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.

“Superb Resort with Amazing Game Reserve Experience”
Review of Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Superb Resort with Amazing Game Reserve Experience”
Reviewed February 21, 2013

Stayed here for 4 nights in January 2012. It's hard to describe the experience in words but it's something you would not want to miss. The Ecca lodge rooms were remarkably luxurious and certainly beyond my expectations. The safari experience was just fantastic! Our ranger and tracker both worked very well as a team and we managed to spot 4 out of the Big 5 easily within the first couple of days. Only the elusive leopard kept us wanting more. Nevertheless, this luxury lodge in the middle of the wilderness certainly lives up to it's 5 star rating and is surprisingly affordable compared to some of the other private game reserves in South Africa. Also very handily located in a malaria free area so no anti-malarial prophylaxis medications are needed before your trip! Would definitely go back if I had the chance!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dipzter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

173 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    170
    1
    1
    0
    1
See reviews for
68
76
2
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
Level Contributor
65 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

We stayed here for three nights in Feb-2013 with our two sons 4 & 6 and and we had a fantastic stay. Best vacation ever! The wake up call at 05:00 from Ranger Ryan started our days in a perfect way. This place has got it all, lovely room with a small plunge pool and shower outside, delicious food and the staff was very accommodating and service minded. Our guide Ryan and tracker Andy did the game drives to something that we will have in our memories for the rest of our life. Especially the breakfast in the bush, that was amazing!

I can not find enough words to say how much we loved this place and of course we can not do anything else than give Kwandwe our biggest recommendations.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Fredrik S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
209 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Very favourable reviews meant that we arrived for our two nights at Ecca Lodge with expectations already high....but they were more than surpassed by our experience.

It turned out that we were the only guests at Ecca, the lodge having been full on the previous weekend. Other establishments might have potentially suggested that we go to one of the other accommodation units so that they could have shut down Ecca for two days, but in actual fact they really pushed the boat out to make our 'solitary confinement' really special.

Enough has been said about the lodge accommodation on other reviews - suffice to say it is hard to think that safari lodges could be any more luxurious and so well appointed than this.

The food and service were excellent. Our first lunch was set up on the pool deck (which of course we had to ourselves!) When we came back in the evening from the game drive, we were in the middle of a huge thunderstorm, but the roaring log fire was really welcoming and they had set up a romantic candlelit dinner for us inside. On the 2nd day they surpassed themselves - at the end of the early morning game drive we ended up in a clearing in the bush where breakfast (including cooking facilities for a hot breakfast) had been set up. And at the end of the late afternoon drive we turned onto another clearing, this time at the top of a hill, with a spectacular view across the valley, as the last rays of the sun disappeared, where they had set up dinner - including a full bar - for ourselves and our ranger, Ross. Absolutely unforgettable!!!

That was the culmination of a stunning day of game drives and a Grade 2 Game Walk - where we tracked white rhinos under the watchful eyes of Ryan and Ross. In actual fact they had taken us out for this 'walk' in mid-morning, but, over the course of over 2 hours, whilst we saw much game, we id not come across rhinos. Undeterred, Ryan suggested that when Ross took us out for the afternoon game drive, they would hook up and see if we could walk with the rhinos then - which is what happened. In the space of 3 hours, we saw much game from the land cruiser, but the highlight was tracking two white rhinos, coming within about 50 metres (downwind) of them. And when we got back in the cruiser we experienced a herd of 28 elephants crossing the road right in front of us, and a herd of buffalos a couple of miles later.

Absolutely magical and I could not recommend the whole experience enough. Big thanks to Ross and Ryan and also to Bongi and her staff who looked after us at Ecca Lodge.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JSM8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
814 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 311 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2013

This was our first safari and we spent 4 nights at Ecca lodge. Our ranger was Ryan and our brilliant tracker - spotting a camouflaged animal in the bush right across the valley - was Andy.

Ecca lodge has just 6 suites attached to it - I say "attached" but actually each suite is in a separate building, some distance from the next building and not overlooked at all. The bedrooms, sitting area and bathrooms are very spacious. Each suite has a private decked area with a plunge pool. At night, we slept with the a/c off, the sliding windows wide open - but with the insect doors closed. It was a real experience to sleep with the sound of the bush at night and to hear the birds at around 4am.

The day starts with a 5.00 am wake up call from Ryan, a quick breakfast, a few hours on game drive in the off-road open-topped Land Cruiser, broken up by a coffee break at a nice viewpoint. Back for breakfast at around 9.30. Lunch when you want it, between 12.00 and 15.00. Get together for tea at 16.00, then off on an afternoon/evening game drive to try to see the more elusive nocturnal animals. Andy managed to spot a Jennet - about the size of a cat - in a tree at least 50 metres away, in the pitch black night, for example. Back for dinner after that. The drive was broken up by a sundowner break on a pop-up table - G&T or almost whatever you want. I should say that almost all drinks are included in the package, whether on game drive, in the lodge or in your room.

During our 4 days and nights, we saw a huge range of animals and birds - lions, elephants, zebras, water buffalo, giraffes etc. Highlights included spending an hour and a half with a cheetah mother and her two almost-grown cubs, playing together and so close that you could hear them purr as they washed each other. On the last day we also watched a herd of elephant playing down by the river: probably a few dozen and including some very young calves rolling over and playing with each other. The only major animal that eluded us was the leopard, which I gather is always difficult to find.

The service was fantastic throughout and we thoroughly enjoyed this first part of our 3 week honeymoon - we then traveled along the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and Stellenbosch before ending up at Cape Town. I should say that if there was one slight - and it was slight - negative at Kwandwe, it was that although the food was good, it wasn't perhaps as excellent as you might expect from such a luxurious (not to say, expensive) location. We had heard that the chef was off that week, so I don't know if it would normally be better.

Room Tip: There are three rooms on either side of the lodge: we had one of the closest. I would try to get one...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank David M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Sorry - I am suffering of a lack of words to describe our 3 days stay at Kwandwe, Ecca Lodge! It was a wild and beautiful experience where everything from the well organized reception to the warm and attentive service ("I miss your excellent Cheese Omlett - Phakama!"), the luxury privat lodges and first rate cuisine is outstanding. During the early morning and the evening drives our guide Jami (amazing knowledge combined with love to every single creature small or large!) and tracker Sibo (the sharpest eyes to look for the Big 5!) gave us the best time ever. The reserve is clearly number one in sustainability and quality taking into account all aspects. Unforgettable - thank you One more to the Kwandwe family and especially Jami!

Room Tip: During our stay in no 5 a little noise by nesting birds.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dagmar_Hamburg_2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Ecca lodge was fantastic - super friendly staff, fantastic food, stunning rooms, with incredible views. Your own private patios with plunge pools and outdoor showers, nobody can see you from there so you are free to roam around privately (except the animals - we saw giraffe every morning!).

The game drives are a pleasure - we highly recommend our guide Ryan. Join their facebook page before your journey to see some shots from the drives of what you'll see!

And do not forget to bring binoculars with you - a necessary item for sure!

Have a great time! Every need you have will be taken care of.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank peregrinejfish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calpe, Spain
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 31, 2012

We first visited Kwandwe (Fish River Lodge) before it became a member of Relais and Chateau. This time we stayed at Ecca lodge and experienced our best ever safari. The accommodation, service, food and attention to detail as far as the lodge was concerned was excellent we wanted for nothing throughout our 5 night stay. The Brunches after morning safari were especially good with a wide variety of goodies to welcome us back after our game drives. The general area of the Lodge was very well appointed but was surpassed by our individual cottage which had fabulous views of the bush and again was kept absolutely spotlessly clean throughout our stay. The staff at the Lodge were first class and made our stay a real pleasure - nothing was too much trouble and we felt shamelessly spoilt the whole time we were there
We have been on twelve other safaris in S Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and to Pench and Karna in India and without doubt this was the best yet. Our Guide Ryan and Tracker Andy were without doubt the most enthusiastic pair we have ever encountered. Their obvious enjoyment at the game we viewed definitely rubbed off on us and our fellow guests. Ryan was very knowledgeable but was never afraid to admit he did not know the answer to some of our quetsions but always had an answer for us on the next drive. Andy "eagle eyes" was superb at finding game but his spot of chamelions no more than a few centimeters long in the dark was just unbelieveable! These two made the game viewing which was great into an even more memorable trip. Great Leopard sightings. Cheetahs, Rhino and Buffalo all topped off with a herd of charging Elephants with fighting lions as a backdrop. Breathtaking!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank IanSpain
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
13.9 mi away
Graham Hotel
Graham Hotel
#2 of 4 in Grahamstown
110 reviews
3.1 mi away
Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
#1 of 4 in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
264 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
19.9 mi away
Pumba Private Game Reserve
Pumba Private Game Reserve
#1 of 26 in Grahamstown
1,132 reviews
1.5 mi away
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead
#4 of 4 in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
23 reviews
0.0 mi away
Samara Private Game Reserve
Samara Private Game Reserve
#2 of 14 in Graaff-Reinet
235 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Kwandwe Ecca Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Property: Kwandwe Ecca Lodge
Address: Heatherton Towers, Fort Brown District, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A safari lodge with an attitude, Ecca Lodge is one of a kind. Witty and brash, yet intimate; giant Warhol-like prints, retro light fittings, and shades of olive, rust and burnt orange surprise and delight. Pagoda-style corrugated iron roofs playfully top wooden paneled walls interspersed with mesh-covered stone gabion. Minimalist chic flows from spacious living areas in the guest suites to bedroom and bathroom. Wraparound wooden decks lead from sitting rooms and bedrooms to private plunge pools and outdoor showers. Flavours and aromas waft from the open interactive kitchen, while comfortable loungers beckon around a serene rim-flow lap pool. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kwandwe Ecca 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