South Africa’s Eastern Cape Kwandwe Private Game Reserve has grown the number of its award-winning safari guiding team to offer guests a diverse range of specialised activities, available at any time during their stay, included in their stay.
Kwandwe’s guests are invited to choose between a number of different wildlife viewing activities each day, hosted by guides who reveal Kwandwe’s wilderness by open topped 4×4, on foot or by boat. At 22,000 hectares, approximately four times the size of Bermuda but with only 26 rooms split between two small safari lodges and three private safari villas, Kwandwe offers not just a personalised safari experience but a private one as well. Furthermore, with just a small number of guests on the reserve at any one time, it boasts a light environmental impact and one of the highest land to guest ratios found anywhere in South Africa.
Specialists in walking, birding and photographic safaris as well as fishing, guides encourage guests to spend as much time out of the vehicle as in. They can choose a thrilling Big Five bush walk, enjoy a slow safari, pausing to learn about the reserve’s impressive biodiversity as well as the more difficult to encounter and observe insects, bird and wildlife or enjoy some quiet contemplation time surrounded by the African bush while fishing for bass.
The guides’ areas of expertise are as varied as the reserve itself.
- Alfie Curling – Having guided for 11 years at Kwandwe alone, there is nothing Alfie hasn’t mastered. He is Kwandwe’s lead Birding Guide with expert knowledge of Eastern Cape species. A competent and informative Walking Guide, a skill learnt young following his father on trails through the bush near the Kruger, his other big passion is fishing. Alfie has worked with the wildlife team to improve the fish species in Kwandwe’s two dams and now has great fun teaching guests to catch (and release) some fine specimens.
- Brenden Dredge too specialises in Walking and Birding Safaris and holds a degree in ichthyology making him Kwandwe’s most learned fisherman. His formative years living in the wilds of Zimbabwe, Kenya and Malawi developed his curiosity and interest in Africa’s smaller creatures and has consequently become particularly sharp on the calls of its birdlife.
- A professional photographer with six years’ under his belt even before joining Kwandwe, Ruan Springorum’s initial enthusiasm for wildlife photography combined when growing up near the Kruger and accompanying his press photographer uncle on assignments. He also is a snake handler and expert 4×4 Off Road Driver.
While many of the guides already hold guiding qualifications, the whole guiding team regardless of prior experience partakes in a wide-ranging training programme on an ongoing basis.