Kwandwe Ecca Lodge
Eastern Cape, South Africa
At a Glance
Arguably one of the best malaria free safari options in South Africa for families.
Be amazed at the interactive and creative activities designed to keep the little people busy
Create incredible family memories here where nothing is too much trouble.
Private family rooms and private vehicles for families make for a perfect first time safari experience.
Soak in those beautiful views from your private deck.
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Game viewing is excellent all year round. Summers (October to March) are hot and wet, were as winters (May to August) are cool and dry. Daytime temperatures in summer are high and may soar above 36°C/97°F. Winter is known to produce beautiful warm days, though the evenings and early mornings can be quite chilly.
Call us on 020 3993 5269 to start planning your holiday to Kwandwe Ecca Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to South Africa
Innovative, stylish and intimate, Kwandwe Ecca Lodge embodies a "funk-meets-futuristic-farmhouse" ambience, with just six intimate suites with spacious living areas and ensuite bathrooms. Ecca is a superb family friendly safari option in the Eastern Cape.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve stretches along 42 kms of the Great Fish River and the 22,000 hectare reserve is set on the edge of the former Karoo Basin, where several of Africa’s vegetation zones converge and biodiversity is 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.
Ecca Lodge offers a unique safari experience on the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. It is very modern in style with funky design touches throughout. Six luxurious suite rooms, which can be fenced for children, feature walls of wood panelling interspersed with mesh-covered stone gabion, and pagoda-style corrugated iron roofs. The suites offer spacious living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. Glass doors slide back onto wraparound wooden decks, private plunge pools, outdoor showers and fabulous views of the bushveld.
Overlooking rolling spekboom valleys, guest areas comprise a spacious sitting room with fireplace, dining room and bar area and deep veranda with expansive viewing decks. 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.
Ecca Lodge offers guests six luxurious suites. Rooms feature walls of wood panelling interspersed with mesh-covered stone gabion, and pagoda-style corrugated iron roofs. The suites offer spacious living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. Glass doors slide back onto wraparound wooden decks, private plunge pools, outdoor showers and fabulous views of the bushveld.
There are 6 suites all the bedrooms are en-suite with indoor/outdoor shower. They have a private veranda and plunge pool
Children are welcome at the Kwandwe Ecca Lodge and there is a kid's play centre. The recommended minimum age is 6 years for game drives, however the lodge can arrange babysitting for younger children, while the rest of the family goes out on a game drive.
There is a myriad of exciting activities on offer for children of all ages at Kwandwe. Through the Blue Crane Conservation Club, the Reserve teaches young guests about green living in a fun way, and encourages them to start their own initiatives once back home. Children receive a welcome gift on arrival which includes a Blue Crane Conservation Guide comprising animal checklists, themed games and activities (‘Junior’ for under 6’s and ‘Senior’ for ages6 and up), crayons/ pencils, a BPA free water bottle and a ‘Frolicking Rhino’ range of bath products including shampoo, body lotion and bubble bath (Kwandwe supports the Bespoke Amenities Co., who created this in support of their efforts to eradicate rhino poaching).
Activities for children include a ‘Bugs & Bones’ walk (a great way to stretch little legs and learn all about this ecologically diverse reserve whilst searching for insects, bones and skulls and being taught how to identify animal tracks and droppings), sand art, face painting, making moulds from Plaster of Paris, beading, chocolate fun (making spider webs and insects from chocolate), special game drives outside of normal times where available and fun activities with the chefs such as pizza making.
Facilities at the Ecca Lodge include private plunge pools, computer room, children's playroom and guest area featuring an open interactive kitchen, a gorgeous infinity lap pool lined with shaded decks and teak loungers, and library where you can relax and unwind with a good book. Ecca Lodge is only a 15-minute drive from the historic Heatherton Towers, which houses a well-stocked safari shop.
There are an array of activities on offer during your stay at Ecca Lodge. Game drives, guided walks, fishing, canoeing, bush picnics and rhino tracking are all complimentary at the lodge. Archaeological drives, scenic flights, helicopter trips and trips to local communities are charged additionally.
Amber Hopkins (Staff)
The two hour road transfer to Kwandwe from Port Elizabeth is on high quality roads with barely any traffic, is very scenic, and you can start your safari experience by spotting game along the way! The landscape of Kwandwe and the quantity and quality of game viewings are incredible, with undulating hills so you can see game from afar, and spotting a cheetah with four cubs within five minutes of our first game drive was absolutely amazing. Kwandwe is really expansive and therefore you rarely see other vehicles when out on your drives, and when there is a sighting only a maximum of three vehicles are allowed at the site at any one time, with each vehicle also only ever seating six guests unlike so many other Lodges and reserves. The accommodation is also fantastic - really spacious with baths and showers, an outdoor deck with plunge pool and scenic views of the surrounds, and a complimentary bar for guests to tuck into during their stay. The rangers, trackers and general staff at the Lodge were so friendly and welcoming, making the whole experience extremely fun and memorable for all ages.
Anna Hearn (Staff)
Everything about Kwandwe Ecca says its perfect for children its a bright, welcoming lodge with plenty of activities for children from the open plan kitchen (with a coffee machine complete with marshmallow jar) to the childrens play area with a television, dvd player and little desks. Activities here for children are brilliant we were told about the Hooves and Stripes safaris essentially a safari for children encompassing all those things that cannot eat you! A great idea for young children whose parents might otherwise be a bit nervous of them being in the bush, and a fantastic introduction to Africas wildlife. The rooms here are lovely and spacious, with wrap around decks and plenty of room for families to really spread out. We particularly loved the glass walled bath, made of thousands of little mirrored pieces perfect for distracting a bath-shy child! Childrens meals are on offer here, and for parents who wish to dine a little later, a babysitting service is offered as well.
Kwandwe Ecca lodge is on a 50,000-acre private reserve in the Great Fish River valley of South Africas Eastern Cape. In the last century, farmers, hunters, and poachers eradicated the wild animals that roamed freely here; more recently, what had become barren farmland has been rehabilitated into pristine bushveld. This is the lodge to pick if you want a quick safari fix after a beach holiday in Cape Town: Besides ease of access, you get to view the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, cheetah, lion, and rhino) without the threat of malaria (Kwandwe falls within a vast malaria-free area.) Each of the six suites is luxuriously appointed and spacious, with a separate living room, an enormous bathroom, and indoor and outdoor showers. The decor is sleek and sexy, incorporating such retro elements as giant Warhol-esque prints of indigenous plants, bold orange sofas, and a mosaic mirror above the bath. Unlike at many safari lodges, theres no pressure to rise early, and the staff will happily adapt many of the days activitiesfrom rafting the Great Fish River to nature walksto suit your mood.
Camilla Smith (Staff)
A gorgeous safari option at the end of the garden route or those looking to head to a non malarial reserve. The lodge is beautifully positioned with stunning views out across the reserve. The rooms are large and spacious with huge decks with private plunge pools out the front of them. The lodge feels very welcoming amd friendly with bright vibrant colours and more modern in decor than Great Fish River Lodge on the same reserve. The lodge works well for families as the children can sleep in the lounge area with the parents next door, they also have a kids play area and babysitters are on hand if they do not want to do a drive. The staff are superb with the children and are happy to take them on treasure hunts, looks at footprints and dung etc. they all love it!
It is a stunning reserve with great game viewing and fantastic guides and staff, we send many guests to Kwandwe and they all absolutely rave about it!
1 and 2 day Photographic Workshops
Kwandwe offer private photographic safaris with award-winning professional photographer Mike Dexter. This experience is private and tailor-made, each safari is provided with a private vehicle and safari guide.
Big Game Walking Safari
Walking with big game in the African bush is a thrilling experience. Head out into the reserve, accompanied by your guide, and work alongside a tracking team to get up close to the game on foot.
Children's Activities at Kwandwe
Kwandwe have a fantastic range of activities specifically tailored to children to ensure that their first safari experience is educational, engaging and unforgettable.
Interpretive Bush Walks
Hop out of the vehicle during game drives, or take a walk from camp to have a closer look at the details of the surrounding bush.
Private photographic safaris and tutorials are offered by local award-winning photographer Mike Dexter. A private safari vehicle with ranger and tracker is provided to tailor-make each experience.
Private Safari at Kwandwe
Ensure exclusivity, privacy and flexibility by organising a private guide and vehicle for one or more days of your stay at Kwandwe.
Rhino Conservation Safari
This is one of the most exciting and educational activities we know of in South Africa, a chance to join the team at Kwandwe in the darting of their rhino for conservation and preservation purposes is unmatchable.
Save the Rhino Monitoring Drive
An incredible opportunity to witness at first hand the dedicated work of Kwandwe's rhino monitoring team.
Twice Daily Game Drives
Guests at Kwandwe enjoy twice daily game drives in open safari vehicles. This is a fantastic way to explore the vast and varied environment of the reserve.
Location & directions
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Nestled in the heart of South Africa's unspoilt Eastern Cape province lies Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, a world-class Big Five safari experience in 22 000 hectares (54 000 acres) of pristine private wilderness and featuring 30 km of privately owned river frontage of the Great Fish River.
How to get there
Guests are advised to fly to Port Elizabeth and proceed to Kwandwe by road or air transfer. A flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth takes about 1 hour 45 mins. The distance from Port Elizabeth to Kwandwe is 160km (100 miles) and can be comfortably covered by road in 2 - 2 1/2 hours. A flight from Port Elizabeth directly to the Kwandwe Airstrip takes approximately 45 minutes. Transfers to the Lodge from the airstrip or Port Elizabeth can be arranged by Kwandwe.
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