We have visited Sondela many times and we have always been a bit concerned about their security arrangements.
During our last visit (we stay in Makhato, the free standing homes) we specifically asked not to have cleaning services during our 2 day vistit, and this was confirmed by email. On the Saturday morning while we were at the pool, someone deactivated the alarm system, unlocked the house and "cleaned" it. On our return in the afternoon we were surprised, but assumed it was an honest mistake. Having 2 little boys, we were so busy that we did not think of it again until the Sunday morning when we left and I could not find my iPad. In our rush, I trusted that it must have fallen deeper into my duffle bag and that I would find it when I unpacked carefully at home. I know for a fact - and have 4 witnesses to that effect that - that we never took the iPad out of the bag the entire weekend. All 4 of us checked the house carefully before we left to make sure nothing was left behind.
Back at home we discovered that the iPad was gone and we phoned Sondela immediately - they responded that they would investigate. On the Monday morning we were advised that cleaning services "found" the iPad after we left.
The iPad was returned to us: (1) with zero battery power left (NB - the iPad was 100% charged for the weekend and was NEVER used by us); and (2) with the SIM card removed and swopped by another card which, according to the cellular network, has been blocked a while ago.
All of this detail was communicated to Sondela, who simply maintained that "cleaning services found it after we left". They failed to respond to any of our questions or concerns and never returned any calls. Our main question namely why someone gained unauthorised entry into our house / what security measures are in places surrounding Makhato house keys etc, were all left unanswered.
I guess Sondela will only start to take this seriously when someone is attacked or killed in the Mkahato homes, as staff obviously has unregulated free access to keys and alarm remotes.
Mostly as a result of Sondela's lack of response and interest in the incident, we (and our family and friends) will never visit again.
- Also Known As:
- Sondela Nature Reserve Hotel Gauteng