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Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwandwe is a very game-rich reserve and home to the famous ‘Big Five’.

Activities include day and also night game drives... well as walking safaris with an armed guide.

There is a good population of all the species in the park... may have a good chance spotting some of them.

You can also watch out for many endangered bird species in the park.

Kwandwe has something for everyone, even for the little ones...

...who can take part in children’s activities...

...where they get the chance to learn about the reserves’ wildlife.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Across Kwandwe’s low, sweeping hills, herds of antelope, endangered rhino and stealthy predators thrive in their adopted kingdom.

Rehabilitated from farmland in the 1990s, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve covers a huge 220km² of near-pristine, indigenous vegetation, making it one of South Africa’s largest ‘Big Five’ reserves and certainly the Eastern Cape’s most wild and authentic safari experience.

The undulating, Karoo-like landscape is an arid, slow-growing ecosystem. Although devoid of many tall trees, its vegetation is highly diverse and supports incredible game and bird life. For the most part, the land is dotted with resilient spekboom succulents, termite mounds, low-growing shrubs and dense thickets. But these are interspersed with dramatic views of the deeply incised Great Fish River, which meanders for 18miles through the reserve, and wide-open plains, the backdrop for grazing antelope and spectacular predator hunting.

And the wildlife is superb: Kwandwe is a wonderfully game-rich environment! Although the Big 5 animals are all resident, to consider it as just that is to miss much its charm. In fact, a remarkable 7,000 large mammals translocated to Kwandwe over the years, with all now breeding and flourishing. From black and white rhino, sightings of whom are blissfully frequent, to herds of buffalo, elephant and impressive antelope gatherings of kudu, eland, red hartebeest, giraffe and gemsbok. There are predators galore with cheetah, lion and leopard and glorious opportunities to spot nocturnal wanderers such as aardwolf, aardvark and bat-eared foxes on spotlit night drives.

Kwandwe is also home to many endangered bird species: black stork, the occasional martial eagle, kori and Stanley’s bustards and of course the endangered and very beautiful blue crane, after which the reserve was named: ‘Kwandwe’ is Xhosa for ‘Place of the blue crane’.

Kwandwe is superb big-game finale to a Garden Route trip: a really stylish safari stop only two hours’ drive from Port Elizabeth. In a non-malarial area, and with terrific guiding and a quintet of idyllic small lodge options, this is a first-class destination for families (even with young children) and comfort-seeking wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve: in detail

Safaris visiting Kwandwe

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 location • 1 country

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the "Big 5" during exploration of the Eastern Cape.

Visiting Kwandwe

US$2,420 - US$3,990 per person

Read more about the Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

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Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Kwandwe

This is their success for sightings in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success

White Rhino

100% success


100% success


100% success


92% success


92% success


92% success

Black Rhino

92% success


91% success


50% success


40% success

Brown Hyena

22% success


13% success

Map of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Choices for where to stay in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Most recent reviews of our safaris to Kwandwe

Click below to browse all 54 reviews from Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.

54 reviews since August 2007
Mr and Mrs G from Bucks

Arrived 15 Dec 2023, 23 nights

"My Dec 2023 trip"

"Fantastic trip; unique experiences and was cleverly designed... …" Read Mr and Mrs G’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs H from London

Arrived 27 Dec 2023, 10 nights

"My Dec 2023 trip"

"... it was the best family trip we've ever done, we just loved it! …" Read Mrs H ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr and Mrs A from UK

Arrived 22 Jul 2023, 15 nights

"My Jul 2023 trip"

"Lucy put together a fantastic itinerary... The children absolutely loved it all! …" Read Mr and Mrs A’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr C & Mr P from BC

Arrived 22 Oct 2022, 19 nights

"Back to Africa after covid"

"...keep giving the great service that we have always had from you... …" Read Dr C & Mr P’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr & Mrs L from Lyndhurst

Arrived 25 Sep 2022, 15 nights

"My Sep 2022 trip"

"We had a wonderful trip. …" Read Dr & Mrs L’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs H from Middlesex

Arrived 4 Apr 2022, 17 nights

"My Apr 2022 trip"

"We had a truly wonderful holiday, especially appreciated after the postponements …" Read Mr & Mrs H’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs G from Bucks

Arrived 26 Jan 2020, 20 nights

"Summary of our trip"

"Claire put together an excellent itinerary …" Read Mr & Mrs G’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr&Mrs H from Winchester

Arrived 11 Jan 2020, 14 nights

"South African Honeymoon 2020"

"We had a wonderful honeymoon in South Africa. …" Read Mr&Mrs H’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr&Mrs LS from Oxfordshire

Arrived 4 Jan 2020, 15 nights

"Our January 2020 trip to South Africa"

"We have had the most amazing trip of our lives. …" Read Mr&Mrs LS’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Peter from Oxfordshire

Arrived 18 Sep 2019, 18 nights

"My Sep 2019 trip"

"Everything went as planned - a real tribute to professional organisation. …" Read Peter’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Kwandwe Private Game Reserve reviews

When to go to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Kwandwe in South Africa













South Africa in January

January is considered one of the best months to travel. In Cape Town the weather is hot and generally dry. The Garden Route is also excellent at this time of the year but has a more temperate climate, with slightly lower temperatures and rain can fall at any time of the year. In the Kgalagadi temperatures often top 40°C and short, sharp thunderstorms are also fairly frequent. Wildlife tends to disperse, although birding is excellent.

As this is the high season in the Cape there are numerous events, festivals and outdoor activities to attract visitors. Accommodation books up quickly and it may be necessary to book at least a year in advance. Reservations will often be needed for restaurants and visitor attractions too.

  • Hot, largely dry days with clear skies – except on Garden Route
  • Wildlife disperses in the Kalahari but birding excellent
  • Events, festivals and outdoor activities staged for the high season
  • The high season in the Cape, accommodation can cost up to 50% more
  • Pre-booking of activities & attractions is essential

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in January

South Africa in February

In February conditions are largely the same as in January, although temperatures can be slightly higher, especially in the interior. The wind in Cape Town starts to ease off. Although the Garden Route can experience some rain, the days are pleasantly warm and largely dry.

The Kgalagadi remains very hot, but the birding is still excellent. Wildlife viewing can be tricky especially if there has been some rain, as the resulting long grass can obscure the animals.

For visitors it’s still the high season, but with the local school holidays over and residents back at work, it is less busy than December and January. Accommodation costs remain high and it’s still advisable to pre-book certain activities and restaurants.

  • Hot, largely dry days with little cloud
  • Wind starts easing in Cape Town
  • Slightly less busy than December & January
  • Accommodation costs remain high, activities still best pre-booked

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in February

South Africa in March

March is still a very good time to visit. Conditions remain dry and very warm in Cape Town, although temperatures start dropping off towards the end of the month. The wind has usually died right down.

The Kalahari remains very hot and in years of good rains vegetation is at its most lush – making wildlife viewing tricky.

Typically, the crowds dwindle, but it can get very busy if Easter falls in March. It is also worth bearing in mind that during major events in March, including the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Cape Epic Mountain Bike Tour, The Cape Town Carnival and the International Jazz Festival, accommodation can get very full.

Attractions remain busy but booking is less essential.

  • Temperatures start falling towards the end of the month
  • Cape Town hosts a number of world class sport and cultural events
  • Wildlife in the Kgalagadi disperses, game viewing more challenging
  • Crowds diminish as the high season comes to an end
  • Accommodation can get busy during major events

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in March

South Africa in April

April is South Africa’s “shoulder” season and is often the most pleasant. Not too hot, not too cold, some rain but not masses. In Cape Town and along the Garden Route days are usually sunny, warm, windless and largely dry, although in Cape Town the chance of rain increases from the end of the month.

In the Kgalagadi the rainy season is typically over and migratory birds are starting to make their journey back up North. Vegetation remains lush but wildlife viewing starts picking up towards the end of the month.

The region is still relatively busy (especially of its still Easter) but it gets quieter towards the end of the month thus availability improves. Accommodation rates start to decrease, and it becomes less important to book restaurants and attractions in advance.

  • Temperatures still warm and very pleasant, with little wind.
  • Rain starts easing in the Kalahari and migratory birds start to depart
  • Less busy, especially towards the end of the month - busy over Easter
  • Accommodation frees up and prices start to come down

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in April

South Africa in May

May marks the start of the dry season in the Kgalagadi. Days are warm and dry with almost zero rainfall. Night-time/early-morning temperatures can drop towards 0°C. Wildlife viewing is at its peak as animals concentrate around the few remaining water sources.

Days can still be warm and sunny in Cape Town and on the Garden Route, but the weather becomes a lot more variable. May heralds the start of the rainy season in Cape Town and the winelands. Night-time temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees in the coastal areas.

With far fewer tourists, accommodation prices are at their lowest. There is rarely any need to pre-book activities, but reservations are still advisable at some of the top restaurants.

  • Higher chance of rain in Cape Town & the Winelands
  • Day time temperatures drop significantly
  • Wildlife viewing peaks in the Kgalagadi
  • Low season so rarely busy & very few crowds
  • Low season rates at the hotels & lodges

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in May

South Africa in June

Winter is now in full swing. Maximum temperatures in Cape Town rarely reach 20°C and the rainy season is well under way. Outdoor activities therefore become limited, but a number of high-quality indoor events are organised.

The Garden Route has, in general milder weather and less rain than Cape Town.

June sees the arrival of the first whales which migrate to the South African coastline to give birth.

In the Kgalagadi, daytime temperatures are warm but nights and early mornings are bitterly cold. Wildlife viewing is excellent as animals are drawn to the few remaining permanent water points.

Overall tourist numbers are at their lowest, as are the costs of flights and accommodation.

  • Cold & wet weather in Cape Town, Kgalagadi warm days but cold at night
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi
  • Whales start arriving to have their calves
  • Low visitor numbers & no crowds
  • Accommodation & flight prices remain low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

South Africa in July

The winter weather continues with very cold nights and early mornings in the Kgalagadi and virtually no rainfall. Vegetation here is really thinning out now and water even more scarce – so wildlife is easy to spot.

Despite the winter and local school holidays, Cape Town remains a great place to visit. On a wet and cold day, the Two Oceans Aquarium, Zeitz Mocca (art museum) and the Cape Town Comedy Club all make for great days out, as does a trip to the wine country or the annual Oyster Festival at Knysna.

By mid-July most of the whales have arrived to give birth. Hermanus is the best place to see them.

At the height of the low season, so accommodation and flight prices remain low.

  • Generally cold & wet in the Cape, but good quality indoor events
  • Very good wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi
  • Oyster festival in Knysna
  • Local school holidays can make places a little busier than usual
  • Accommodation and flight prices remain low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in July

South Africa in August

While August experiences mostly wintry weather it does mark the very beginning of spring with temperatures starting to rise. Visitors are drawn to the West Coast and Namaqualand to see the wildflowers, which start blooming in late August and can be seen until mid-September. Whales are still in abundance now too.

The Kgalagadi is now very dry and wildlife vieiwng is still good. Temperatures start climbing towards the end of the month.

Despite the weather , visitor numbers can be high as the northern hemisphere schools close for their summer holidays. It may be a good idea to book certain attractions and restaurants in advance.

Simlarly, although accommodation prices are still low, flight prices can be a little higher than in previous months.

  • Temperatures start rising – but still potential for cold & wet weather
  • Wildflowers on the West Coast & in Namaqualand
  • Good wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi
  • Whales continue to attract visitors
  • Can get busy due to northern hemisphere school summer holidays

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in August

South Africa in September

Good wildlife viewing in the Kgalagadi continues and daytime temperatures increase quite dramatically. Mornings and evenings are still on the chilly side, but not as cold as they are in June, July and August.

The 1st of September is officially the start of spring in Cape Town. Days become warmer but not quite warm enough to enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches. Venues all over Cape Town play host to various artists during the Cape Town Fringe Festival.
Rainy days are fewer, but night times can still get chilly. Many hotels are still charging low season rates making September great value for money.

Elsewhere, Hermanus hosts the popular annual Whale Festival, and in the West of the Cape, wildflowers continue to bloom until the middle of the month.

  • The start of spring; temperatures start rising
  • Whale festival in Hermanus
  • Cape Town Fringe Ferstival attracts a wide range of artists
  • Wildflowers blooming well until the middle of the month
  • Good wildlife viewing continues in the Kgalagadi

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in September

South Africa in October

The weather starts warming up nicely, Cape Town experiences pleasant days, with much less rain, nights can still be quite cool, but not cold. Some days are now warm enough to enjoy the beach. This is one of the best months to visit the Cape Region.

October is one of the hottest months in the Kalahari. Water remains very scarce, so the wildlife viewing is still very good. Towards the end of the month the odd spectacular thunderstorm is possible with much lightning and thunder. Migratory birds start to arrive, and resident species gear up for the breeding season.

The whales are still present with Hermanus and False Bay the best places to see them.

  • Days start warming up; fewer rainy days in Cape Town
  • Very hot in the Kalahari – thunderstorms season starts
  • Migratory birds start arriving & resident birds start breeding
  • Whale watching still excellent in Hermanus and False Bay areas
  • Start of the high season, getting busy and accommodation prices rise

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

South Africa in November

By November Cape Town is experiencing summer conditions with hot, clear days and warm, pleasant evenings. It’s a great month to enjoy the beaches before the peak holiday season in December. There are no real downsides to visiting in November and you may even get a few accommodation specials before prices go up for the festive season. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens begins their summer outdoor concerts with local and international artists performing.

The Kgalagadi remains hot but thunderstorms are a bit more regular. With the rains, water sources become more plentiful and wildlife disperses but this is when herbivores such as Springbok start lambing. Photography improves as conditions become less hazy.

This is the last month for regular whale sightings – they tend to migrate back down south by early December.

  • Summer now in full swing, with temperatures often reaching 30°C
  • Rainy days scarce; evenings warm & very pleasant
  • Antelope start lambing in the Kgalagadi; wildlife generally dispersed
  • Last month for regular whale sightings
  • Good time to visit Cape Town before the peak holiday season

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in November

South Africa in December

December is usually Cape Town’s hottest month when temperatures frequently breach 30°C. You can expect hot and cloudless days, and almost no rain but December does see the occasional very windy day.

The Kalahari is still hot, but temperatures are not quite as high as previous months. With the rainfall the bush transforms into various shades of green. Wildlife disperses as water become more widely available.

The Garden Route enjoys warm to hot days with rain at any time but usually not over an extended period.

Mid to late December becomes incredibly busy with concerts, festivals and various outdoor activities in Cape Town. Hotel prices rise, tourist attractions and beaches are crowded and most popular sites and restaurants need to be booked in advance.

  • Long, hot sunny days
  • Kgalagadi bursts into life as rainy season kicks in
  • Wildlife viewing a bit trickier as wildlife disperses
  • Cape Town buzzing with concerts, events, festivals etc
  • Peak season: attractions get very busy & accommodation costs rise

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in December

South Africa fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Kwandwe Private Game Reserve.


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