Let's face it, spending a well deserved holiday in the bush with the love of your life is what we would consider just perfect. The winning couple of the SA Weddings Bride of the Year 2021 Competition walked away with some seriously impressive prizes worth well over R140 000, which included not one, not two but THREE incredible and ultra luxurious honeymoon experiences all over South Africa. The coveted winners, Shaylin and Cheranté enjoyed a safari experience like no other at the magnificent Kwandwe Private Game Reserve for a second honeymoon fit for royalty. We caught up with the pair to find out everything you need to know about this prime property.
We were over the moon! I was practically beside myself with excitement - it was incredible. As the competition approached, I remember seeing a post on Instagram from SA Weddings featuring the amazing Kwandwe Private Game Reserve with its private pool and the caption read, 'This could be you.' In that moment, I couldn't believe it was actually going to be US. I couldn't wait for the trip of a lifetime!
Rejuvenating, luxurious and serene
We embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, and it was nothing short of extraordinary. On the morning of our special day, we were greeted with a breathtaking view of the wild wilderness and the melodic chirping of birds as we awoke to our very own private pool. After taking an invigorating outdoor shower, we headed down to the reception for a delicious start to our morning with freshly baked muffins and a warm cup of coffee. We then set off on our adventure, jumping into our private game vehicle where our ranger and tracker awaited us. The drive began with an unforgettable experience as we came across a female cheetah and her 8 cubs feasting on a kill. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and Kwandwe might be the first reserve to have a cheetah with such a big litter. We watched in awe as the cubs chased after their mother.
As we continued on our drive, we stumbled upon an elephant graveyard and learned that elephants too visit the place of death to mourn their loved ones. Once we arrived at the lodge, we were greeted with a hearty breakfast before heading back to our room to indulge in a full-body massage by our personal therapists. Post massage, our private butler served us drinks and snacks including the most delicious biltong. We then cooled off with a swim before getting ready for lunch, which was a mouth-watering game steak with a salad. The meal was paired with a glass of wine and we set off on our second game drive, where we had the pleasure of watching a leopard and her cub play. The afternoon drive included a sunset break with drinks and snacks, which was truly delightful.
Once we returned to the resort, we were welcomed with warm towels to freshen up and sat down to a three-course fine dining experience featuring tomato soup, kingklip, fillet steak, and a delectable dessert, all accompanied by unlimited wine. Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, we returned to our room to find a surprise hot bubble bath waiting for us with a beautiful dessert plate inscribed with 'Happy Anniversary'. The bathroom at the lodge was amazing! We then fell asleep to the soothing sounds of the African bush, completely content and fulfilled.
It's difficult to pick just one favourite part of the experience, as the entire trip was truly phenomenal! But, if I had to choose, I would definitely say it was the game drives. Our tracker and ranger were incredibly knowledgeable and made the experience so enjoyable. They went above and beyond to make sure we saw all of our favourite animals. I must add as well that the personalised touch really made Kwandwe stand out and made it a truly special experience.
One of the highlights for me was definitely the opportunity to relax and unwind in our room. With so many activities and excursions to choose from, it can be easy to forget to take a break and just enjoy the moment. I highly recommend taking a dip in the private pool with a glass of wine in hand, it was the perfect way to relax and soak up the beauty of the surroundings.
The culinary experience was truly phenomenal. Every meal was so thoughtfully prepared and the flavours were truly delicious. We had a wide variety of options including red meats, chicken, and fish. We even had the opportunity to enjoy a traditional South African braai under the stars, which was a beautiful and memorable evening. The "breakfast in the bush" was a highlight, our ranger made the most delicious omelettes and it was the perfect way to start the day.
We had the most incredible sightings during our trip. We were fortunate enough to see the entire Big 5! On the morning of our departure, we had the unique opportunity to drive alongside the lions and watch them plan a hunt for about 2 hours. We also saw a female cheetah with 8 cubs, a leopard with her cub, rhinos, buffalo, giraffe, a massive monitor lizard, hippos, elephant herds, and an array of stunning bird species. It was truly an unforgettable experience!
The staff at Kwandwe were truly outstanding. They were incredibly passionate about their work and it showed in their enthusiasm and dedication to making our experience as special as possible. They were always friendly and available to help with anything we needed. Our ranger and tracker (Tristan and Sibu) were particularly amazing, they kept us entertained throughout the game drives with their knowledge and stories. Our private butler went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and well taken care of, he even took the time to get to know us and we enjoyed getting to know the staff. They truly added to the overall magic of the trip.
Most definitely! I would not think twice – it’s a perfect balance of relaxation, luxury and activities.
I would say you would need a minimum of three nights to really enjoy the full experience.
I highly recommend Kwandwe to anyone looking for an unforgettable safari experience. The staff are incredibly passionate and dedicated to making your stay as enjoyable as possible. The game drives were outstanding, with knowledgeable rangers and trackers who will ensure you see all of your favourite animals. The accommodation is top-notch, with a private pool and a luxurious room. The meals were delicious and the staff went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. It's a trip of a lifetime, and I cannot recommend it enough.