Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
Eastern Cape, South Africa
At a Glance
End your Garden Route adventure on a high at this top end safari destination on the Eastern Cape.
Soak up the sweeping views of this unique private reserve from your luxurious suite.
Relax by your private pool during the heat of the day.
Experience one of the largest private big 5 game viewing areas in South Africa.
Dine on delicious African-inspired meals under a carpet of stars.
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 Great Fish River Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to South Africa
Kwandwe Game Reserve is situated in the non-malarial Eastern Cape. Great Fish River Lodge comprises nine luxurious thatched suites, each with its own private plunge pool, which are linked to the lodge by wooden walkways.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve stretches along 42 km of the Great Fish River and each of the nine luxurious glass and thatch suites at Great Fish River Lodge overlooks its lush riverbanks. The stunning suites are found along the meandering river and have a private plunge pool and observation deck with spectacular views over the river valley.
High ceilings and huge stone chimneys dominate the main guest areas and dark leather armchairs and deep coloured rugs create inviting spaces to relax and unwind. Sumptuous local cuisine can be enjoyed on the viewing decks, in the dining room, by lantern light in the cosy walled boma or in any of a number of awe inspiring locations across the reserve.
The 15,800 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.
Great Fish River Lodge offers nine luxurious glass and thatch suites overlooking lush riverbanks. Each chalet features overhead fans, air-conditioning and an en-suite bathroom, complete with bath and indoor and outdoor showers. The private plunge pool provides welcome respite from the midday sun and the observation deck has spectacular views over the river valley.
There are 9 suites which all have double rooms with en-suite bathrooms, with indoor/outdoor showers. The suites have private verandas with plunge pool.
Children are welcome to stay at Great Fish Rover Lodge, however a minimum age of 12 years is a requirement.
Facilities at the lodge include private plunge pools and delightful guest areas with dark leather armchairs and deep coloured rugs which create inviting spaces. Sumptuous local cuisine can be enjoyed on the viewing decks, in the dining room, by lantern light in the cosy walled boma or in any of a number of awe inspiring locations across the reserve.
Game drives with an armed ranger and experienced tracker team, interpretive bush walks, fishing, canoeing, bush picnics are all included in room rates however luxury walking adventures, rhino darting and tailor made safaris are charged additionally.
You can also take to the skies in a fixed wing aircraft over the frontier region. Fly over whales and dolphins along the coastline and soar over the largest active sand dunes in the southern hemisphere, following the route taken by the early settlers.
Anna Hearn (Staff)
The first thing that struck us when we were shown into Kwandwe was the immense floor to ceiling fireplace which dominates the main lounge and dining room area, and forms a border between the two its utterly breathtaking, and was made all the more so by the roaring fire which greeted us. Kwandwe has the perfect position set high above a slender and meandering river where we were told that hippos often hung out. The river is a mecca for the local wildlife often plains game can be seen coming down to drink and a few days previously guests taking tea had been lucky enough to see a leopard walk all the way down the opposite bank, totally oblivious to their presence. The feel here is relaxed opulence the lodge has a little curio shop and a library/ computer area but generally guests can be found relaxing on one of the enormous overstuffed sofas around the fire. Nice touches are found here and there on arrival back from a cold and slightly damp game drive we were greeted with steaming cups of Kahlua coffee before sitting down to a delicious meal complemented by Kwandwes wonderful house wines. For those wishing to choose their own, Kwandwe has a very well stocked wine cellar and the manager is happy to advise. Its a great spot in the heart of the Kwandwe reserve, packed with game, and perfect for adults wanting a luxurious bush experience.
Mr Oliver Day (Guest)
The guide (Jami) at the Kwandwe - Great Fish River Lodge - was fantastic. The safari experience could not have been better - from the variety of animals that we saw and the knowledge and passion of our guide, we would absolutely recommend this lodge to others in the future. The safari experience exceeded our expectations and we loved the additional touches of mid-morning and evening drinks while out in the safari trucks.
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 on the banks of the river 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, friendly and earthy in feel and decor. For couples and honeymooners it is a great choice as it definitely feels quite grown up and more sophisticated than other properties.
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.
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
Set along the 30 km of privately owned, lush green banks of the river after which it is named, Great Fish River. 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.
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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