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“First class”

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Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“First class”
Reviewed 8 April 2014 via mobile

We spent one night. Sadly would of liked more, for our honeymoon. The service, staff, food and experience surpassed all of our expectations. The staff could not help enough. We found the food to be excellent. The game drives exhilarating and informative thanks to Mike. It was authentic and what is to be expected on a safari, that not always will sightings be made. We cannot thank the staff enough for a memorable stay.

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank joozybabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • English first
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviewed 30 March 2014

We had such an incredible time here on our honeymoon...We stayed at Tinley Manor and everyone was extremely friendly and helpful and the service was 10000% 5-star quality! Our room was incredible, our guide was extremely knowledgeable and wonderful with the animals, and everyone bends over backwards to see that you are having the best experience possible. We had a fantastic time out in the wild on safari, balanced out by complete luxury once we arrived back at the lodge. Each meal was better than the next!!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ChristianaMitchell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Letchworth Garden City, England
Level Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2014

The accommodation was superb - an enormous room and bathroom with outside (as well as inside) showers and a private patio. The area round the swimming pool was a great place to soak up the sun. The staff were friendly and service was efficient. All meals were serves quickly and to a high standard. A great place to spend a few nights. We also enjoyed the game drives (and our bush walk in particular - encountering the bull elephant is a memory that will stay with us for some time to come!). Sitting watching the elephants, rhinos and giraffes was a particular highlight for me. David was an informative ranger who was able to answer all our questions. We were impressed by the professionalism and knowledge of all the rangers we met. On planning our trip to South Africa our original plans excluded a stay at a game reserve but we were very pleased that we changed our minds.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank jab155
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014

My wife and 10 year old son joined me for 2 nights of safari in February 2014. There is much to praise about Sanbona. The star of the show here is the Karoo - a glorious yet neglected part of South Africa with a terrain unlike any I've seen. Very dry and sandy soil but with a range of succulents and plants each seemingly in a different shade of green that produce a mosaic like beauty. The Sanbona folks excel service wise - our guide (Anthea) was a fountain of knowledge and worked extremely well with my 10 year old son. In fact, the Gondwana lodge seems to pride themselves on their work with children (especially younger ones) and we saw a lot of other families. The food was also tasty, particularly given the relatively isolated location. The rooms were spacious and stylish with nice appointments and views.

One thing to keep in mind though, particularly if you have spent time in Kruger or other wildlife reseves and that is that the game density at Sanbona is relatively thin and there is much less of an approach here on spotting the "big 5" as opposed to learning about the other supposedly less glamorous flora and fauna. The plus is that the isolation affords greater solitude meaning that you are never clashing with other cars or vehicles which can also be a problem at other larger reserves. All in all, Sanbona is a special place but if you're deadset on seeing big game close up you should probably look elsewhere.

Room Tip: We liked the second story at Gondwana with the balconies affording panoramic views.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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1 Thank Ntsoelengoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
2 reviews
Reviewed 24 February 2014

My family, myself, my husband, daughter aged 6and ¾ and son just 5 years old, stayed in the Gondwana family Lodge for 2 nights. Wow what an experience. I feared for how my children would cope with the very long days (they don't sleep during the day at all) up at 5.30 and in bed by 9 or later but I shouldn't have worried. They were entertained brilliantly by our Ranger who kept them entertained with facts, stories and fun stuff for the many hours that we were out. We saw almost all that we had hoped to see and are happy that what we didn't see this time we will see next time. The lodge is spacious and comfortable and well equipped and Gondwana was not too large. The staff were charming and very accommodating. Being a family lodge too it was easy to let the kids be kids and not feel that they would be spoiling someone else's trip. The underlying conservation principles of the reserve are also fascinating, you are not just there to see animals that have been shipped in but to see animals that should be there and are living a balanced existence in the semi arid landscape, which is dramatic and beautiful. The white lions are perhaps the one exception but a small deviation can be forgiven especially once you see them. If you're in the Cape and are looking for a Safari then Sanbona must surely be one of the best (oh and theres no malaria which is a bonus!).

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Helen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
69 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2014

Wow what can I say about Sonbona Wildlife Reserve? Excellent location and amazing staff who look after you so well. The rooms are just perfect and very large and comfortable. In all honesty I only went on a game reserve trip because of my partner. After the very first Game Drive I was hooked. Subsequently I went on all four drives over our two day stay. It truly was a quite unique experience and thoroughly enjoyable. We saw lots of fantastic animals at close quarters, herds of elephants, tower of Giraffes, antelopes, white rhino, jackals, zebras and the amazing hippopotamus. We stayed at Tilney lodge which is first class, great food and managed by the wonderful Karen. I also have a new found friend in our Ranger Arwin, one of the most amazing and knowledgable guys I've ever met. It was a wrench to leave this morning. Totally recommended!

Room Tip: All the rooms at Tilney Lodge are the same, spacious with spectacular views, and have both inside a...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tony T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
145 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 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...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank ljgok
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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