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Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Situated at the heart of the malaria-free Eastern Cape
province, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is within easy reach of South Africa's spectacular
coastline and provides the perfect beginning or ending to a journey
along the famed Garden Route. The wide open spaces and tranquil
scenery belie the area's turbulent history, and relics of the area's
rich historical and cultural legacy can be found both on the reserve
and nearby. Kwandwe itself consists of 22 000 hectares (54 400 acres)
of a hauntingly beautiful but previously neglected part of the African
continent where the area's natural wildlife has been painstakingly
A conservation victory, Kwandwe is home to thousands of animals, including lion, black and white rhino, buffalo, elephant and cheetah, as well as Africa's famous Big Five.
Meaning "Place of the Blue Crane" in Xhosa, Kwandwe is a haven for a population of these rare, vulnerable birds (South Africa's national bird).
Kwandwe Game Reserve also provides sanctuary for other threatened
species, such as the Knysna woodpecker, black wildebeest, martial
eagle, serval and brown hyena, critically endangered species such as
the crowned eagle and black rhino and other vulnerable species such as
the cheetah, black footed cat, elephant, lion, springhare and the
black harrier. A biological melting pot of various vegetation types,
the Reserve boasts a spectacular display of winter flowering aloes
from June to August. Kwandwe flanks both the north and south banks of
the Great Fish River, which meanders for 30 km (19 miles) through this
pristine, private wilderness
For the first time in over a hundred years, guests can witness lion, cheetah, elephant, black and white rhino, and buffalo wandering free in the valley thicket fringing the Fish River. Species such as kudu, grysbok, aardwolf, aardvark and caracal, which had always existed freely in the area, are now thriving in their natural habitat. In addition, Kwandwe, which means 'place of the blue crane' in Xhosa, has become home to a number of these highly endangered birds, as well as other threatened species, including black wildebeest and the crowned eagle.
Even though 100 km from the coast, Kwandwe is still affected by the ocean, with south-facing slopes capturing moisture from the sea breezes resulting in denser or taller vegetation and gaily coloured lichens. In contrast, north-facing slopes tend to be drier and more open. The north-facing slopes feature extensive stands of aloe, which flower in striking profusion during the winter months. Forest-like thickets of tree euphorbia grow on steep, south-facing slopes. These spiny species are immune to destruction from most species thanks to the poisonous milky latex they exude. One exception to this rule is the black rhino, which relishes the spiny stems regardless of the toxin.
The Great Fish River meanders through Kwandwe, bisecting the reserve with 30 km of sweeping sandy bars and steep cliffs. The sand banks provide good clues for each game drive, as most of Kwandwe's species come down to the river to drink, leaving behind a jumble of tracks. The River has cut deep gorges through the surrounding rocks, providing the perfect habitat for wildlife, plant and bird species. Kwandwe's open habitat is characterised by sparse tussocks, creeping grasses and shrubs favoured by springbok, blue wildebeest and white rhino. Nocturnal species such as aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fax and porcupine can be viewed on night drives in this open terrain.
Kwandwe Safari Packages
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