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“Excellent weekend retreat for entire family” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sondela Nature Reserve Accommodation

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Sondela Nature Reserve Accommodation
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Tweefontein Farm | Warmbaths, Bela Bela 0480, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Bela Bela
Centurion
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Excellent weekend retreat for entire family”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

The nature reserve is a mere two hours drive from Johannesburg / Midrand which make it an excellent weekend retreat. We stayed in one of the Bush Lodges on the reserve but there are various forms of accommodation ranging from Camping to a 5 star Lodge. It is a haven for children and we could not drag our children away from the farmyard where they could milk the cows, feed the goats and sheep, bottle feed little lambs and ride on donkey carts and horses. They had activities for the children throughout the Saturday and the children could be watched whilst enjoying refreshments in the garden. The "wild" animals are so tame, a mongoose came begging for treats and even the Nyala allowed the kids to touch them in exchange for "treats". There is a wildlife sanctuary and ample space to ride mountain bikes and go hiking. It is a great place to replenish the soul.

Room Tip: We decided on a private bush lodge as we have young children
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
South Africa
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2011

Sondela is situated in a private nature reseve and tries to emulate the classic South African Bushveld experience. Do they succeed? I would have to say they do. We stayed in a 6 sleeper chalet, Maroela 12, which we found spacious, comfortable and clean.Cleaning was done daily and the cleaning staff was friendly and helpful. The chalets are situated in an amongst the trees and the veld and offers you ample privacy and a feeling of really being in nature. The nyalas and bushbabies were regular visitors as well as various bird species. There are a myriad of walking trials and biking routes on the estate which give you the unique oppurtunity to meet game at close quarters while enjoying nature. The staff tries to provide for various forms of entertainment for the whole family (quad biking, archery, feeding animals, a wildlife centre, cooking lessons) and the property also has various swimming pools (cold as well as one heated one at reception). Withing two hundred metres from our doorstep there's an entertainment centre which feauted a big pool and jacuzzi as well as a huge lawn and braai area.
The restaurant on the premises, Picinninis (forgive me if it's spelt incorrectly) is a disappointment. Service is slow and the menu overpriced - avoid it. The staff, which consists of many young students who study at the Sondela Tourism Academy on the property, is keen and helpful with the exception of on or two, and the estate aims to cater for the whole family.
There's enough to keep the youngsters busy as well as allow mum and dad to laze around and enjoy the peace and tranquility. Sondela offers an enjoyable, family experience, yet also caters for couples. We would definitely like to visit it again in the future.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire, UK
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

We have just arrived back to the UK from a few weeks around various locations in South Africa, Sondela being one of them.
Arrival was faultless and reception well staffed. The accomodation was in one of the RCI chalets and superb. The chalet we were in was 3km away from the reception (I know that for a fact as I ran to and from reception early every morning for exercise), running here was superb, with meeting zebra, kudu, impala, nyala, and warthogs on a very regular basis.
'Activities' were relaxing and ample, from the wildlife centre visits, to game drives (maybe here the guide could have been more dynamic and engaging - but I may just have been spoiled from the many years visiting other locations and expect too much. There were also mountain bikes for hire (be warned though the saddles are solid and leave one with sore seat bones - we only managed 10km within the reserve before we were walking like John Wayne and took the bikes back!).
The accomodation standard was good - the maid service excellent, the braai area adjacent to the chalet was impecable and made for a lovely area to sit out in the evenings.
There are 'tame' nyela families that come around each day, just watch for the bucks' horns as they can get a little excitable with them.
One comment to feed back on though is that I needed internet access for work and was assured twice that one could purchase blocks of time that can be logged in and out of as needed - this is not true and the time simply runs continously rather than the clock ticking only as you use it.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Argyll, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2008

We have visited Sondela from the UK 6 or 7 times now, each time wondering if can live up to the last trip, and each time leaving amazed by how it just keeps getting better and better. Being only 2 hours max from Jo'Burg we can land from the UK and be in SOndela by lunchtime, it feels like coming home, and your holiday well and truly starts.

There is a range of chalet types, and we definately prefer Makhato, the newest ones, but all are a very good standard, it's just the older ones are a bit smaller although their proximity to the swimming pool complex makes up for their size. All units are very generously sized compared to self catered units we have visited in the UK.

The game reserve is wonderful, huge and tranquil, but with lots of game which is easy to find in your car, or on foot as it's totally safe.

The central complex of swimming pools, restaurant, farmyard, horseriding etc is incredibly family friendly, well maintained and the bar and restaurant are great value. The entertainment team take great care of you, kids and adults alike and the range of activities is truly amazing. you can do as much or as little as you want to, and the staff take great care of you really well.

Although self catered, this is self catering with a twist, with the maids arriving twice a day to clean and keep things looking great, and the barbeque cleaned most mornings before you get up.

We love SOndela, and can't recommend it highly enough, we have found somewhere that ticks all the boxes when travelling with kids, but where mum and dad get a break too. Book Now!

  • Liked — SPatious and well maintained
  • Disliked — Game reserve is large so you need to drive between main office and accomodation
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2008

We stayed at Sondela the last weekend of August. One is welcomed with pancakes, juice and/or wine. Staff meeting you are very friendly and explain all that there is on offer. Keep in mind they are very strict about the 3pm check in, however, if you are early just sit in their nice gardens and enjoy the pancakes. The chalets are private and very clean. Almost as we arrived we a tame nyala came up to be fed, later brought more, my daughter loved it so much so we had to get a big 5kg of carrots to feed them at various times of the day. We took our bicycles as its safe to cycle but beware the tyres get thorns in easily. There is a warm pool at reception or one can go in the jacuzzi at Maroela. Also trampoline, farmyard, play area, put put, horseriding and game drives. There is also a wildlife centre one can visit but we didnt get round to that. There is an onsite restaurant called Puccinis but doesnt sell much Italian food. All in all a wonderful long weekend, so sorry it had to end.

  • Liked — The chalets were private
  • Disliked — Having to pay a lot of money for an accidently broken soap dish
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
175 reviews 175 reviews
163 hotel reviews
Reviews in 145 cities Reviews in 145 cities
411 helpful votes 411 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2006

A great place to come for a family trip. There are three types of accomodation: chalets, a tent camp and a caravan park. We hired two chalets for our party, each one consisting of an open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting area, and two bedrooms on the ground floor followed by a mezzanine bedroom. All very comfortable. Each chalet is set within its own little enclosure and also has a large outdoor shelter. One of our chalets had barbequeing facilities and an outdoor jacuzzi in this shelter but as far as I could tell it was the only one like this. There was a nice swimming pool nearby for use by those staying in the chalets.

There's plenty of big wildlife wandering around the reserve - giraffe, nyala, mongooses, blesbok, impala, eland, wildebeest, warthogs etc.. and lots of birdlife too. There are marked hiking trails or you can tour the reserve in your car.

The main reception complex contains restaurants, another pool, a shop and a place to book a wide range of activities that cater for all age groups. We had no children in our party, and only booked one activity, which was a night drive - that was superb, with a very knowledgeable guide.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sondela Nature Reserve Accommodation

Address: Tweefontein Farm | Warmbaths, Bela Bela 0480, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Bela Bela
Amenities:
Casino and Gambling Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Bela Bela
Number of rooms: 11
Also Known As:
Sondela Nature Reserve Hotel Gauteng

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