Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Situated at the heart of the malaria-free Eastern Cape province, Kwandwe 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 restored.

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). The 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.