We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“You Get What You Pay For”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Houston
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“You Get What You Pay For”
Reviewed October 25, 2008

I'll write this review by describing a typical day at Kwandwe.

We arrived by private plane & were driven to the check-in lodge, where we sat outside being served yummy home made cookies & lemonade. Then a 30 minute drive to the actual lodge, where we were greeted by a staff of 4 who stood in a line waving hello, which I thought quite unusual. We were offered a drink and lunch, chosen from a 3 course daily menu, and very good. I was just recovering from a lung infection & was taking antibiotics daily, so I asked for some plain yogurt, which they brought. From then on, our server asked - would I like my yogurt now?
Since I was not feeling well, I stayed in the room rather than go on the first game drive. I had a massage in the room, and let me tell you it was the BEST massage I've ever had in my life! The large room was of rustic decor, very comfortable & had a great view, along with a private plunge pool which was 1 story down via steps. At sun down I opened a bottle of sparkling wine to toast the first night at Kwandwe, went out on the deck and was greeted by 2 warthogs! Dinner that night in the open air boma was 3 courses plus salads and a cheese plate if you could fit it in. A young female chef appeared tableside to introduce herself and say she was at our disposal. After dinner we were led back to our room by a flashlight-bearing guard due to the extreme darkness, and the slight chance of encountering a dangerous animal (they had had a lion kill just outside the kitchen a few months back.)
Wakeup: 5:30 a.m. by Phil the Ranger. After coffee we were off for a game drive. During the 4 days we were there, we saw every animal we could imagine except hippo and leopard. Plenty of lions, elephants, cheetahs, giraffe, zebras, buffalo, white rhinos, eland, impala, wildebees, sprinkgbok, warthogs, kudu, plus more; a wild dog, jackal; a monitor lizard on the pathway to our room,birds galore, all passionately described and tracked by our ranger Phil and his sidekick Saki the tracker, who sat in the front jumpseat a la John Wayne in Hatari! We stopped for coffee and a light breakfast snack (in the evenings it was whatever alchoholic drink you wanted plus snacks.) Return to the lodge at 10:00 or so for breakfast outside, which always consisted of a delicious tray which consisted of the wonderful South African health bread, plain yogurt, homemade granola, fresh fruit kabobs, fresh muffins, tomato, a piece of ham or salami, a cheese and freshly squeezed orange and a second choice (mango, pineappple, etc.) THEN you are asked if you would like the breakfast of the day (a hot entree.)
Back to the room to rest, or check your email on the lodge computer. At 1:00 it's lunch time - another 3 course menu to choose from, changing daily and always delicious. Back to your room to rest, or lounge by the private plunge pool, which was too chilly when we were there. Then 3:00 - it's Tea Time! Assortment of sweets and fruit along with tea or coffee, then shortly after it's off to your afternoon game drive, returning at 7:30 for drinks by the fire if warranted, then dinner. You can eat alone or with others if you prefer.
Something else - since laundry service is included, we were preparing our stack for pickup in the room. The laundry service slip we filled out had a bullet point that noted 'occasionally hyenas and baboons raid the laundry yard' - a warning just in case you don't get your clothes back.!

I think the best part of this stay was the service by the staff. They were so personable and relaxed that you feel like they are close friends or family by the time you leave. "Where anything is possible...' was the common remark by one of our servers. Take them up on it! I wish I had more. The delightful rooms, with their outdoor shower, large indoor shower and bath tub, glass doors and African decor. And of course the animals. Our ranger obviously loved what he did, and gave us every opportunity and more to get a glimpse of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, including some tense and exciting encounters.

It is pricey, but you do receive a lot for your money and it's an experience you'll treasure.

  • Liked — Breakfast tray along with just about everything
  • Disliked — 5:30 wakeup call (but you don't have to go)
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank swexan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

265 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    251
    11
    2
    1
    0
See reviews for
34
187
6
2
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (68)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
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!

  • Liked — the friendliness of the staff
  • Disliked — I gained weight eating all the yummy food!!
  • Stayed October 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank piratesmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
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!

  • Liked — Luxury lodge, great outlook, fabulous location
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Awayagain_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swtizerland
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
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! :-)

  • Liked — location, game, room
  • Disliked — clean
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank DreamingSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
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
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Khattab_Towers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dallas
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
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!

  • Liked — absolutely everything
  • Disliked — absolutely nothing
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank QuansterDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
135 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — Very high quality and spaciuos, plus very private rooms
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wickens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
0.0 mi away
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
#1 of 1 in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
51 reviews
15.5 mi away
Graham Hotel
Graham Hotel
#2 of 4 in Grahamstown
112 reviews
22.3 mi away
Pumba Private Game Reserve
Pumba Private Game Reserve
#1 of 29 in Grahamstown
1,146 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
3.5 mi away
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead
#4 of 4 in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
24 reviews
0.0 mi away
Samara Private Game Reserve
Samara Private Game Reserve
#2 of 14 in Graaff-Reinet
238 reviews
15.1 mi away
8A Grahamstown
8A Grahamstown
#3 of 42 in Grahamstown
52 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Kwandwe Great Fish River Hotel Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing