Welcome to a safari lodge with attitude! Forget jodhpurs, pith helmets or stiff upper lips – Ecca Lodge is youthful, relaxed, modern and trendy.
Emblazoned with giant Warhol-like prints, retro light fittings and shades of olive, rust and burnt orange, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a funky cosmopolitan penthouse, until you step outside that is.
Blessed with breathtaking views over an Acacia, Aloe and Spekboom-studded valley, this funky lodge with a laid-back vibe offers the perfect wildlife experience for the young at heart. At Kwandwe all of the Lodges make use of bio-fuel that is created from recycled oils used in the kitchens and workshops. This bio-fuel is used to run and maintain the lanterns at the lodges and the running of the vehicles on the Kwandwe Reserve.
Community upliftment and development:
Kwandwe Private Reserve's social development partner, the Angus Gillis Foundation, has a number of sustainable projects running in the communities surrounding Kwandwe. Both the foundation and Kwandwe ensure that the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program continues to grow. The Reserve and Angus Gillis Foundation teamed up with the surrounding communities to establish services to meet this ever-growing need.
The Foundation and Kwandwe operates programs in rural areas of the Eastern Cape where the aim is to empower the rural people who live in conditions of abject poverty, some deprived of even the most basic of resources. The foundation works to develop and empower individuals, groups and communities, teaching them to be self-reliant.
At present the Foundation and Kwandwe are raising funds to develop and build the KwaDoli Community Centre that will serve eight rural villages in the Eastern Cape.
Kwandwe and the Angus Gillis Foundation launched an eye-testing campaign for all the children of Kwandwe's neighbouring communities. This was in response to the nationwide Spec-savers campaign in which children under the age of 12 requiring glasses will receive a free pair of frames and lenses. The foundation invited Dr. Trevor Davies to come into the communities and help conduct these eye tests and it was a first for most of the children in these communities.
Kwandwe Private Game reserve has conducted many conservation programs and projects in the past years; of these that stand out are the following:
Soil erosion at Kwandwe was earmarked as a very important project and to combat this issue a study was conducted and published in and beyond ""Ecological Journal"" and an implementation of this study has commenced.
Kwandwe has a small population of Blue Cranes (South Africa's National Bird) that are seasonal visitors to the reserve and breed in the areas of short grasslands. Kwandwe Ranges observe and monitor these birds in respect of their breeding success due to an alarming decline over the past decade. These birds are regarded as endangered.
There is a Cheetah research program due to the vulnerability of these animals. The study was to examine the feeding biology of Cheetah in valley bushveld and to establish the extent to which their normal feeding behavior was modified.
The introduction and monitoring of 11 Black Rhino on Kwandwe Private Game Reserve: This has been a successful program and guests regularly see these pachyderms in the succulent thickets of Kwandwe.
Kwandwe makes use of the fresh ingredients produced in the local communities and also participate in recycling programs on the reserve.