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“Experience of a Lifetime”

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Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 15, 2014

Because the Dwyka tented lodge was disabled by a flood we had the opportunity to stay at both of the other lodges and each is unique but fabulous. Gondwana is very contemporary and the rooms are large and have full views of the landscape. comfortable furniture and the food is excellent only surpassed by the attentive staff. It is the closest of the two to the game areas so a little less time is spent in the Land Crisers. The game guides are attentive, trained and knowledgeable. That being said don't stay here if you are bothered by children as this is the family lodge and they accommodate young children where the older family can go on the game drives. don't misunderstand , there is plenty of adult activity and the children are mainly only an issue at meals and in the pool, the place is fabulous.

Tilney Manor is just simply a blow your socks off adult retreat. The game drives are similar to the other two but extended because of the location, however the lovely 150 year old manor house reception area and the huge rooms with full verandas and outdoor showers (indoor as well) are a special escape. A full pool and deck area with attentive service , and at least during our stay I felt the food was better than Gondwana and it was fine there. The size (16 guests) and the attentive staff make you feel like its your own African Manor in the wilderness.

Room Tip: Although there is little room choice because of the small size of the lodges, the upper rooms at Gon...
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ljgok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 12, 2014

Unbelievable experience. Outstanding game drive, with fabulous staff attending to every detail.
Quality of accommodations and food were excellent. Would recommend it to anyone looking for a great mini safari.

Room Tip: we wer in tent # 9 which is more secluded than the others but any would be fine
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lloydy6935
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014

This review is of the accommodation only. Please see other post for review of the reserve itself. The set up, position and rooms are spectacular offering creature comforts to match any anywhere. We were unfortunate in that the water was cut off for twelve hours and, when it did come back on, it ran black until the pipes cleared. But one has to remember that this is rural Africa, not Cape Town central. Also, the gas fire failed to function.

I cannot echo other reviewers comments about the quality of the food as ours was excellent. What let the place down badly was the service at breakfast. Having risen early to set out for an early morning game drive it is extremely disappointing to have to wait 20 minutes before even a cup of coffee appears. Bear in mind that the maximum number to be catered for is twelve, so they are hardly being presented with a logistical nightmare. I will excuse the first morning when the water was off but there was no excuse for a repeat performance the following day. And the hotel manager can hardly claim that this is something to which he/she is unprepared.

Message to manager. Don't blame your staff - get your act together and oversee what is actually happening.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Edward1951S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2014

Stayed one night (new year's eve) at Gondwana lodge. Didn't quite expect a luxury lodge in the middle of nowhere - but it was top notch regarding everything in the rooms! Service at this place is absolutely amazing - one of the best I have ever experienced. This place makes you feel welcome to them, to the savannah and you just want to stay! Dave welcomes everyone and says good bye to everyone and is truly keen that you feel good, thank you! Also thanks to Dale, our ranger who took care of us during game drives and spotted animals very well!

The price is in the upper range, but you get what you pay and this place is worth the premium.

Would recommend this place to anyone!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank johannajaakola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2014

We were recommended this place from a south African I work with in the UK. And boy did he get this place right. it was amazing. you mainly get south Africans stay here and I never found it in any travel brouchers in the uk. but stay here if you can. the tent we stayed in were beautiful and were in a sun trap and had great plunge pools and roll top baths. The main lodge where we had lunch and dinner was lovely. the food was delicious. don't scrimp eat it all. we also had a Barbie and I got to try osteric which is yummy. On the game drives (2 a day) we say all the animals except the lions. the rangers were informative. we even got to go out on the lake to see the hippos close up which was really special. we were very lucky when we were there as we got to see a full cheeta kill. the staff are very contentious, only two vehichles are allowed around animals at any one time. If you want luxury and see animals in a true environment this is the place for you

Room Tip: We stayed in Dwyka, which are tented rooms, but they are no tent I've stayed in. they are beaut...
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rebecca J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

The service and safari at Sanbona wildlife reserve was very enjoyable. I had a goal to see, at the very least, zebras, giraffes, elephants, and hippo. I saw all but the hippo but in addition also saw a rhino, cheeta and white lions. The Dwyka tented lodge was great and situated in a beautiful location. Generally the food was good. My only complaint was that the early morning game drive goes from 5:30-9:30am but there is no food other than a rusk that you get before you leave until returning to a full breakfast. For me it was too long to go without food. I would suggest taking something along or perhaps Dwyka lodge could have snacks that are offered mid-drive.
This is a game reserve (the size of Singapore) but I felt it was a good way to have a great introduction to African animals on safari and would recommend this to others.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Dawiwe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

My family of four visited Sanbona and stayed at the Dwyka lodge. The site is simply amazing.
Surrounded by a large, tall, curving rock formation populated by baboons, it is a magical. The rooms are magnificent. All the service teams were warm and friendly. Our drives were educational as well as spectacular. The highlight was when a small herd of elephants perched on a hillside decided to get closer to this stupid truck of humans in their right of way. We could almost touched the elephants as they neared us. Scary, but unforgettable. Our rangers taught us about the stars and the rough rugged world of nature; it is not Disney!! The food and the local wine, particularly the Red Star from nearby Breede Valley were first rate. Highly recommended from travelers who have been around the world. ( we actually went in August 2011, sorry just getting around to review.)

Room Tip: Dwyka is the preferred place to stay. Only 10 rooms. Spectacular sight.
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank seanworc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Address: R62 Between Montagu & Barrydale | Die Vlakte, Montagu 6720, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Montagu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 35 Specialty Lodging in Montagu
Price Range: $619 - $1,285 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanbona Wildlife Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the heart of the Little Karoo, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is a three-hour drive from Cape Town, along Route 62. At the foot of the towering Warmwaterberg Mountains, Sanbona boasts sculpted Cape Fold Mountains, wide open Karoo plains, indigenous flora and fauna and rare examples of San rock art, some dating back more than 3, 500 years. Explore all this from your choice of 3 different luxury lodges. Whilst the free roaming Big 5 call Sanbona home, it’s the vastness of the landscape and the raw beauty of the boundless plains that make safaris at Sanbona unique. Explore the 54, 000 hectares of this malaria-free premier, private game reserve for an ultimate safari experience close to Cape Town. PLEASE NOTE THAT BOOKING IN ADVANCE is ESSENTIAL FOR VISITS TO SANBONA WILDLIFE RESERVE. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Hotel

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