful look that whispers luxury rather than shouting it. You'll undoubtedly spend a lot of time on the spacious observation deck of your own suite, which overlooks the river. Here, you can unwind in your very own private plunge pool while sipping on wine and watching kudu come down to drink at the river's edge. The en-suite bathrooms, which come with indoor and outdoor showers as well as a large bath (which you may use if you can't bring yourself to shower outside in the winter), are another standout feature. In the summer, overhead fans and air conditioning help you stay cool.
At Kwandwe you will accompany a ranger and tracker team on your twice daily game drives in private open safari vehicles – night drives often result in unusual sightings such as the rarely spotted porcupine and the aardwolf and aardvark! Between game drives you can take a closer look at the subtle, unseen wonders of the bush on a leisurely walk. On foot you can explore the dense thickets, which reveal a secret world of lichen, mosses and ferns. The reserve is also a paradise for birdwatchers - in fact the meaning of Kwandwe in isiXhosa is “Place of the Blue Crane” and the reserve is home to a population of these rare and endangered birds.
The main lodge echoes the elegance and stylishness of the rooms in all its public spaces, with a large viewing balcony that wraps around the dining room, bar, and sitting area. We adore the fireplaces in the sitting, library, and dining spaces; they're great for curling up next to on chilly winter nights with a steaming cup of Amarula hot chocolate. Dinners can be taken in the elegant dining room, the cozy fire-lit boma, or on your own private viewing terrace under the stars (this is perfect for couples). Deep overstuffed couches and rough natural materials like rock, stone, and thatch mixed with soft-light lanterns create a basic but elegant atmosphere that invites you to linger and converse with other guests.
Despite being less than two hours' drive from Port Elizabeth, Kwandwe gives the impression that you are in a remote wilderness area. The 30 km of privately owned river frontage, which greatly enhances the reserve's aesthetic attractiveness and serves as an essential water source for the animals, has to be one of its highlights. The Big Five are free to wander on the 22,000 hectares, which at first housed more than 7000 animals. The ocean has an impact on the broad landscape of Kwandwe, as south-facing hills absorb moisture from the sea breezes, leading to thicker or taller vegetation and vibrantly colored lichens. The slopes that face north, on the other hand, are typically drier and more open, and as a result, they are home to stunning aloes that bloom in spectacular profusion in the winter. A forest-like thicket of Euphorbia trees also grows on the steep, south-facing slopes, where these prickly plants are immune to destruction by most animal species (with the exception of the black rhino), thanks to the deadly milky latex they emit.
If you can muster up the energy to take on some more adventures during the day instead of lounging about in your plunge pool, Kwandwe also offers rhino monitoring –you can spend 2-3 hours tracking rhino with the team and learn about the habitats of this threatened species as well as Kwandwe's conservation efforts. You can also take a Flight of the Blue Crane which is an hour’s flight in a fixed wing aircraft over the Frontier Region – or if this is all too hectic for you then you can either unwind and relax with a massage on your deck or enjoy a slow boat ride on Galpin Dam to the moored floating deck for a few sundowners! Everything at Kwandwe takes place on a grander scale, but it is the attention to detail and expansive, unmatched vistas that ensure your game-filled getaway is like none you have ever experienced before!
3 meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local & premium brand spirits & beers
Teas & coffees
Twice daily game drives
Refreshments on game drives
Nature walks accompanied by an armed ranger
Big game walking
Emergency medical evacuation insurance
Transfers to & from the lodge airstrip
Kwandwe has fabulously varied landscapes with loads of rolling hills, several large dams, as well as the many kilometres of Great Fish River frontage – it's also a big property which means you have a huge amount of space to enjoy on your traversing the reserve
We love the private plunge pool that each suite features – the perfect place to relax with a long and very cold drink as you look down on the scenic river below!