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“Magnificent....Again.....3rd time for me still doing it brilliantly” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge

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Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
244 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“Magnificent....Again.....3rd time for me still doing it brilliantly”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2010

Report below refers to accommodation at 'Tilney Manor'

Does exactly what it says on the tin. 5star ++++ rooms in opulent surroundings. In the middle of a game stocked wilderness.

My third time here and it is still getting it right, although I did think the food was below par compared to previous experience. Still good .....just not as good....

Rooms are 'best ever' and pool area and dining area are excellent.

I think Tilney is better than the others, but it is a personal preference thing the standard between it and the other lodge are almost identical. The newer larger scale accomodation recently completed did not look so exclusive, and i ahve not checked pricing, but the lack of exclusivity should be reflected in a lower price bracket.

We did hear from some members of staff about some issues with the new 'tented complex' having some pretty big teething problems, but my experience of the Mantis group would be that these will be short lived problems and will get sorted pretty quickly.

Game drive wise we saw lots of stuff and all that we wanted (except elephants)! Well informed warden took us where we needed to go. Again in a comparison with previous visits the level of 'traffic' was higher in the reserve, again taking away from the feeling of exclusivity. It may have become a victim of its own success.

Still loved it and had a magnificent and unforgettable 24 hours

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Polychrest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, January 19, 2010
Dear Polychrest

Thank you for you review on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, It’s wonderful to read as a repeat guest that you still enjoy the property. I’m sure you would agree with me that it does have its own type of magic that one cannot describe. I have taken note of your comments with regard to the food and will address this with the kitchen staff.
With regard to the teething problems I can assure you this have all being taken care of and Dwyka is now fully operational with no problems, I will forward your review onto our rangers department for comment on the traffic on game drives.

Once again thank you visiting the Reserve and look forward to welcoming you back in the future

Regards
Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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570 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (145)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2010

Rooms were beautiful. Large oversized tub, indoor/outdoor shower.
Staff was very friendly.
Guides were excellent -- the weather was unseasonably cold, but it was still an excellent time. Managed to see white lions, elephants, giraffes, antelope, springbok.
Would highly recommend to anyone that does not want to make the trek up to Kruger Park.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank happysun16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, January 12, 2010
Dear happysun16

Thank you for your positive review on Sanbona Wildlife reserve, I glad you where able to enjoy our piece of paradise in the Klien Karoo and look forward to one day welcoming you and your family back to the reserve

Regards
Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2010

Beautiful game reserve, amazing rooms & outstanding service. The sorroundings are georgeous, and the staff think of absolutely everything. The private pool in the Dwyka tented camps are divine. 2 points - Breakfast & Lunch was superb, but I thought dinner could have been better. Also, great location to chill out but probably not the best for seeing loads of wildlife. It's definitely worth going for to see the white lions as I think it's the only game reserve with free white lions.

Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank butterfly783
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality Manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, January 7, 2010
Dear butterfly783

Thank you for your positive review of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, I'm glad that you where able to "chill" and enjoy the surrondings. I will pass on your kind words to the team at dwyka

Kind Regards
Simon
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Gothenburg
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2009

Gondwana Lodge, very nice setting, big rooms and perfect service. Not cheap, but worth it at least once in a lifetime.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lotusfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, December 8, 2009
Dear Lotusfan

Thank you for your review on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. I delighted that you enjoyed your time with us and hopefully someday you will be able to return to our Reserve

I have passed on you kind words to the team at Gondwana Family Lodge

Regards
Simon
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AbuDhabi
Level Contributor
64 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2009

We travelled the 3hour drive from Cape Town and left our car at the gate (secure area) as the road inside the reserve was not fit for cars with low suspension and it was nice to relax the last part of the journey.
We were very surprised at the luxury of the resort as we arrived at the tented lodges. Our lunch was just lovely (three courses with wine) although there was no air conditioning in the main lunch area in the heat of the day more fans would be preferable as it was quite hot whilst eating.

We were soon taken out to the first game drive at 4pm. On our first drive we saw a heard of elephants which walked past the six seater car that we were in as did a rhino and its baby. We also saw another four rhino at a distance. The cars do not go off the tracks to avoid harming the shrubland and therefore taking binoculars can be a good thing although I still felt that we were close to the animals as we were very lucky,

The next day we headed out at 5am and saw the white lions, more rhino and giraffes as well as various types of antelope and zebra. We really did feel that we had some good sightings although you do have to cover quite a bit of ground. Apparently the wildlife density is not as good as Kruger but we were more than happy especially avoiding another flight and long drive. Our game driver was also very knowledgable and able to answer any questions that we had.

The dinner was lovely and the accomodation was very spacious and classy with outdoor hot tubs.

All in all I would recommend this resort and although a two night stay would be less hectic - one night was still action packed yet very well managed and we definitely felt spoiled.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Aileen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, November 30, 2009
Dear ExpatscotAbuDhabi

It is with appreciation that I read your review on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. It’s wonderful to see that you had a great time. Thank you for your kind words I will ensure that they are passed on to the team at Dwyka. It was great that you got to spend some time with us and hopefully one day we can welcome you back to our little piece of paradise in the Western Cape

Kind Regards
Simon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Level Contributor
46 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2009

What's great about Sanbona is the location - we drove here from Cape Town (3 hours) and then went on to Stellenbosch (about 2.5 hours) - we didn't want to catch a flight to Kruger so this was ideal. We were upgraded to a Dwyka tent - incredibly luxurious - a roll top bath, an indoor and outdoor shower (completely secluded!), a plunge pool, sunbeds, mini bar (all free!), huge bed, large terrace, etc. Game rides were great, but i agree we probably would have seen more animals had we gone to Kruger. We saw elephants, a cheetah eating its prey, hippos, walked with giraffes, etc. We're not massive animal people so we were happy with what we saw. Also loved the morning tea and biccie breaks,and the sundowners and nibbles! it gets really cold so we were given blankets and bottles of water too. The food was sometimes amazing, sometimes just okay, but i liked that they weren't stingy with the wine (it was all included). I think it cost us £950 for two nights which isn't cheap (it was a wedding present) but it really is very luxurious - i don't think I would pay it though!! the staff were all really friendly - the other thing i didn't like was that we had to have dinner and breakfast sometimes with the people we were going on the game drives with - lovely people but we were on our honeymoon and didn't want to have to eat with strangers! (you don't even get a choice which I thought was a bit off). Other than that, i would recommend

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank travel1028
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, November 1, 2009
Dear travel1028

Thank you for your review on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Congratulations on your wedding and thank you for spending part of your honeymoon at Sanbona. As the hospitality manager of the reserve I can assure you if we are aware a couple is on honeymoon on the first night they receive a honeymoon turndown which includes complimentary champagne in the room. We have also done a number of room dinners for newlyweds on the deck of there tents. I just wonder if you booked though a travel agent if this is the case I don’t think they passed on the information to us.
Once again thank you and I wish you all the best in your marriage

Yours in Hospitality
Simon
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Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2009

We stayed at Gondwana lodge for 2 nights. Without any doubt, the standard of the acomodation is 5* but we felt it was really let down by the quality of the food. We've stayed in several other 5* properties in South Africa and recognise that the standard may not be quite as high as in other countries but this was definitely way down the scale with did warn us about the food.
The housekeeping could also have been better - cobwebs were spotted in several places.
We were very happy with the game drives and the ranger who took us round. We were fortunate enough to be the only guests on the last two drives so we had a very much personalised service and were able to see the captive white lions in their enclosure. Overall a good experience but could be better.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Carole H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simonber123, hospitality manager at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge, responded to this review, November 1, 2009
Dear Ckitten

Thank you for your review on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, I'm glad that you enjoyed your lodging that you stayed in and the game viewing experience that you had. I have noted your comments on the food and for your information all the chefs in the group are currently on retreat to look at standard of the food and new menu idea’s. We have acknowledged that our food needs to improve and all efforts to do this are now in place. I’m sure that the food standard will improve and we will be serving a 5* meals very soon
Once again thank you for the review

Yours in Hospitality
Simon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge

Property: Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge
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 34 Specialty Lodging in Montagu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor, Dwyka Tented Lodge, Gondwana Lodge 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. ... more   less 
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