As Big Five destinations go, Kwandwe is a world-class safari lodge set on 22 000 hectares of Eastern Cape wilderness, making it the largest privately owned Big Five game viewing area in South Africa. Ecca is one of five lodges on the reserve and has only six suites, sleeping only 18 guests. It’s got the mix just right with its contemporary interiors appealing to younger couples or travel-savvy cosmopolitan families who have chosen the Eastern Cape because it’s malaria free. But they’ve also chosen Ecca as it is truly child friendly with some exciting activities for little ones on offer, from interactive ‘Chefs in Training’ cooking sessions, to ‘Bugs & Bones’ walks or even a scavenger hunt in the reserve with maps and clues. And eco-conscious globetrotters who want to offset their carbon footprint can even plant a Spekboom tree, one of the top five carbon-storing trees on the planet. Here, every aspirant little ranger is given the courage to explore, discover and delight in the miracle of nature, learning more every day with experienced teams of trackers and rangers. And for those who love the thrill of walking in the wild, interpretive bush walks or big game tracking safaris are likely to keep stories flowing over dinner for years to come!
Ecca’s family suites are generously proportioned and so two children up to 16, plus a baby or toddler under two in a cot, are able to sleep in the family suite with parents. But here’s the clincher: included with the family suite is a private vehicle, ranger and tracker, which means that your bush experience is precious family time too with none of the stress of whether the kids will behave in front of other guests. There’s a playroom area near the pool and child minders can be booked, but each suite has its own plunge pool, giving you a chance to relax in complete privacy. And there’s something to be said for lying in just once, or booking a sublime spa treatment, although there’s nothing quite like the scent of the dawn and the sight of the sun rising over the Great Fish River, or a brief glimpse of a skulk of playful bat-eared foxes (don’t you just love nature’s collective nouns?), not to mention the immense privilege of a black or white rhino sighting.
What we love!
• That the lodge is deliberately sophisticated but child-friendly – much appreciated by globetrotting parents!
• That you can have your young children in the same suite in an alcove nearby. Little ones feel secure
• That if you book a family suite (there are three) you get your own private vehicle, ranger and tracker team. Makes for a really special family experience
What you need to know…
• You can book photographic safari with Ruan Springorum: well worth it!
• Specialist rangers do a Big Game Walk (for over 16s)
• You can fly in to the airstrip close to the reserve gate.
• That Kwandwe also has private villas: Melton Manor, Uplands Homestead and Fort House, all three wonderful options for multigenerational families.