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Accommodation review: Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Gondwana Family Lodge


Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, in South Africa's Western Cape, is huge. But where other game parks would crowd a property of this size with numerous lodges, this reserve keeps it relatively unoccupied - by humans that is. 


There are just four accommodation options available at Sanbona and all offer something different, and exciting. 


Tilney Manor


Set amid native gardens, Tilney Manor boasts six opulent open-plan suites in a traditional homestead setting - with fine dining, luxury spa and infinity pool thrown in for good measure.


Dwyka Tented Lodge resides in a dramatic U-shaped ravine. With a relaxation retreat, private decks and jacuzzis, and open-air 'boma' dining, this is glamping at its finest.


Dwyka Tented Lodge


For the most rustic experience and one that is closest to nature, Sabona's Explorer Camp forms part of a guided walking experience through the bush. 


If you love the idea of sleeping in luxury tents, evenings around the campfire, and the possibility of wild animals wandering past - in other words, an authentic African bush experience - this is for you.


Gondwana pool


From the spectacular yet harsh landscape of Sanbona, Gondwana Family Lodge offers an oasis-like escape - and is my home in the park.


As the name implies, this is family-friendly accommodation, with indoor and outdoor play areas, a child-friendly pool, and ‘Kids on Safari’ educational programs.


Gondwana lounge


But luxury at this lodge is never compromised, with spa therapies, gorgeous lounge areas and food and wine experiences equal to any fine-dining establishment. For lunch, think parsnip and honey soup, South Africa's national dish, Bobotie, and rooibos and date pudding to finish.


There's also artwork everywhere, including 250-year-old statues that form part of a collection acquired by Sanbona's owner.


And then there are the rooms. Under a gorgeous high thatched roof, my huge abode boasts a comfy king bed, sofa and other luxury fittings and features, like a Nespresso machine and complimentary sparkling water.


My bedroom


But with its beautiful polished concrete floors, freestanding bath and views over the Karoo, the bathroom might just be the highlight here.


Tellingly, there's also a no-key policy at the lodge, so everything's open all the time - just as nature intended.


Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is a three-hour drive from Cape Town.

The writer was a guest of South African Tourism.


My bathroom

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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 28 November 2019

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