Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

A recent visit to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve reminded me yet again what an incredible country South Africa is. We are so rich in history, culture and not to even mention the landscape. From panoramic views across the deep-blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean when you travel along Chapmans Peak or the Winelands that boasts some of the most majestic scenery in South Africa to the semi-desert region of the Klein Karoo showcasing sculpted Cape Fold Mountains, wide-open plains, indigenous flora and fauna and rare examples of San rock art.

Oh, so by the way, did you know that some of the only evidence that remains of the San and the Khoi-Khoi way of life is depicted through the delicate rock art at Sanbona?

During our game drives at Sanbona, I noticed a significant difference in the landscape between Sanbona and some of the other wildlife reserves I have experienced in the past. Although having a lower concentration of large iconic wildlife, the landscape is a fantastic place to relax while spotting some of the different African icons wandering through the reserve. Thanks to our game ranger Chris, we have spotted some of the most wonderful creatures during our visit, from hippos lurking away in the distance at the Bellair Dam, to discovering a gorgeous cheetah on foot, to endangered white lions and buffalo. We also spotted my 2 favorite animal species, giraffes and elephants.

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We stayed at what they call a “tranquil secluded oasis”. Tilney Manor has breathtakingly beautiful views of the swelling Warmwaterberg mountains and landscape of the Klein Karoo.

Our room was an open-plan suite with our very own private veranda, 2 outside showers and my favorite, a beautiful bathtub in the middle of the very spacious bathroom. I was super impressed with their cozy lounge areas, especially the fireplace warming us up before and after each game drive. The authentic Karoo cuisine was extraordinary and I especially loved lounging around their rim flow pool, catching up on emails during my free time.

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We discovered Gondwana Family Lodge on our last night at Sanbona during our delicious boma dinner. This spacious thatched Lodge offers guests a sense of modern comfort with a touch of bush authenticity. I loved learning more about their Kids on Safari programme that offers educational and recreational wildlife experiences, perfect for when they cannot join the adults on their game drives.

Our ranger surely saved the best for last when he took us to visit what I rate to be Sanbona’s most beautiful property, Dwyka Tented Lodge. The 9 luxury tents are surrounded by awe-inspiring rock formations which were once the home of ancient Khoisan hunters. I especially loved the Karoo-colour interiors and décor that was brought into these spaces. 

Just before we left, I found myself in a quiet sun-drenched corner for a view minutes while the sun gradually warms my skin…I could feel myself slowing down, appreciating the sunshine, never-ending meals and adventurous game drives, to stargazing at our awe-inspiring constellations and planets.

I can see now why so many wanderlust souls embark to your reserve from all over the world. Sanbona is truly the place to visit if you love nature, history, culture, the arts and food.

A big thank you to the incredible team at Tilney Manor, our game ranger Chris and especially my travel companion, Pippa, for making this yet again a trip to remember.

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