A little bit of heaven—well actually quite a big bit of it—lies between Montagu and Barrydale where the magic world of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is considered by many as the Cape’s best of its kind.
Words by Greg Landman. Photographs by Jaco Voges and supplied.
This vast reserve is malaria free –a big chunk of the little Karoo- 58000 hectares –about the size of Singapore. It is more than a Big 5 reserve, it is spectacular in its wide open spaces, packed with indigenous flora and fauna.
At about 3hrs from Cape Town one might as well be on another planet—a very hospitable one—for the marvellous feeling of isolation it has. There is no cell phone reception so be prepared to withdraw into a world of luxurious pampering and adventure.
The one thing that always makes a huge difference anywhere is the quality of staff, and at Sanbona this is a major asset. From the moment one arrives to be greeted at the front door with steaming hot towels to freshen up you feel you are immediately in good professional hands.
One is met at the Welcome Lounge where you can leave your car, and driven to the lodge of your choice. Bear in the mind that the roads are not tarred—this is not Disneyland but Africa in all its majestic rawness.
There are three lodges from which to choose depending on the kind of experience you would like to have. Dwyka Tented Lodge is the ultimate in tented luxury—think Out of Africa meets Hilton Hotel, while Tilney Manor is more olde world charm like a piece of elegant old hospitality transported to the middle of the Little Karoo. Families will be happy at Gondwana with its gorgeous swimming pool overlooking the majestic plain, with wild life education –and minders – for the little ones.
All the lodges have game drives morning—very early—and afternoon. After all that is the reason we are here, not so? Experienced and very knowledgeable rangers, like great photographer, Gerhard, take you to where the viewing is best and all you have to do is stay warm. Elephants, white lions, cheetah, rhinos, hippos, plenty of buck, all in their natural habitat, star gazing at night, and wide open spaces that seem to go on forever are a humbling experience.
This is a very special experience for those times when you want to spoil yourself and someone close to you with unforgettable memories.