“One of my personal highlights during my last trip to South Africa (November 2019) was the discovery of this fantastic hidden gem in the Little Karoo: Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. It was truly an unforgettable experience and I did not want to leave this place!”
Fun dact: I studied Lodge & Wildlife management in South Africa in 2009 and then went back a few more times in recent years, so you can say that I have visited a lot of lodges and game reserves during my studies and trips in South Africa. And you know what? Sanbona has become one of my favorite game reserves!
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is located at the foot of the towering Warmwaterberg mountain range in the Little Karoo area. Three luxurious lodges and an adventurous Explorer Camp are nestled within 58,000 hectares of Cape mountains and vast plains. From Cape Town, it only takes 3 hours to drive the beautiful route 62 towards the heart of the little Karoo, where this (malaria-free!) private game reserve is located. It is a special environment full of flora and fauna (and the big 5!) and you will even find centuries-old rare examples of San rock art in the reserve. Conservation is very important at Sanbona and each guest contributes to the preservation of this beautiful wilderness for future generations. It is the vastness of the landscape, the seductive silence and isolation amidst these raw beauty and boundless plains that make Sanbona unique. I fall head-over-heels in love with this safari destination.
You can choose to sleep in three different lodges or in a back-to-nature Explorer Camp. Each lodge is surrounded by mountains, silence, wildlife and the vast scenery. The lodges are far apart and operate independently. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included, as are daily game drives! There are also many additional activities to be booked. The rangers have a lot of knowledge and every game drive was truly unforgettable. I think it’s the best thing there is: get up at five o’clock in the morning and jump into the jeep, wake up while driving in nature and listen to the stories of the ranger, the sun that slowly rises, the wind playing with your hair, looking for traces in the red sand, the mountains that light orange as the sun rises higher.. Fantastic. I do love the evening game drives as well, especially the sundowners! Somewhere during the safari you will stop in a beautiful place and then… the jeep bar emerges: have a glas of wine while the sun goes down and wildlife could peek around the corner every moment. Ultimate happiness! Because we were there for several days we discovered a different piece of the reserve every day and we have spotted so much wildlife (the big 5 and even white lions!). We also did a walking safari and discovered a piece of the reserve with a ranger on, indeed, foot. We ran into a cheetah, so special and exciting! Food was amazing each and every day: from the cosy braai to boma-pizza evenings and from the tastiest carrot cake ever to delicious breakfasts: they know how to cook in South Africa.
Dwyka Tented Lodge
We park the car at the welcome lounge, where we are picked up by a ranger who takes us to the lodge. The first night we stay at Dwyka Tented Lodge, a truly unforgettable experience. Embraced by striking rock formations, this lodge embodies the word seclusion. I love it! The lodge consists of just nine luxury tents, each with its own private deck and a heated jacuzzi and all located in a dry Karoo ravine. We have a view over the rock formations and regularly see wildlife jumping over the rocks and eagles building their nests. Beautiful, this true wilderness. The tented lodge reflects the nomadic lifestyle of the Khoisan tribe that once inhabited this country. We enjoy dinner outside in the Boma firepit, I always like that! Food was very good. There is also a communal lounge, a gift shop and you can book spa treatments!
The second night we slept in Gondwana Lodge. This once again truly beautiful lodge is the perfect retreat for family, friends and groups. Our spacious room had a great view of the beautiful Anysberg mountains and the Bellair Dam, where we even saw a giraffe with baby drinking/ A particularly rare sight! This spacious lodge with thatched roofs offers a sense of modern comfort with a touch of bush. The interconnecting rooms, indoor and outdoor play areas and a child-friendly swimming pool are suitable for guests of all ages, and the Kids on Safari program offers educational and recreational nature experiences. Now that I have a bonus twin of 3, I think it’s so nice to take them to my favorite country! Here too you will find a large communal space, a gift shop and a spa room.