A malaria-free, Big Five experience is a treat in its own right, but the truth is it’s the magnificent landscape around Sanbona that did it for us. The sheer vastness of the landscape with its alluring stillness, sandstone mountains, isolation amid raw beauty and boundless plains are what made Sanbona unique for us.
There is a lot of great work going on at Sanbona and they have a lot to be proud of. It’s a 54 000 hectare reserve (bigger than Singapore) which adopts an ongoing process of restoration of the regions biodiversity and reintroduction of locally extinct species. But one of the things that really caught our attention was the way they cared for and looked after some of the culturally non-sustainable features of the reserve. We are talking specifically about ancient San rock art that has survived, in some cases, 3500 years. The team at Sanbona go out of their way to share this cultural heritage and history with their guests but they also take great care to look after the art and fossils found on the land which can never be recreated.
There is something for everyone, so if it’s a family getaway you’re looking for, Gondwana Family Lodge is the perfect place with spacious inter leading rooms, kids on safari program, pool and indoor and outdoor play areas.
The historic Tilney Manor offers six luxurious suites with private decks overlooking the vast landscapes of the Karoo. Authentic Karoo cuisine, Rim flow pool and luxurious lounges are available to guests as well as a Relaxation Retreat which boasts a spa and sauna and offers the most beautiful spectacle of a Karoo sunset.
If however you are wanting privacy, romance and seclusion Dwyka Tented Lodge is exceptional. Nine luxury tents are situated in a horseshoe bend of a dry Karoo ravine with striking cliffs and nesting Verreaux’s Eagles souring above. Private decks and heated Jacuzzis elevate this Safari experience to a whole new level. Guests can dine al fresco in the beautiful open air boma or indoors next to roaring fireplaces. Other experiences include a relaxation retreat, which offers an extensive menu of relaxation and treatment therapies, a well- stocked wine cellar and elevated lounge with views over the beautifully weathered landscape. No under 16’s allowed.
Game drives are always special but experiencing one amongst the backdrop of three different mountain ranges with numerous species of plants, animals and the magical setting sun of the Karoo is unlike any other I have ever experienced.
At Sanbona there is a philosophy about educating their guests, in particular their younger guests and they have special programs designed to both free up the parents for some good alone time, but more importantly to send youngsters back home better educated about their own environment so that when they return home, they see their own neighborhood through fresh eyes and allows them to better understand the synergy between Mother Nature and their daily lives. In short they are equipping a new generation of eco-aware humans.