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In the local Xhosa language, Kwandwe means “Place of the Blue Crane”, South Africa’s highly endangered national bird, and a fitting name for this 65,000 acre private reserve set into the malaria free hills of the Eastern Cape.

The Great Fish River, which was a hotly contested border during the Frontier Wars of 1779 to 1878 between the Xhosa, Boer farmers and the settlers from England, runs through the reserve. The reception building is also a Frontier War-era fortified homestead. There are six of South Africa’s seven biomes and a diverse and extensive range of game and birdlife in this stunning “Big Five” reserve.

This vast private wilderness on the banks of the Great Fish River is home to a diverse array of wildlife including the Big Five, as well as cheetah, hippo, springbok and giraffe. The soul-stirring beauty of the landscape can be explored on game drives with expert ranger or on foot as part of a bushwalk. The reserve provides superb game and bird viewing as well as providing habitat for endangered species such as Black Rhino.

The 9 luxurious suites of Great Fish River Lodge feature intimate living areas, bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, covered verandas and private thatched observation deck and each has their own plunge pool on the lush banks overlooking the River. Guest areas are spacious with generous wraparound viewing decks.

Ecca Lodge is innovative, stylish and intimate. It embodies a “funk meets futuristic farmhouse” ambience and is emblazoned with giant Warhol-like prints, retro light fittings and olive rust and burnt orange shades. It is situated on rolling slopes overlooking a beautiful acacia valley with a backdrop of steep shale cliffs and breathtaking views. The 6 suites are inventive and feature wood panelling interspersed with mesh cover stone gabion walls and pagoda style corrugated iron roofs.

There are also two stunning private-use houses: Uplands Homestead with three bedrooms and Melton Manor with four. Each house enjoys its own private ranger, tracker, chef and open 4×4 safari vehicle.

Key Facts
  • Luxury accommodation
  • Two separate lodges
  • Two Private Houses suitable for small groups and families
  • Malaria Free game reserve
  • Wellness Centre
  • Plunge Pools or Swimming Pool
  • Rhino Conservation programme
  • Game drives and bushwalks
  • Member of Relais & Châteaux

      Price Guide

      GBP £250.00 per person per night based on a Luxury Lodge on a bed & breakfast basis (based on Low Season)


      All meals, local beverages, game drives and bush walks, laundry, wireless internet access.

Room Types

  • 9 Luxury Rooms at Great Fish River Lodge
  • 6 Luxury Rooms at Ecca Lodge
  • Three Luxury Rooms at Uplands Homestead
  • Four Luxury Rooms at Melton Manor

      Children’s Policy

      All welcome

      Would Suit

      A world-class Big-5 safari destination in 22,000 hectares of pristine private wilderness. Renowned for understated luxury, exquisite scenery and a diversity of wildlife. A perfect add-on to an Eastern Cape / Garden Route itinerary and for families seeking a malaria-free game experience. Small groups will also love the two private lodges.

      Recommended length of stay

      We would suggest a minimum stay of 3 nights.

Speak to any of the team at Inspirational Travel to get ideas for your holiday or honeymoon to South Africa. Call us on 01778 382764.

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Our Address

Inspirational Travel
Sunderland Road
Market Deeping
Tel: 01778 382 764