Set in the heart of the Eastern Cape‘s Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Ecca Lodge offers breathtaking views onto an escarpment of steep shale cliffs.
This Big 5 reserve is situated close to Grahamstown in a malaria-free area and is perfect for families with children.
After a 45-minute drive from Port Elizabeth Airport, our arrival at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge was a celebration! All the staff came out and greeted us with massive smiles, waves and very welcome fresh towels before we took a quick tour of the lodge. With only 6 suites, of which 3 are dedicated to families, Ecca Lodge is intimate, relaxed and trendy, with decor inspired by the vibrant colours and textures of the African people. Highlights of the guest areas include expansive wooden viewing decks with exceptional views, interactive kitchen and a rim-flow lap pool.
Our suite was airy and open, embracing an indoor-outdoor lifestyle with private plunge pools and outdoor showers to enhance the connection with nature. During our stay at Ecca Lodge, we were treated to daily sightings of a lone Elephant who spent his time around the lodge pool. He could see us but wasn’t at all stressed by us. It was delightful to open the curtains every morning and see him hanging around.
One of the benefits of booking a family suite at Ecca Lodge is that you enjoy the services of a private vehicle and ranger. This means that your family can enjoy a game drive and not worry about other guests. If you come across a wildlife sighting that is interesting to your kids, you can spend more time chatting and learning about it. We had an exceptional Guide and Tracker, with a wealth of knowledge about the fauna and flora of the Eastern Cape.
Twice-daily game drives, nature walks accompanied by an armed ranger, big game walking safaris (tracking white rhino, black rhino, elephant and buffalo on foot, accompanied by an armed specialist ranger and tracker team) are all included in your stay. At the lodge, a play centre for kids keeps little hands busy for hours and a shared lodge pool provides the perfect place for a communal splash. Family activities include kite building, board games, scavenger hunts and more.
Families can also participate in Kwandwe’s voluntourism activities through the reserve’s Ubunye Foundation, which works with communities living in and surrounding the reserve. Young guests can visit the local Mgcamabele Community to enjoy arts and craft activities. Children are also welcomed to participate in Kwandwe’s ‘Knit a Bit’ program. The knitted squares are joined to make blankets and given to the Ubunye Foundation that distributes them to the needy communities surrounding Kwandwe.
One of our favourite activities was planting spekboom, a type of thicket vegetation that is native to the Eastern Cape and one of the top five carbon-storing vegetations on the planet.
Quick facts for families visiting Ecca Lodge
- Children of all ages are welcome.
- Families with children aged 0 – 16 years are accommodated in one of the lodge’s 3 Family Suites. Included with a Family Suite is a private vehicle, ranger and tracker.
- Cradles are available for children aged 0 – 2 years; children 3 – 16 sleep on individual single beds in the separate sitting room.
- There is a playroom area with games and interactive activities situated near to the main pool.
- The interactive kitchen offers cooking and baking classes to keep children busy between safari activities.
- Separate dining can be arranged.
- Child-minders are available at no additional cost with advance notice.
- The lodge is fenced (perimeter fencing unseen to the eye to keep wild animals out).
I highly recommend Ecca Lodge for a first-time family safari. Throughout our stay, we were made to feel like part of the family – and I’m sure you will too!
Get 15% off a luxury family safari at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge – valid 1 June 2020 – 31 December 2021! Terms & Conditions Apply.
View our Deals page for more information.