I was travelling with my elderly father and we stayed in Tilney Manor (although this problem applies to Dwyker as well). Our room was very large and luxurious, with comfortable beds and sofa, beautiful furnishings, a large balcony and an outside shower (too cold to use). However, the bathroom area adjoins the bedroom and is completely open with the bath having pride of place right in the middle. There is no place to get undressed/dressed/drying for showering either. I asked the guy who welcomed us (presumably the team manager) if they had a mobile screen of some sort (paravent) so that we could have some privacy. They didn't have one, which I found very strange as this is an easy solution to a problem "that has come up before" (team leader). My father and I had to wait until coming back from the game drive to take turns to use the room if we didn't want to avoid having breakfast at different times (not enough time for that either). We both felt very uncomfortable with the situation and it greatly detracted from our enjoyment of our visit. Surely the management could procure one or two paravents for such visitors. They can be folded up when not in use, and on wheels for easy positioning.
Other than that, the service and facilities were excellent, and the food was well above average most of the time (please put something juicy in the club sandwiches, they were just 3 pieces of toast with bacon and a solidly fried egg between them and were very dry, maybe a little tomato).
The WiFi was very weak and only available in the Manor House itself, in fact at the top of some stairs leading to a separate building of the rear terrace.
Sanbona's greatest advantage is being so close to Cape Town, only a comfortable 3-hour drive away. It game park is enormous, but with very little game. This means long drives with far fewer sightings than in Kruger or Shamwari (owned by the same group). The landscape is beautiful, so there is plenty to see between animal sightings. Even with their radio collars, the cheetahs and lions were not always easy to find. Nevertheless, during our 2 days/4 game drives we had 2 wonderful sightings of cheetah, as well as buffalo (with new-born calf), bat-eared foxes, elephants, giraffe (from 200 m!), baboons sunning themselves, zebra, kudu, plenty of birds, and lions. Because game sightings are rarer, they are more intense. After driving for so long to see something, we really looked. Our game ranger Jannie was extremely knowledgeable and sharp-eyed, spotting all sorts of creatures great and small whilst driving along. He was forever cheerful and helpful, answering our questions with interesting details. We had several walks to see lion and white rhinos at closer quarters. Being face to face with 2 white rhinos at ground level about 50 m away was exhilarating, something I will never forget.
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- Also Known As:
- Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Hotel