Highlights and main attractions of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Situated in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth, Kwandwe is one of the best malaria-free game reserves in Africa, offering the big five and 238 known species of bird, including the Blue Crane which the reserve is named after; Kwandwe in Xhosa is translated as ‘place of the Blue Crane.’

The area’s history stems from a past booming ostrich feather industry, but the fall in this fashion, along with poaching left the land virtually desolate of wildlife. Ten years ago, enough was enough and the current owners of nine of the ostrich farms in Kwandwe formed Kwande Private Game Reserve, to protect wildlife through tourism.

It’s conservation model is impressive and it has reintroduced over 7,000 animals including the endangered black rhino, all the big five, cheetah, serval, African wildcat and small spotted cat (amongst others).

Where is Kwandwe Private Game Reserve?

Location and Activities

Comprising of 22,000 hectares of private land, with the Great Fish River running right through it, the reserve is mainly comprised of sub-tropical thickets of tree euphorbia and lush vegetation in the south, with drier, more arid land in the north.  The climate in Kwandwe is split into two fairly distinct seasons; warm, wet summers from October to March and cool, dry winters between April and September. The altitude within the reserve can range from 800-1600ft above sea level.

In between game drives enjoy interpretive bush walks with armed ranger guides to understand the smaller flora and fauna. For a nominal fee you can spend 3 – 4 hours tracking rhino with a specialist ranger and tracker team. The reserve also offers the ‘Blue Crane Conservation Club’ which is specially designed for children as well as volunteering opportunities at the Ubunye Foundation which is an independent non-profit charity trust supporting local communities.

The private reserve is home to just four Relais & Chateaux lodges; comprised of just 22 rooms, giving it one of the best guest – land ratios of all the reserves in South Africa. Two of the beautiful lodges (Uplands Homestead and Melton Manor) are available exclusively which make for wonderful stays for families or small groups travelling together. The nearest international airport is in Port Elizabeth which is a 160km drive from the reserve. There are also daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

Activities in the reserve comprise of action packed game drives during the day and wonderful night drives where you can spot a large amount of aardvarks and aardwolves.


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