Kwandwe Ecca LodgeAddress: R67, Grahamstown view map
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is situated in the heart of the Eastern Cape, within easy reach to South Africa's awe-inspiring coastline. It is a reserve that offers a perfect beginning or ending of a South African safari along the famous Garden Route. The area's history is told in the wide open spaces and tranquil scenery through all the battles fought on and around Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. This area was the heart of the frontier wars in the 1800's and 1900's. This land has been desired by many men and cultures and now people live in and around the reserve in peace and harmony.
The reserve consists of 22,000 hectares (54,400 acres) of an incredibly beautiful but previously neglected part of the African continent where all the natural wildlife has been reintroduced and the land restored to its previous glory. 30km of uninterrupted river frontage along the Great Fish River offers a welcome source of water for all the game species. Thousands of animals roam this reserve including the famous Big 5, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard, Rhino and Elephant. The reserve is also home to a group of endangered birds which the reserve is aptly named after, the "Blue Crane". Kwandwe is the Xhosa word for "Place of the Blue Crane".
When guests arrive at Kwandwe they are welcomed at Heatherton Towers which in fact is an old Frontier War-era fortified homestead that is now the reserve reception building. It still has the dramatic gun turrets and private chapel and is situated a short drive from the popular Ecca Lodge.
Ecca Lodge on Kwandwe Private Reserve is a seriously modern and trendy lodge that if you did not know where you were you would be mistaken for being in a cosmopolitan city penthouse, except for the African bush sounds of jackals and frogs in the reed beds. Ecca Lodge is fantastic for families with the large spacious bedrooms and fold out couches for children. It has been designed to be an open plan lodge where the inside of the lodge flows easily into the open bushveld. Stone gabion walls and corrugated iron roofs still give guests a feeling of being safe in the lodge. The fun and funky décor of the lodge is fantastic, as you walk through and see life like pictures of animals with a slight artistic touch to them and the wrap around decks of each suite with private plunge pools, guests are pleasantly surprised with a hint of the traditional safari style when they enjoy an outdoor shower with a tin bath under them. Ecca Lodge is the funky and fun lodge at Kwandwe and guests are sure to have a fantastic time here.
Main area of focus in Caring for the Destination:
Conservation development and community upliftment.
Detailed description of the Caring for the Destination Initiative:
Sustainability of fossil fuels and renewable energy:
At Kwandwe all of the Lodges make use of bio-fuel that is created from recycled oils used in the kitchens and workshops. This bio-fuel is used to run and maintain the lanterns at the lodges and the running of the vehicles on the Kwandwe Reserve.
Community upliftment and development:
Kwandwe Private Reserve's social development partner, the Angus Gillis Foundation, has a number of sustainable projects running in the communities surrounding Kwandwe. Both the foundation and Kwandwe ensure that the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program continues to grow. The Reserve and Angus Gillis Foundation teamed up with the surrounding communities to establish services to meet this ever-growing need.
The Foundation and Kwandwe operates programs in rural areas of the Eastern Cape where the aim is to empower the rural people who live in conditions of abject poverty, some deprived of even the most basic of resources. The foundation works to develop and empower individuals, groups and communities, teaching them to be self-reliant.
At present the Foundation and Kwandwe are raising funds to develop and build the KwaDoli Community Centre that will serve eight rural villages in the Eastern Cape.
Kwandwe and the Angus Gillis Foundation launched an eye-testing campaign for all the children of Kwandwe's neighbouring communities. This was in response to the nationwide Spec-savers campaign in which children under the age of 12 requiring glasses will receive a free pair of frames and lenses. The foundation invited Dr. Trevor Davies to come into the communities and help conduct these eye tests and it was a first for most of the children in these communities.
Kwandwe Private Game reserve has conducted many conservation programs and projects in the past years; of these that stand out are the following:
Soil erosion at Kwandwe was earmarked as a very important project and to combat this issue a study was conducted and published in and beyond "Ecological Journal" and an implementation of this study has commenced.
Kwandwe has a small population of Blue Cranes (South Africa's National Bird) that are seasonal visitors to the reserve and breed in the areas of short grasslands. Kwandwe Ranges observe and monitor these birds in respect of their breeding success due to an alarming decline over the past decade. These birds are regarded as endangered.
There is a Cheetah research program due to the vulnerability of these animals. The study was to examine the feeding biology of Cheetah in valley bushveld and to establish the extent to which their normal feeding behavior was modified.
The introduction and monitoring of 11 Black Rhino on Kwandwe Private Game Reserve: This has been a successful program and guests regularly see these pachyderms in the succulent thickets of Kwandwe.
Kwandwe makes use of the fresh ingredients produced in the local communities and also participate in recycling programs on the reserve.