Sanbona Wildlife Reserve spans a mammoth 54,000 hectares, making it the largest privately owned reserve in the Western Cape and a beacon of conservation within the region. The arid, semi-desert environment has fostered incredible biodiversity – from plant species, through mammals, birds, reptiles and insects – as they have adapted to the demanding climate and carved an ecological niche in this haunting landscape.
The name ‘Sanbona’ encompasses the dream of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. The San, or Bushmen, were the first modern inhabitants of Southern Africa, a nomadic people that lived the lifestyle of hunter-gatherers, in tune with nature, in rhythm with the pulse of an ancient landscape. ‘Bona’ is taken from the language of perhaps the most well known of the Nguni people – the Zulu. The word means ‘to see’ and with some poetic license Sanbona therefore refers to the vision of the San people. Sanbona Wildlife Reserve has set about returning this stretch of land in the Klein Karoo from the ravages of so called ‘civilisation’, to allow us to experience what the San would have hundreds of years ago.
Sanbona was formed in the late 1990s from a collection of farms with the land being rehabilitated and restored to its natural condition. Animal species that once roamed the region were reintroduced, such as Kudu, Zebra, Red Hartebeest and the majestic Eland to larger species such as Elephant, Lion, Hippopotamus and Rhinoceros. Sanbona is a Big Five Reserve, but with its Bushmen rock art, breathtaking vistas and unique, haunting landscapes, it offers so much more. Come and explore it for yourself!
Sanbona is home to three lodges spread among the 54,000 hectare reserve, each one a unique oasis of tranquillity and style, but offering the same signature standards of service and luxury.
NB: With our Price Guarantee, you will get the lowest price possible for these lodges - it's just another way we are putting you first. Contact us (link) to book your spot!
A colonial-style lodge, Tilney really is the Manor House of Sanbona! It has an illustrious history and has recently been refurbished to offer guests an exclusive and exceptional retreat. There are just six luxurious rooms, each with a private verandah perfect for soaking up the bushveld with your loved one. Relax beside the roaring fire in your lounge, enjoy a candlelit bath in the spacious freestanding tub or soothe your body with a treatment at the Spa. All the rooms come with air-conditioning, satellite television, private bars as well as wireless internet. And we haven't even got to the game viewing yet!
The earthy Gondwana Lodge is a recent addition to the Sanbona portfolio, having opened its doors in 2009. Built of stone and thatch, it really exudes that bush feel with panoramic views of the plains rolling to Bellair Dam and onto the Anysberg mountains. There are 12 spacious suites, each with a private patio or balcony, where you can soak up the ambience of your surroundings in complete solitude. Gondwana is ideal for families and larger groups, since the rooms can be connected (i.e. interleading), while the “Kids on Safari” programme and playroom will keep the children busy! The Relaxation Retreat boasts 2 therapy rooms and a steam room, and there is a sparkling swimming pool to cool you down in between activities. The food and cuisine are of the highest order and there really is no better way to wine and dine the night away. We have stayed here many times, and trust us - it is an experience not to be missed!
Dwyka Tented Lodge
The feather in the crown of Sanbona, Dwyka is a stunning tented camp nestled below the majestic Karoo mountains. Surrounded by breathtaking rock formations within a dry ravine, the hills echo with the sounds of baboon calls, eagles swooping and then pure, uninterrupted silence. The 9 canvas tents are too luxurious for words, with a private plunge pool and wooden deck - here the magic of the wilderness will leave you dreaming the days away! Enjoy a traditional African barbeque under the stars at the open air boma and select a premium vintage from the wine cellar, reliving the adventures of the bush. A throwback to the pioneering days of Safari travel, Dwyka is simply sensational - once you arrive, you will never want to leave!
1. Short Active Excursions: (for those venturing to Sanbona - rides can be booked upon arrival - or right here)
This unique excursion takes place in the magical Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, one of the Mantis Group's largest properties, just outside Cape Town. We take you on a cycle journey, back in time and place, through the semi-desert Klein Karoo, one of Africa's most beautiful and dramatic natural landscapes. Here geology and climate have conspired to offer breathtaking views and a biodiversity only matched by its Bushman heritage and the magnificent presence of Africa's Big Five, including white lion. Read more: Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - 3 hour Excursion
2. Two day, One night Trip: (ideal for a break from the city)
A fantastic experience in the little Karoo, close to nature with specialist guides to take you along exclusive trails, hiking, cycling and kayaking. The evenings are spent around the boma fires listening to stories of the San, the early history of the Cape and later at night we turn our eyes skyward, looking through a telescope to rediscover the majesty of the infinite up close. A journey not to be missed. Read more: The Wild Ride - Sanbona Karoo Reserve - 2 Day Trip
3. Eleven day, Ten Night Cycle Safari:
On this tour, you explore the rolling Cape Winelands by bike and sample some of South Africa's best vintages. Then get up close and personal with the Big Five on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, spot white lions and see ancient Bushmen paintings! Spot migrating whales and dolphins in the deep blue sea and hike through lush forests and semi-desert landscapes. Enjoy another world-class Safari on the malaria free Shamwari Game Reserve and finish off with beach bliss at the breathtaking Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve. This tour allows you to combine active travel with an excellent wildlife safari while staying in the lap of luxury! Read more: Exclusive Cycle Safari - 11 Days, 10 Nights
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