We really liked Sanbonani. OK, so it's a good 40km or more from the KMI Airport and easily 5 minutes drive away from Hazyview shopping centre, so hiring a car is 'a must', but if you're in this area you are most likely going to be driving around the Kruger, etc, anyway!
Sanbonani is a well-presented, nicely laid-out resort. We were impressed by the standards of cleanliness and upkeep. Our two-bedroom chalet was spacious, comfortable and clean. It was visited daily for cleaning and our beds re-made. Not only that, but even the bin bags we fitted weren’t allowed to stay on the bin longer than 24hrs.
The swimming pool is a large one, split into three sections, allowing parents to more easily control the depth to which their children can venture. It also features broad steps, for ease of access, rather than ladders.
We can’t report on the squash, tennis, gym, etc, facilities since we never bothered. The crazy golf course was being refurbished whilst we were there so should be fully open again by now.
The staff were unfailingly polite and friendly, although sometimes a bit laid back about time - but then there was never any real rush; we were on a relaxing holiday! :o)
The restaurant and bar were both great value and the food was always excellent, even too generous for some of us! We felt guilty that we couldn't always do the meals full justice. The bar menu was quite limited, but there was nothing to stop anyone opting to eat from the restaurant buffet whilst fellow residents chose from the bar menu and vice versa. This gave us the flexibility to avoid occasional themed or BBQ evenings should anyone not fancy them. We did talk about eating off-site for a change but somehow never seemed to get around to it.
It’s not the most ‘happening’ of places – if you want nightlife, I think you will need to travel a couple of miles back down the road to Perry’s Bridge. Otherwise you can enjoy a quiet evening of conversation over drinks and a meal, listening to the singing insects and frogs, or maybe watch some local entertainment put on for coach parties staying at the hotel.
Yes, we saw the hippos! It was quite surreal to see a hippo wandering by on the path below the chalet balcony or casually grazing the grounds after the staff had been mowing the lawns! It was interesting that there were patrols to keep us aware of the hippos' presence. They are, after all, one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, no matter how placid they might look.
There were also cats, frogs, lizards, bats, birds, and butterflies galore to admire in the green, well-tended grounds. Oh, and those impressive golden orb spiders!
Sanbonani is very well situated as a hub for visiting the Kruger, Blyde River Canyon, and the other places of interest in the region. Trips can be booked on-site, with plenty of help and advice. There are two filling stations at Hazyview, just down the road, and the fuel (when we were there) was cheap, particularly in comparison with UK prices! The attendants were cheerful and ready to chat whilst they re-fuelled the vehicle (and gave the windscreen a once-over) – we never worked out whether we should really be tipping them or not.
I'll get the negatives out of the way quickly: they're niggling minor-ish points. First: we arrived early evening on Easter Saturday to discover that the site membership rep office would not be open until the Tuesday after. Until then the hotel reception would be our only point of contact and information – no booking of trips. It also meant that we had no access to the safety deposit box, which resulted in us having to keep money, credit cards and passports with us at all times for over two days. Not good if you have to go off-site to do shopping, etc. It would be better if the safety deposit boxes, at least, were available 24/7 or close to it.
Second: not Sanbonani’s fault, but power outages are quite common, affecting the whole region. The resort has back-up generators for essential services, including emergency lighting in the chalet, but be prepared to use torches or candles on occasion.
So, on balance, a lovely resort and well worth visiting. Recommended.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.