Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Set in thick vegetation overlooking a dense valley, Ecca Lodge offers breathtaking views onto an escarpment of steep shale cliffs. Expansive wooden viewing decks provide the ideal setting to soak up the bushveld atmosphere with a leisurely lunch or a sundowner drink. Rooms are airy and open, with barely a barrier between the indoors and the African bush. Highlights of the guest areas include the open interactive kitchen, a gorgeous rim-flow lap pool and the nearby interpretive library.

Enticing one to gather and relax in after a game drive and safari activities, several different shared lounging and dining options are available both in and outside. A play center for kids keeps little hands busy for hours and a shared lodge pool provides the perfect place for a communal splash. An interactive kitchen tempts and tantalizes with colors and aromas, while our friendly and attentive staff make your every wish a reality.

Suites at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

The 6 stand-alone and well-proportioned suites have been individually decorated, each in a different color in celebration of the vibrance of Africa. Wraparound wooden decks with private plunge pools provide relief from the heat of the day. Furnishings are in soft linens, velvets, cords and eco-cottons in striking, bright and contrasting tones. Super-King sized beds, large bathrooms with free-standing baths and separate lounge areas with funky bean bags and day beds that can be reconfigured to accommodate families, all combine to provide a relaxing, sumptuous and colorful respite from dusty days out on the reserve. Outdoor showers tip a broad wink at safari tradition.

Activities at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Kwandwe is passionate about sharing their knowledge and understanding of the bush and its fascinating inhabitants. Highly trained rangers and trackers do their utmost to delight guests with the following wildlife adventures:

Twice Daily Game Drives

Explore the natural splendor of Kwandwe on early morning and late afternoon / evening game drives in an open 4x4 safari vehicle. An armed ranger and tracker team share their extensive knowledge of the bush with you as you track the Big Five, as well as a variety of other wildlife. Morning drives begin as dawn breaks over the Great Fish River, and guests have the opportunity to see the predators winding up their nocturnal hunts and settling in for the day. Many animals take advantage of the cool morning hours to graze before the heat of the day. In the late afternoon wildlife can often be spotted coming down to the river to drink. Night drives produces some unusual sightings, including aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox and porcupine.

Interpretive Bush Walks

In between game drives, take a closer look at the subtle, unseen wonders of the bush on a leisurely walk within easy reach of your lodge. Dense euphorbia thickets are best explored on foot, revealing a secret world of lichen, mosses and ferns. Various birds of prey and other species nest in the taller trees or in the spiny canopy. An armed ranger guides guests through ‘up close and personal’ sightings of occasional buffalo herds, various antelope species, giraffe, warthog, bushbuck or bushpig.

Big Game Walking Safari

Experience the thrill of tracking big game (white rhino, black rhino, elephant and buffalo) on foot in the wilderness, accompanied by an armed specialist ranger and tracker team. The walk lasts 3 to 4 hours and ends with a picnic lunch on the banks of the Great Fish River or at a scenic spot in the bush. Not suitable for children under 16 years of age.

Activity offered at additional cost

Save the Rhino Drive

Spend 3 - 4 hours tracking rhino with a specialist ranger and tracker team. Learn about the habits of this threatened species, the issue of rhino poaching as well as Kwandwe’s own conservation efforts. The experience ends with refreshments at a scenic spot in the bush. Activity offered at an additional cost

Rhino Conservation Safari

A recommended three night, four-day safari offers you the opportunity to participate in Kwandwe's exciting rhino-darting and notching program. Under the supervision of experts, the rhino is darted in order to plant microchips into the horns and perform ear-notching for future identification - an essential task to ensure the preservation of this endangered species. Available throughout the year, although the best time is May - September. Price excludes accommodation. Activity offered at an additional cost.

Kids & The Blue Crane Conservation Club at Kwandwe

Kwandwe provides an exciting and stimulating experience for children. Not only are there a host of tailor-made activities on offer through the reserve’s Blue Crane Conservation Club to keep little ones enthralled and entertained, but our malaria-free status and proximity to a range of family and child-friendly activities in the area make this a safari experience without parallel for families.

Kwandwe's two sole-use villas, Uplands Homestead and Melton Manor, are ideal for families. Days and safari activities at the villas are flexible and completely tailor-made with dedicated staff including a private chef, butler, ranger, tracker and safari vehicle. Children of all ages are also welcome at Ecca Lodge, with a maximum of two children aged 16 years and younger able to share with parents. Children 12 years and older are welcome at Great Fish River Lodge.

Children receive a welcome gift on arrival which includes a Blue Crane Conservation Guide comprising animal checklists, themed games and activities, and a pledge to ‘live green’ (‘Junior’ for under 6’s and ‘Senior’ for ages 6 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 range 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 molds from Plaster of Paris, beading, chocolate fun (making spider webs and insects from chocolate), Minnow’s fishing trip with a ranger, special game drives outside of normal times where available, baking and pizza making with specially designed ‘Chefs in Training’ aprons and toques, DVDs and popcorn, eco educational board games (learning about recycling and the how to care for our planet in a fun way), chocolate mould making, creature cookie baking, and African bedtime stories.

Giving back: children have the opportunity to plant Spekboom, a type of thicket vegetation that is native to the Eastern Cape and prolific on the reserve, and one of the top five carbon-storing vegetation on the planet. In this way they are encouraged to offset their (own small!) carbon footprint. Families can also participate in Kwandwe’s voluntorism activities through the reserve’s Angus Gillis Foundation, which works with communities living in and surrounding the reserve. Activities are tailored according to individual and family interests and skill sets. For young guests this includes assisting with gardening projects at the local Mgcamabele Community; participating in arts and craft activities; and toddlers are invited to join in playtime at the pre-school. Children are also welcome to participate in Kwandwe’s ‘Knit a Bit’ program. The knitted squares are joined to make blankets and given to the Angus Gillis Foundation that distributes them to the needy communities surrounding Kwandwe.

Game drives at Ecca Lodge: regretfully, children 5 years and younger cannot participate in game drives unless a sole use vehicle is booked. When available this will be provided at no charge - ideally during the day so as not to clash with scheduled game drives (early morning and evening), otherwise a charge will apply. Children aged 6 to 11 can be accommodated on game drives at the lodge manager’s discretion. Children are however welcome to join a daily ‘Stripes & Hooves’ adventure at Ecca Lodge, a daily one hour morning game drive after breakfast with or without their parents to view ‘non-aggressive’ game such as giraffe, zebra, monkeys, warthogs etc at no additional cost.

A children’s menu is available at all lodges, including fun and nutritious mealtime options such as fish cakes with veggies and homemade chips; vegetable soup and freshly baked bread; DIY pizzas with fun toppings; fresh fruit salad; homemade chocolate brownies and more!

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge


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