Melton and Uplands @Kwandwe. Eastern Cape. South Africa
Why we love it:
Kwandwe Reserve is as wild as you will get in the Eastern Cape, boasting 22,000 hectares and the big five. With only 22 rooms across the whole concession it has one of the lowest guest per hectare ratio in South Africa. It also has 30km of the Great Fish River frontage and is malaria free. There are no signs of farm infrastructure, and the river and dams make for stunning landscapes. The two villas are set far apart in remote locations with all the special touches of a lodge, but total privacy for your group or family.
What to expect:
Uplands is an authentic 1905 farmhouse set in a private valley, and restored with the charm of yesteryear, but with all the comforts of today. It has three double en suite bedrooms sleeping 6. Wide lawns and a pool mean kids are skip-happy and electric fences mean they can play safely. It comes with its own chef, butler, gameranger and tracker team. Melton Manor is very different, built in comtemporary frontier farmhouse style. It is new, modern and closer to the main camp. Courtyard-style, it has 4 en suite rooms, sleeping 8 in supreme comfort and privacy with the bush very much a part of your bathroom. Lovely cool outside living areas, but it doesn’t offer dramatic views.
What to do:
There are game drives in the morning and afternoon through the game-rich country with Big Five (black & white rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard) as well as remarkable variety of predators and general game, including cheetah, kudu, springbok, eland, red hartebeest, giraffe, black wildebeest and gemsbok. Aardvark and Aardwolf are frequently seen here at night.Walks are also available with level 2 walking guides. Daytime sightings of Aardvark in winter are special in this area.
KIDS: Uplands would be our first choice for kids, espcially active ones. Activities for children at both villas include a ‘Bugs & Bones’ walk , sand art, face painting, making moulds from Plaster of Paris, beading, Minnow’s fishing trip with a ranger, special game drives outside of normal times where available, baking and pizza making, DVDs and popcorn, eco educational board games, chocolate mould making, creature cookie baking, and African bedtime stories.
When to go: The game viewing is good year round, with the spring months (August to October) being outstanding to visit on account of the wonderful flowers. It can be extremely hot in mid summer (December to March) and winter mornings and evenings (June to July) are very cold.
How to get there: Kwandwe is an hour and a half’s drive from Port Elizabeth International Airport. Transfers can be arranged or it’s an easy self-drive. The villas will combine very well with coastal villas on the Garden Route such as Pezula.