Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
Check In: When we arrived at the reception area, one of the lodge staff, Maya, welcomed us with ice lemonade and homemade cookies. We filled in some forms and also noted any food (dietary) preferences. We were then whisked away to the Great Fish River Lodge. We were welcomed by Jure, the General Manager at the lodge. He was very friendly and showed us around the main lodge. He explained the daily schedule as well as what’s included in our rate (which was pretty much almost everything with the exception of some premium, top-shelf alcohol). Wi-fi was free and worked well for the most part, though very slow. Laundry is also included in the rate.
Room: Patrick, our wonderful butler, took us to our room and gave a mini tour. The room was beautiful with a colonial/traditional design. There was a personalized welcome note that was a nice touch. There was a king size bedroom, oversized couch, desk/office area, and a private plunge pool. The room had windows everywhere which gave it a very nice, open feel.
The bathroom included dual sinks, separate toilet area, a bathtub, and an indoor and outdoor showers. They even provided mineral water for us to use to brush our teeth. The lodge was not brand new but was well maintained. Some areas could probably use some updating. One definite area of improvement were the towels which were rather worn and over-used. For a 5 star lodge, I think they could afford to provide some new towels.
Safari: We thoroughly enjoyed our safari experience. We saw 4 of the big 5. There was a good variety of animals, and we had some great sightings. Our ranger, Robin, and our tracker, Ernie, were amazing! Robin was very friendly and knowledgeable. The only “downside” of being in a private reserve such as Kwandwe was that we didn’t see a large herd of 20 lions, for example. One of the highlight for us was our breakfast in the bush where Robin made fresh crumpets for us and Ernie made us hot chocolate with Amarula!
Service: We were very impressed with the lodge and the service at Kwandwe. Actually, this was probably the best service we’ve had anywhere. Everything we asked for was always answered with “my pleasure”; they truly made us feel like royalty.
Food: We weren’t sure what to expect of the food at the safari. I thought it would all be meat and potatoes or something like that. Turns out the food at Kwandwe was quite elaborate (3 course dinner and lunch). We definitely did not go hungry at our stay in Kwandwe. They really fed us well!
Overall: We loved our stay at Kwandwe Great Fish River lodge. We absolutely took in the slow pace of life while we were at safari. We were somewhat disconnected from the world (there was no TV in the room, which was actually nice), and it was really a great feeling to be in the middle of nature. It was scary at times to think that a wild animal could show up at our balcony at any time, but I guess that’s part of the thrill. We thought that safari would be a once in a lifetime experience. But we are now looking forward to our next safari…someday.