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All reviews great fish river lodge plunge pool game reserve game drives safari experience our honeymoon south africa outdoor shower morning drive main building reception area elusive leopard sun deck spent nights wonderful experience out of this world last night
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Reviewed 23 January 2018

Kwandwe is a magical place. The lodges are beautiful and the staff could not be more welcoming and accommodating. Each individual lodge has an outdoor shower and mini pool. The curious animals in the park will come right up to the terrace of your room, it was wonderful. You are always safely escorted to and from your rooms when it's dark. The main lodge where meals are served is gorgeous and cosy, with a large fire in the lounge. The safari trips into the parks were superb - we saw four of the big five, only missing the elusive leopard, but we saw many other animals and the night time trip was magical. This place is incredibly special and I would highly recommend it

Stayed: February 2017
Thank EmmaUKLdn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KwandweManagement, Manager at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 31 January 2018

Dear Emma

We're so glad to hear you enjoyed your stay at Kwandwe. You definitely are brought close to nature - whilst enjoying the finer things in life at the same time!

Perhaps the leopard will make an appearance during your next stay!

Kind regards
The Kwandwe team

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Reviewed 11 January 2018

Kwandwe’s Great Fish River Lodge was the second of three Private Game reserves in the Eastern Cape that we visited and it was our number #1 experience compared to the others (Pumba and Shamwari). Attention to detail is shown in almost every aspect of the Kwandwe experience - the lodge is stunning and the service is impeccable. Several people including our server in the restaurant even confirmed my strong dislike of mayonnaise (a passing comment I put on a form during the reservation process regarding dietary restrictions/preferences). Kwandwe was the most expensive of the 3 game reserves we stayed at, but you truly get what you pay for. If a stay in Kwandwe is in your budget you will not regret the visit and it will remain as one of our best safari experiences (and we have been on many throughout Southern Africa). I’ve broken down this review into the categories we evaluated.
Lodging: The lodge itself is incredibly beautiful and the decor has been carefully selected to complement the style you would expect in a high end lodge. Fresh protea flowers on every table and luxurious furnishings. They even have a wine cellar (although the wines from the cellar are not part of the Kwandwe’s all-inclusive selection of wine). The main lodge area over looks the Great Fish River, where if you are lucky you may see some wildlife moving to and from it’s banks. The suite we stayed in was equally well appointed and we enjoyed how the floor to ceiling windows/doors opened onto a terrace overlooking the bush as well as the thatched veranda and private plunge pool. The bed was spacious and comfortable. There are indoor and outdoor showers and a huge tub in the bathroom. One evening we returned to our suite and the staff had filled the bath with bubbles and lit candles around the bathroom - incredibly romantic! The only small issue was that the bath water was brown. We were told the next day that this was due to a pipe that had broken on the property and dirt got into the line during repairs. There was no issue with the water in the shower or sinks so it was not a real problem for us, but it did spoil the ambiance of a bath somewhat. A big plus for us was the strong wifi signal in the suite. Kwandwe was the only one of the 3 game reserves that we visited to offer wifi in the room. We like to catch up on email from the comfort of our bed in the evenings and not have to return to the lodge to get an internet connection, so this was great. Unfortunately the main lodge itself had a weak internet signal.
Food: The food and it’s presentation was amazing. the attention to detail I mentioned previously also carried over into the kitchen and dining room. All our meals were delicious - but the lamb was out of this world! The sundowners on our first evening took place in an area of the bush where we came together with several other guests and their game drive vehicles. The Kwandwe staff set up a beautiful table/bar with lots of different gins, an antique wheelbarrow was filled with craft bears and of course wine and other beverages were also available. the charming bar display also included a wonderful selection of appetizers and snacks. I’ve never had sundowners presented as nicely as this - normally the game ranger pulls the vehicle over into a safe area of the bush and sets up a table with snacks and drinks from a cooler, which is they way we experienced sundowners on the second evening. Great experience as well, just the first one was so amazing!
Game Viewing: Kwandwe is a huge property and has Big Five game viewing across a lot of different types terrains. We had some incredible, quality sightings that were close-up because the rangers can take the vehicles off-road. We never felt rushed and there was plenty of time for photographs. The game drives were very well organized, just the right length of time and there were less vehicles than some of the other areas we stayed at. In the event that more than one vehicle was on a sighting, we found the rangers to be very cooperative and respectful of each other, allowing each vehicle to take their turn viewing from an optimal position. Our ranger Ruan was an excellent guide and incredibly knowledgable. We also had a tracker who was very nice, but not sure how much value he provided on our safari. However, on several occassions he hopped in the vehicle next to the ranger and allowed any guest who wanted to a chance to ride in the tracker’s seat which has the best view in the vehicle!!! What a feeling to be sitting there and drive up to giraffe in the road towering over you!!! The only negative about the game drive vehicles was they are open vehicles. I loved it, but my husband has very sensitive skin and it was too much sun exposure for him. We had very nice weather, but I can imagine that it would be a less pleasant experience in rain or high wind (blankets are included in the vehicle). I appreciated the completely unobstructed view the open vehicle provide.
We had some initial hesitation about booking a safari in the Eastern Cape as our previous safari experiences were in Kruger and in Botswana and we imagined that the Eastern Cape might not be a good. We were completely off base in that regard and had such a great experience at Kwandwe we would not hesitate to return here. Not only is the Eastern Cape more accessible than Kruger if you are visiting Cape Town and the Garden Route, you still get the Big Five experience and it is malaria-free. The only minor difference is that the Eastern Cape Game Reserves such as Kwandwe are reclaimed farmland where the animals have be re-introduced vs Kruger which is a national park the size of Wales. Essentially the safari experience is the same. Kwandwe should be at the top of anyones list for a South African safari!

  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank WHERESWAUGH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KwandweManagement, Manager at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2018

Dear WHERESWAUGH,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your detailed and very thoughtful feedback! We are very happy to hear that you enjoyed each aspect of your stay so much - and delighted that your safari experience did not disappoint!

We will be sure to pass this on to the rest of the team, and hope to be able to welcome you back one day.

Kind regards,
The Kwandwe team

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Reviewed 24 December 2017

A great way of seeing game in the wild and being spoilt in luxury between outside adventures. The lodge was very luxurious with brilliant service to match. The guide and house staff were great and nothing left to want. A thoroughly enjoyable experience and well worth the long journey of reaching the accommodation.

Room Tip: Flights in and out of Port Elizabeth proved to be quite painful with South African Airlines. Maybe use BA instead.
  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Peter L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KwandweManagement, Manager at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 27 December 2017

Dear Peter L,

Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback - we are very happy to hear that you enjoyed your time with us. We will be sure to pass on your comments to the rest of the team and hope to be able to welcome you back soon.

Warm regards,
The Kwandwe Team

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Reviewed 21 December 2017 via mobile

Omg go! The experience was amazing - the lodges where stunning the staff amazing the safaris unforgettable an experience of a life time - the food was so delicious whatever u need or want nothing was a problem - we were here to be spoilt and we were. Coming back to a ran bath with candles and champagne last night was the icing on the cake - the lodge had 8 lodges and a main house it was small and personal - go! Trip of a life time

Stayed: December 2017, travelled with family
Thank Hayley7079
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KwandweManagement, Manager at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 27 December 2017

Dear Hayley7079,

Thank you so much for your kind feedback, we are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time with us so much! We will be sure to pass on your comments to the rest of the team and hope to welcome you back in the not too distant future.

Warm regards,
The Kwandwe Team

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Reviewed 26 November 2017 via mobile

We spent 4 days at this lodge, it was superb!. Under the guidance of our guide Ryan and tracker Banana, we had some fantastic up-close encounters with Elephants, Giraffes, White Rhino and we got really close the elusive Black Rhinos.
One of the highlights was to witness a chase by a young female Cheetah, who for half an hour or more was lying in the sun and unbelievably quickly was on the run chasing a Waterbuck. It got away.
The food was excellent, probably too good, must have gained a few pounds!
All the team in Kwandwe are really keen to ensure that the animals and birds are not disturbed, and this is a key ingredient in the wonderful experience.
Another nice surprise at the end of each evening is the stopover for the "sundowner" a lovely mixture of a BBQ, freshly baked tarts and the Amarula coffee..!
Well done to Kwandwe.

Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Battie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KwandweManagement, Manager at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2017

Dear Battie A,

Thank you for taking the time to leave your kind and thoughtful feedback - we are very happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and that you had such great wildlife sightings!

We will be sure to pass on the above to Ryan, Banana and the rest of the team (especially the chefs, who will be delighted with your comments! ;-).

We hope to be able to welcome you back in the not too distant future!

Kind regards,
The Kwandwe team

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