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“If you are contemplating this then book it!”

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Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“If you are contemplating this then book it!”
Reviewed 3 May 2011

We stayed in dwyka tented village while on honeymoon and what a find. Sanbona is all we wanted and a lot more! The service was second to none, with everyone making you feel very welcome. Bernard deserves a special mention with his warm nature and genuine hospitality, nothing was too much hassle for him and he made our stay by the surprise we had waiting in the tent after our first game drive. The rooms are stunning with indoor and outdoor showers, his and her sinks and a huge bath. As you would expect the nights were silent and the stars amazing.

Every meal we had was stunning, with great wines and service to match. I had read a few reviews saying the drive in was difficult and bumpy in a car but we didn't find this at all, we had a Toyota corolla and it was absolutely fine.

The game drives were brilliant with a wealth of wildlife close by, our game driver really had an all round knowledge of wildlife and the flora and fauna within the game reserve meaning there was always something to look at and learn about. We were lucky enough to witness the white lions attempting to tackle a hippo, they were unsuccessful but was a stunning addition to the drive.

We both had a massage while staying there and again faultless and we both felt thoroughly relaxed by the whole experience. The only downside was the amount of weight we both put on from devouring the perfectly cooked food during such a short stay!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Lforsyth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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593 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (148)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 May 2011

We had read the reviews and Sanbona was exactly what we had expected and hoped for.
The accommodation in Tilney Manor was great - the room was exceptional, great quality. Food was very good, and service also.
The range is large so the safaris did involve searching out the animals in their habitats but it made it that much more rewarding when we did track them down. Elephants were great, including a baby. The Lions were great - we were lucky to find the White Lioness with the 2 young cubs, which were very cute.
Only down side was the weather - we had picked the coldest week of the year so far in late April - and even with lots of layers it gets cold.
Overall, we were well looked after and had an experience we will remember.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank sprie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 April 2011

WE stayed at GONDWANA lodge, which is the family lodge. The setting is beautiful, the rooms large and well appointed. Gorgeous views from all the rooms. Food is fine, not mind blowing but GOOD. The kids selection should be a bit larger. The game is OK for someone who does not have the time to go to any of the lodges in the Sabi Sands or Kruger National Park, but not satisfying enough for someone who has traveled from across the world to see the BIG 5. Their child care is excellent, our child minder was fantastic. Their SPA therapish Julia was AMAZING. I would go again just to get Spa Treatments from her all day :-) they use a very local aqnd beautiful line of products. It does take over 4 hours from Capetown because it takes 3 hours DOOR to DOOR to their GATE and then AT LEAST another hour + to actually get to the lodge. So plan accordingly. The drive is pretty!

Room Tip: ROOM 8 & 9
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank foreverluxurytravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
56 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2011

Through the last 15 years I have been to several South African Game Lodges and I can quite clearly say that Dwyka at Sanbona is the best experience I have ever had.
What a fantastic place.
Everything about this place was 5 star; however I will say one thing - don't expect an huge number of animals - this is an intimate experience. We tracked and walked up to Lion, Cheetah and Rino and at no time did anyone feel insecure, thanks to our outstanding Ranger Geran Ellish.
In short - GO THERE!!!

Room Tip: Book directly
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank PatrickMenzies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2011

I stayed in Sanbona for two nights and two days, When I made the reservation I repeatedly expresed my desire to view herd of animals in its natural environment. Not one of the represantives mentioned the fact the Reserve's vegetation CANNOTsupport large number of animals. I found this out later after my arrival from a visiting ranger from another Lodge. During my stay I participated in five drives, each of which lasted about three hours. The combined number of animals I saw was EXTREMELY limited. On top it, mos of the time one needed binaculars to identify the animals. The ranger's (guide) style eas to drive around and around for hours and not making any effort to demonstrate even that limited wild life. A lot of time was spent on explaining the characteristics of the local plant life. That belongs to a Batanical Garden not in a Safari.

In short it was a rip off.

On the plus side, the Reserve is immense in size, the rooms/food/in-house service 5*.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank zeevp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bay Area, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2011

I'm so glad I waited to review Sanbona until after our visit and safari. There are a couple downsides but based on how amazing the Dwyka Tented lodge was and our amazing safari, I'm forced to rate this very high.

Negatives:
1. Booking this was a nightmare. I sent my enquiry form online and worked through email to set up my reservation. I sent in my credit card authorization via email and fax over and over again, but nobody from the reservations office said they ever received it. It took over 20 emails back and forth, and escalating to the US office until any action was taken. Very poor service for such an expensive retreat. I recommend making all your reservations through the online system with NO human interaction.
2. When we arrived at the welcome lodge, we had to wait about two hours before anyone picked us up. We were tired and hungry, but luckily still excited to be there.

Positives: EVERYTHING else. The Dwyka lodge is sooo beautiful and has all the amenities of a luxury hotel, set up against a beautiful mountain side. Nature is right outside your door, but with the comforts of a resort on the inside. We wished we spent more than 1 night there so we could enjoy our surroundings a little more. Food was great, service overall at Sanbona was great. Our safari guide was very knowledgeable and made sure we saw almost everything we wanted to - lion, elephants, hippos, rhinos, various antelope types and other wildlife. He even went out of his way to let us experience coming in very close range of two cheetahs! Such a great experience to learn about the preservation of these beautiful animals and observe them in an open range and natural environment.

Overall, more expensive than other safaris in the Cape Town area but WELL worth the money for what you get. A few hiccups in the booking and arrival but the memories of your trip and the amazing animals you see will last a lifetime!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Meem510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oslo
Level Contributor
80 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2011

We stayed at Dwyka Tented Lodge for 2 nights in March, and we had the time of our lives. The lodge is amazing, and we wished we have had more time to spend around our "tent". The game drives were the best experience ever! We saw plenty of the animals we wanted to see; white lions, elephant, giraffe, hippo, zebras etc. Our ranger made the game drives perfect. We would return to Sanbona in an instant!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Grethel
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

Property: Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
Address: R62 Between Montagu & Barrydale | Die Vlakte, Montagu 6720, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Montagu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre 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 Speciality Lodging in Montagu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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