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“Fantastic Experience”

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Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 19, 2008

We went to several places in South Africa during the course of our honeymoon and definitely wanted a safari experience but didn't have the extra time it takes to get to Kruger.

We decided to try a game reserve but figured it would be sort of like a big zoo and not much of an authentic experience. We were proven wrong!

Although we cannot compare it to Kruger, we can say without reservation that Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge is an incredible safari experience. The setting is stunning and the area is vast. We felt we had a full game-viewing experience and our rangers and guides were fantastic.

The food was totally delicious and everyone was so friendly and warm - we really felt like they enjoyed being there and wanted us as part of the Kwandwe family.

The room was first rate and we also loved the main lodge.

I cannot say enough good things about this place!

  • Stayed: October 2008
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2  Thank piratesmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 - 247 of 289 reviews

Reviewed September 26, 2008

Worth the money. Absolutely fantastic lodge, great deck & private plunge pool. The champagne in the room after dinner was a great touch.

Game drives were excellent - very expereinced guide & tracker made the experience fantastic. The hot water bottles & hand warmers were a great touch in the late evening.

Evening dinner was a great expereince by the fire. Food was excellent - the chef managed to rustle up vegetarian food with no hassle at all.

If you are in the region Kwandwe is a must!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Awayagain_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2008

We spent 3 nights at Grand Fish River Lodge and was simply unique!
The lodge itself is wonderful, very nice rooms, freindly staff and good food!
But what we were amazed by is the reserve! We cam from Kruger where we had really nice time and we thought that would be for sure less interesting. We were so wrong!
The landscape is so different from Kurger, it looks like been in a differrent world, like on the moon! My CC Africa contat suggest me this place and I was doubting since I dind't read so much about the game reserve here, but it's actually a place you must see when u go to SA!
At our first game (just landed with a private flight, that was really a difficult experience for me due to the strong wind!), we have been taken to see a big old leon, fighting for life against a young leon! Amazing, very strong experience, luckly they both survied and the old one won against the youngest!
One night they prepare our room with candles all over and offer a bottle of champagne since we were in honeymoon!
I have to stay that after our SA trip, I decided that I will always book saying it's my honeyoon since the service is amazing! :-)

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DreamingSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2008

First time for game driving. Chose Kwandwe for location (having to fit in around other commitments nearby; and the guaranteed malaria-free zone was a bonus). Truly wonderful 4 days there. Room fabulous, food fabulous, staff superb, food terrific. Game drivers were awesome. We saw 4 of the big 5 (minus the leopard), but were equally enchanted by a bush walk with Barbara, during which we approached giraffe, and also had a rare sighting of a caracal.

  • Stayed: June 2007
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3  Thank Khattab_Towers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2008

Absolutely wonderful!
We spent our honeymoon in South Africa, starting at Cape Town, driving the Garden Route and ending at Kwandwe.
We certainly did it right, as Kwandwe was the highlight of our trip.
The lodge is easy to get to, we drove ourselves up to the reserve and were wowed by everything thereafter.
The staff is fabulous, and Steve, our ranger, was exceptional.
The lodge is beautiful and our cabin was extraordinary. For being a captive audience, the food could have been average, but it was exceptionally good. The price is inclusive of all drives, all meals, including all drinks (primo spirits excluded).
CC Africa manages the reserve, and we were impressed all the way. We will use CC Africa again.
Game-wise we saw pretty much all we wanted to see, but if you are looking for a LOT of game, this is not the reserve to go to (it is ten years old). For us, this was a fabulous first safari experience and we would recommend it to anyone!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank QuansterDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2007

We booked our stay at Kwandwe based on a recommendadtion from an advisor from AfricaDirect (via TripAdvisor Q&A) and also after reading all the rave reviews from this section of Trip Advisor.

After the long flight from UK to Cape Town, we flew into Port Elizabeth and stayed overnight at Thunzi Lodge (see separate review -also a great place to stay). The next morning we drove to Kwandwe, an
easy 1.75hrs drive and then left our car at the reception centre. We were then transferred to the Main Lodge (approx. 30 mins drive) and saw many animals along the way.

After a short briefing by the welcome team, we were shown to the thatched cottage. A really great room with fan and air-conditioning. The cottage was spacious and very comfortable with its own deck and plunge pool - which was very welcome during the mid-day heat.

Each day you are given an early wake-up call with coffee etc. Half an
hour later you meet the driver and tracker and set off for the first drive of the day. Similar to one of the other reviewers, our guide and driver was Alfie and the tracker was Vusi who were both first class and extremely willing to tailor the drives to the requirements of the guests. The morning drive includes a mid-morning stop in the bush for coffee and snacks. After the morning drive, you are returned
to the lodge for breakfast and a rest.

The 2nd drive is usually scheduled for 1500/1530, but prior to this you can relax as you wish by your private pool or have lunch or both.

During the afternoon/evening drive you stop for 'sundowners' and more
snacks - usually at a wonderful view-point to see the sunset. Afterwards the drive back to the lodge is in almost total darkness and the guides try to show the nocturnal wildlife. Each drive takes approx. 4 hours and although requiring little physical effort from the guests does seem to work up an appetite for the evening meal which is ready for everyone on their return.

The food at Kwandwe is really great, plenty of choice,and well prepared by a great chef that often visits the diners during the evening meal.

Overall a fantastic safari experience, where everyone sees the animals real and up close. They have a policy of restricting the number of vehicles at a particular spot to a max. of two. We saw all the animals on the reserve except the elusive leopard.

Thoroughly recommended for an Eastern Cape wildlife experience. The accommodation, staff and organisation are first class.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank wickens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2007

Stayed at Kwandwe upon recommendation by our Travel Agent and we were not disappointed

Flew into Port Elizabeth and were collected for the transfer to Kwandwe which took approx 2 hours. Major roads apart from the last 10 kilometres or so and even then still OK

Kwandwe is VAST. We were welcomed at reception with lemonade and home made cookies and then transferred by Kwandwe's transfer staff to the Lodge. The thatched cottage was spacious and very comfortable with its own deck and plunge pool (extremely cold). You have a large soaker tub from which you can take in the view across the river (you can spot wildlife too). There is also an outdoor shower

Whilst you are there you can have laundry done for free

The day starts by being woken up with a hamper containing coffee and cookies and then you go up to the Lodge to get ready for your game drive half an hour later

Our driver was Alfie and tracker was Wussie who were both first class. Whilst we were there we got to see 4 out of the big 5, alas, not the elusive leopard! We also saw cheetah, giraffe, zebra, loads of warthog, kudu, oryx, red harteebest, and loads more. Even aardwoolf/ black backed jackal in the daytime (apparently a rare occurrence)

Also, twice when we had a coffee stop (and snack) we parked high up overlooking the dam and were lucky to see hippo in the water both times which was amazing

When you get back from the morning game drive breakfast awaits and is all laid out in the dining room. After breakfast you are free then until the afternoon game drive (apart from lunch which we never got to)

You also have sundowners during the afternoon game drive with spectacular sunsets. It does get a bit chilly first thing in the morning and again in the evening when the sun goes down (we went mid May), but when the stars come out they are incredible

On the return from the evening drive you go straight into dinner

The food is great, the cottages are splendid and the staff are all so helpful and friendly. All in all we had a great stay at Kwandwe and would wholeheartedly recommend

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Tangerines
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

Address: Heatherton Towers, Fort Brown District | Grahamstown, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve 6140, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $715 - $2,087 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This founding lodge with only 9 privately situated suites features a classic-contemporary style of simple elegance that embraces the lodge's splendid setting high up on a steep bank overlooking the Great Fish River. The colour scheme comprises a calm and natural palette of earthy tones, from khaki browns to charcoal greys.Pewter and glass add an effortless yet understated glamour to the furnishings; artefacts such as ostrich eggshells, hides and horns create subtle points of interest and relevance to the lodge's surrounds, whilst natural linens and plenty of texture preserve its simple but sophisticated atmosphere.Watch majestic kudu meander down to the river from the Lodge's expansive viewing decks, or observe playful Cape clawless otters swimming in the cool waters below from the comfort of your private balcony. Suites are spacious and feature en-suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, personal in-room bars and private decks with plunge pools overlooking the vast reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kwandwe Great Fish River Hotel Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

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