About Sanbona

All you need to know about Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, set along the lesser travelled Route 62 highway which runs some 450km from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn. Often referred to as the ‘inland alternative’ to the Garden Route, this route takes you through rural South Africa, past tiny dust-ridden towns and into the Klein Karoo, a stretch of arid semi-desert which meanders its way up country.

The 54000-hectare Sanbona reserve is sandwiched between the towns of Barrydale and Montagu, set against a landscape of rolling hills. The San (Bushmen) were the first to wander this area and their history echoes across the expansive plains. All the reserve’s lodges – Tilney Manor, Gondwana Lodge and Dwyka Lodge – are themed on these prehistoric people and the design is a welcome change from the traditional African safari lodge. Plus the area is malaria-free so swop your medication for a Martini at the bar.

Geographically Sanbona is positioned within the Little Karoo in the Western Cape at the foot of the Warmwaterberg Mountains. Combine these two facts with it’s incredible size and you have the perfect recipe for stunning mountain vistas, wide open spaces and vegetation unlike anywhere else you have ever been.

At Sanbona they have a unique approach to the wildlife experience, the word Sanbona comes from the San people and the word ‘bona’ means vision, the San people believe in living in harmony with nature and their vision has come to life at Sanbona. In such a unique setting the challenges faced by conservationists are also unique. In this environment even tried and tested practices from long established reserves like the Kruger National Park, don't apply. So at Sanbona every step taken is towards learning what works and what doesn’t. For example discovering how much game the reserve can support without negatively impacting on the fragile and unique vegetation. It’s all rather complicated, but suffice to say that at Sanbona special emphasis is placed on balance in the environment.

Due to the nature of the environment the game at Sanbona is more widespread and generally large numbers are not seen. What it really comes down to is learning about all the little things. The rangers at Sanbona are well versed in all aspects of the reserve. Your guide will be able to interest you in the smallest plant and insect as well as the biggest elephant and the mightiest lion.

That's not to say you won't see any game, because you will. You may even get the chance to walk up to resting cheetah or careful meander through the bush tracking rhino. And of course Sanbona is most famous for its free roaming white lion, Sanbona is one of only two places in the world where this rare beast still lives freely. The other is the Timbavati Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park.

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