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Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
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All reviewsdwyka tented lodgegame driveson footcape townsafari experiencegame reservewhite rhinomain gatehot towelsour honeymoontwo nightshis knowledgeclose encounteronce in a lifetimefantastic experienceamazing animalsprivate reserve
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Reviewed 22 May 2014 via mobile

We all enjoyed our two night visit to Sanbona, the rooms are very nice, especially the top floors which have excellent views to the lake.

The food was very nice , with a good choice for all meals.

The game drives are the reason you come here and our guide was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, the little karoo and the wildlife. We saw rhino, zebra, elephants, giraffe and some antelopes.

We all left feeling a little disappointed with the lack of wildlife we saw. Having all been on safari before, we had big expectations. Sanbona doesnt seem to have many animals, and that makes spotting anything on the drives v difficult. Baboons were the most prevalent, followed by zebra.

We did enjoy our trip, but for the price its disappointing that we didnt see more and I feel even in a week there we wouldnt have seen the big 5.

Having been to Shamwari near Port Elizabeth previously, I think we had been spoilt. Shamwari is a vast reserve, but its completely alive with so many different animals, we saw the big 5 in 2 days and no end of animals. Sanbona is very different, you see just one or two animals here or there.

If visiting cape town and you have no option to go to Kruger or over the parks near PE, then sanbona is still enjoyable but temper your expectations as to the game you will see.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank rainbowrover2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2014

We booked Sanbona as our first safari experience, it was truly amazing and has now given us the safari bug! The whole service was 5*, the welcome, the facilities, the food, the rooms, the jeeps, the comfort and even the animals.
It is about 3 and a half hours from Cape Town and the roads are really easy to drive with very little traffic. Really easy to find, signposted off the main road, then the dirt track (it wasn’t too bad), the welcome lodge is about half an hours drive (depending how fast you drive through loose gravel roads) from the main gate - you have to get there at a set time!! Check the website or contact them as they only have transfer service at certain times. Bumpy, but about 45 mins to get to Tilney Manor (through the game reserve). Warm towels meet you plus a very friendly welcome from the people who run the lodge, your room (8 in total) are large, a king size bed looks out over double french doors and out into the wilderness! An indoor and outdoor shower, huge roll top bath in the centre of the bathroom, a fire (we had it on one night, they came and put it on as we requested and it was wonderful!), robes, slippers, plenty of space to store clothes etc, safe, fridge - with water, milk and fruit juice (if requested) and a jar of cookies and biscuits!! Very well equipped.
The food is amazing, 3 courses lunch and dinner, a fish, chicken, vegetable and a red meat (Springbok, Kudu etc), plus platters, soups etc. Trust me, you will not be hungry, there is food constantly. Water is always available, plus juices, tea, coffee and even a range of spirits brought out after your even drive, in front of the real fire!
The rangers are great; the jeeps are really comfortable and well equipped. Most jeeps hold 6 people, 2 at the front, 2 in the middle, 2 at the back with a large storage holder in the middle (this has water, big blankets and ponchos in them, but can also fit your camera in). They have great suspension, so you don’t leave with a headache! Wear good shoes though, as the rangers take you out of the jeep to walk up to animals! We walked right up to a herd of elephants and a family of cheetahs! AMAZING!
You wake up about 6, out on a drive for about 3/3.30 hours, and then a huge breakfast (fantastic options) then the time is yours. The pool is lovely and before you know it, it is lunch and then another drive and then dinner! All of our group (the 16 people staying there at the same time) were really social and we all sat together chatting and socialising, it was lovely and also like family (you are with these people for 3 days - of however long you stay).

The whole reserve is the size of Singapore! So you do drive around looking for the animals quite a bit, but the rangers spot a lot more than you do! Still, after 3 days we saw everything we wanted to and came back with 2500 photos!!!

Highly recommend this place and the Tilney Manor, so friendly, total luxury and with so much amazing wildlife and superb people, there is nothing you could fault.

Room Tip: They are all the same and all amazing!
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank kay_kay_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014

Our stay: we stayed for 2 nights in the Manor in March.
Overview: recommended. This is a very well run, beautiful and well maintained hotel, set in a rugged, atmospheric location. It has game viewing but a bit limited if you are used to, say, Kruger.
Our room: the room was lovely, huge and well appointed, with a large private terrace overlooking a view of plains and hills. All in all, extremely high standard.
Pluses: the standard of the accommodation, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, the location (the beauty of the surrounding countryside was a bonus that we hadn't been expecting), the food - plentiful and well prepared.
Minuses: the game drives required about 45 minutes' drive along bumpy roads before reaching the areas where the game lived. We had sightings of a reasonable range of animals although they were in limited numbers. However the other benefits of the Lodge made up for this. (We had booked to stay at the Dwyka Tented Lodge, and this was somewhat closer to the game areas, however this had been closed due to following).
Suggestions: we organised a walk with 2 rangers - this was a highlight, firstly to just be walking in the African bush and secondly to see an elephant close up and white lions at a distance on foot (plus a Cape Cobra). It was a great experience and I would strongly recommend it. I would also prefer that the room rates were increased slightly and included alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. In my experience this adds to the conviviality and interaction between guests.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rqf55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
Thank joozybabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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