Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, R62, Montagu, South Africa
ZAR 9,390per adult sharing per night
Breath-taking views of the undulating mountains and landscape embrace the historical Tilney Manor in a refuge of peace and tranquillity. The Manor offers six spacious open-plan suites leading on to private verandas. Guest experiences include authentic Karoo cuisine, luxurious lounges and a rim-flow pool. Indulge your senses at the Relaxation Retreat that boasts a steam room and sauna while witnessing a pure African spectacle – a Karoo sunset.
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating999 Reviews
- Rim-flow swimming pool
- Relaxation Retreat with steam room and sauna
- Lounge with fireplace and television with satellite channels
- In and outdoor dining facilities
- Gift boutique
For guests self-driving to Sanbona, check in is at 14h00 on day of arrival and check out is at 11h00 on day of departure.
Transfers can be arranged with reservations on request at an additional cost. All transfers are handled by accredited car hire and charter companies and must be arranged prior to arrival.
Sanbona offers a Welcoming Lounge 15km from the main gate. A complimentary transfer from the welcoming lounge to the different lodges is available on request and must be booked at least 72 hours in advance.
There is secure parking available for vehicles at the Welcoming Lounge. Guests enjoy a refreshment while they wait for the transfer to their respective lodges.
|Arriving Guests||Departing Guests|
|Pick up time||Lodge||Time of arrival||Lodge||Departure Time||Arrival at Welcoming Lounge|
|12h30||Tilney Manor||13h15||Tilney Manor||11h35 – 12h00||12h15|
Please Note: All times are estimated and subject to road conditions and vehicle types.
- Sun block
- Walking boots
- Comfortable and casual clothing
- Warm tops for game drives
- Camera (300 – 600mm lenses for good photographs)
- Medication for allergies and chronic conditions
Map & Directions
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, R62, Montagu, South Africa
From Cape Town
Approximately 270 km from Cape Town.
- Take the N1 highway in the direction of Paarl – There is a tollgate on this road, just before the Huguenot Tunnel.
- Once through the tunnel, take the second turnoff to the right into Worcester (R60) – Follow the signs towards Robertson.
- Drive through Robertson, still on the R60 into Ashton.
- Proceed through Ashton – the R60 becomes the R62.
- Carry on through Kogmanskloof and Montagu.
- About 43km from Montagu, turn left at ‘Die Vlakte’ and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve sign.
- Continue for 7km to reach the main entrance.
- Proceed for another 15km to reach the Welcome Lounge.
Please be advised that the road changes from tar to gravel and the recommended speed limit from there until the Main Gate is 60 km/h. The main entrance to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is 7 km. Once through the Main Gate, the speed limit is 40km/h.
- Follow Route 62 for 175km via Calitzdorp and Ladismith, towards Barrydale.
- From Barrydale, continue on Route 62 towards Montagu for approximately 22km.
- Turn right at ‘Die Vlakte’ and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve signs.
- Continue for 7km to reach the main entrance.
- Proceed for another 15km to reach the Welcome Lounge.
Guests with suitable or 4×4 vehicles can drive themselves to their lodge from the main gate.
If you’re driving to your lodge yourself, it’s important to take note of the following:
- Please follow the relevant signs in the reserve.
- The recommended speed limit is 40km per hour.
- Do not exit your vehicle as predators roam free.
- The main gate closes at 18h00, should your arrival time be later, please advise prior to arrival in order to make arrangements.
Pick up from welcome lounge at 12h30 – arrive at Tilney 13h15, at Gondwana 13h25, arrive at Dwyka 13h35.
Pick up from welcome lounge AT 16h00 – arrive at Tilney 16h45, arrive at Gondwana 16h55, arrive at Dwyka 17h05 (these guests will not be able to join the afternoon game drive.
- Pick-up from Dwyka Tented Lodge at 11h00
- Pick-up from Gondwana Lodge at 11h20
- Pick-up from Tilney Manor at 11h35
- Arrive at the welcome lounge at 12h15
Interactive game drives last up to 3 hours and take place in the tranquil moods of sunrise and sunset.
Sanbona is an ongoing conservation project that aims to restore the ecological balance in a landscape formed during cataclysmic times 350 million years ago. Travel through 3 different biomes, and many habitats, including the quartz fields of the succulent Karoo, a very special habitat characterised by beds of angular quartz debris and home to a flora of stunning minute succulent shrubs.
You will traverse this wild landscape with a qualified ranger in a comfortable open Land Cruiser. During the drive, either in the early morning or at sunset, numerous species of plants, animals, big game and birds can be seen.
A hot beverage of your choice is offered during the sunrise game drives. Sundowner evening drives offer spectacular displays of light as the sun sets over the Little Karoo.
Please note – no persons under 4 years of age are permitted to join game drives.
To make the best of your safari game drives at Sanbona, do bring along the following:
- Warm clothing
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is home to more than 200 species of birds, a delight for anyone that’s interested in birdwatching. In fact, the banks of the Bellair Dam alone are home to more than 40 species of birdlife, making it a hotspot of avian activity.
Pack your binoculars, notepads, and field guides because there is a healthy population of birds to be seen. And due to the unobtrusiveness of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, all of them are at ease, which makes for pleasurable viewings and easy sightings.
Whether you’re on a game drive, boat safari, or simply relaxing at one of our luxury lounges, you can expect to see many rare and beautiful birds, such as:
Southern Grey Tit
Birds of a Feather
The Little Karoo is a well-known birding destination. With the contrast of vast plains, mountains, water-courses, and drainage lines throughout the area, it makes nesting for a variety of species easy.
You can expect to catch a glimpse of birds of prey, such as the Jackal Buzzard or Little Brown Jobs like the Chat Flycatcher. You might even find Chestnut-vented Tit Babblers, mingling with doves, mousebirds, and sparrows.
Through our birdwatching activities, you’ll certainly learn about and experience the wonder that is nature. Some species, like the Namaqua Sandgrouse, travel up to 80km in search of water. They collect droplets of water in their breast feathers, and fly back to their nests to deliver it to their chicks.
Best of all, whether you love the larger species like the Ludwigs Bustard, or you’re simply delighted by the more delicate ones like the Black-headed Canary, you and your family are in for a treat.
Flora & Fauna
There are over 600 types of flora within Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Various species bloom at different times throughout the year, but, in this region, flowering occurs more prolifically between August and September.
Sanbona is at the forefront of an on-going conservation project that aims to restore the ecological balance in the area. Approximately half of the surrounding landscape used to be livestock and agricultural farms, which have since been removed which has allowed the various floral kingdoms that make up the reserve to flourish. Plant life that inhabits this region of the Western Cape includes Acacia Thickets, Renosterveld, Succulent Karoo and Central Mountain Fynbos. Species of succulents are especially varied and fascinating with names like Baby’s Bottoms, Ostrich Toes and Pig’s Ears.
As part of our conservation efforts, we have reintroduced animals that once roamed the area freely, but were eradicated due to farming. The Big 5 and various other species such as gemsbok, springbok, hartebeest, eland, kudu and zebra can now all be seen on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.
Other animal species that continue to thrive thanks to the efforts of Sanbona include natural small game such as the:
- Brown hyena
- Grey rhebok
A riverine rabbit population was discovered on Sanbona in 2006, and as these animals are only known to exist in the central Karoo, they are incredibly rare. Moreover, this species of rabbit is the 13th most endangered mammal in the world. Sanbona is currently only one of two protected areas that provide riverine rabbit populations with sufficient space and diversity for their ecological processes to function naturally.
Kids on Safari
At Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, we promote nature conservation across everything we do, from our environmentally friendly Lodges, to the activities we offer you as a guest. Which is why we take great pride in offering children fun experiences at Sanbona that will create future conservationists for the good of our planet.
This spacious thatched Gondwana Family Lodge offers guests a sense of modern comfort with a touch of bush authenticity. Interconnecting rooms, indoor and outdoor play areas and a child-friendly pool cater for guests of all ages. Spending your vacation here ensures entertainment for the whole family.
Upon arrival at Sanbona, kids can expect to have the time of their lives through our Kids on Safari packages. With exciting activities planned, interactive welcome packs and even child minding services on request, mom and dad won’t have to worry about a thing.
Outdoor Activities for Children
While kids under 4 years old are not permitted on game drives, there are a host of exciting adventures that await your little ones and mom and dad too, such as:
- Interpretive trail – This takes your kids through the garden of Gondwana, to learn about animals on the reserve as well as their tracks, important plants, and more.
- Sanbona Activity Book – An educational, fun and interactive book, teaching children about the wildlife at Sanbona while also encouraging them to get involved with everyone as they often require the ranger’s assistance to answer some of the questions.
Indoor Activities for Children
Should the weather not be in our favour, it doesn’t matter because Gondwana Family Lodge is prepared to accommodate the unpredictable Western Cape climate through:
- Arts and crafts
- Puzzles of varying sizes and difficulties covering a broad age range
- Documentary DVD’s on various conservation topics and animals as well as animated movies
Entertaining and educational children’s books
- A selection of fun board games
When travelling with little ones to Sanbona, it’s important to take note that:
- Children younger than 4 years are not permitted on game drives.
- Childminding is done by lodge staff at an additional cost and can be arranged with reservation prior to arrival.
- All swimming activities must be supervised by parents at all times.
- All children’s activities are age and weather dependant.
Take it all in when you visit Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. We encourage our guests to jump at the opportunity to discover everything the Little Karoo has to offer in terms of fauna, flora and majestic landscapes.
The entire reserve offers an array of nature walks, hiking and wilderness trails for you to explore. Well-informed and experienced rangers can indicate points of interest while divulging important and interesting information about the area.
With the variety of exquisite sites, animals and plants to see while on your excursion, choosing the right time of day is important. Larger and smaller animals alike are most active during the early mornings and early evenings. During the day you’re likely to catch a glimpse of an array of birdlife nesting, hunting or travelling through the area, with waterholes being the most prominent area.
Each adventure is appropriate for any fitness level, from easy walking tours to more advanced hiking trails.
Events & Weddings
Sanbona is a place to relax and feel inspired, a magnificent reserve of 58,000 hectares where big cats roam free. Get away from it all and give your team the chance to focus on business strategy and development without being interrupted, in a truly relaxed and inspiring environment. An entire team-building experience can be tailored to suit your individual requirements, from star gazing, understanding conservation and retracing the steps of the San people, to tracking cheetah and getting a glimpse of the white lions that call Sanbona their home.
Activities could include: (Subject to availability, conditions apply)
- Morning and evening game drives – including a chance to see our famous white lions
- Bird watching – with more than 200 species, including Raptors, the beautiful Fish Eagle and five breeding pairs of Black Eagles
- Astronomy – learn about the stars that are so clearly visible here
- Archaeology – visit local archaeological sites and take part in guided ‘rock art’ walks
- Bush survival skills training – tailor-made activities to suit your team-building requirements
- Conservation and wildlife talks
- Botanical guides – to explain everything you need to know
- On-site spa
Weddings & honeymoons
There is no more romantic place for a Bush Wedding than at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve – tailor-made to your requirements. We will assist you will all aspects of your dream wilderness wedding from the ceremony to the celebrations to the honeymoon.
Photography at Sanbona
Nestled just outside of the spectacular town of Montagu, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve offers exquisite landscapes, majestic rock formations and an abundance of animals, birdlife, flora and fauna to appease an array of tastes. Thus making this slice of the Western Cape region a photographer’s dream.
These natural endowments coupled with near perfect light conditions, enable photographers of all expertise the chance to capture wildlife scenes that surpass their expectations.
Whether you prefer photos of game and panoramic landscape shots or want to capture close-up details of the smaller species of insects and plant life on the reserve, your choices are endless.
So, when you’re on your game drive, nature walk, or water safari, be sure to bring your camera so that you don’t miss any magnificent photo opportunities.
Awaken your senses and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul with one of the relaxation retreat therapies exclusive to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Inspired by surrounding nature and the four elements, our selection of body and beauty treatments cater for both men and women.
Indulge in Serenity
Step into the privacy, luxury, and comfort of our tranquil retreats and let the gentle atmosphere envelop and embrace you.
All of the Relaxation Retreats at our safari lodges are situated within the natural landscapes of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. While the rejuvenating forces of nature cradle you, we deliver a range of world-class treatments and holistic modalities to balance and energise your being.
Our spa safari relaxation retreat lodges each boast two therapy rooms and are available at all of our lodges:
- Dwyka Tented Lodge
- Gondwana Family Lodge – also equipped with a steam room.
- Tilney Manor – also equipped with a steam room and sauna
Each lodge offers our signature treatments for tension, stress release, cleansing, relaxation, as well as rejuvenating facial treatments. A choice of massage, beauty, manicure, and pedicure treatments are also available.
Download the Relaxation Retreat Menu
When you choose to have a spa treatment, it’s important that you read through and understand our “Relaxation Retreat Etiquette”, which is as follows:
- Arrive five minutes prior to your treatment time
- Please be silent and respect other guests’ treatment time
- Strictly no nudity
- Please inform your therapist if you have any health problems prior to your treatment
- The price list is subject to change without prior notice
- Please switch off all mobile phones
- Should you wish to cancel your appointment, kindly note that three hours notice is required or the full amount will be charged.
Aside from the array of game and majestic landscapes, another of the exquisite attractions available at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is the ancient rock art found here.
There are seven recorded sites throughout Sanbona. These rock art sites date back more than 3,500 years and depict the spiritual beliefs and lives of the San and the Khoi-Khoi people that lived in this area until 100 years ago.
The San were nomadic hunter-gatherers and the Khoi–Khoi were pastoral herders who owned livestock such as cattle and sheep. The rock art is a product of what the Shaman of both Khoi-Khoi and San people envisioned in their trances.
But, the paintings are very different from each other. The San paintings are more representative of animals, people, and beings and are done in a darker red colour due to the ochre they used.
Whereas the Khoi-Khoi paintings are more ‘orangey’ and symbolic in style. The paint was made from ochre, calcrete, animal blood, animal fat, plant sap, and ostrich eggs, which they ground to a paste.
During their travels, members of these groups would congregate around a communal fire, weaving stories and celebrating the gift of life while the Shaman would meditate in a trance through rhythmic dancing, singing, and clapping, receiving visions as guidance. This would ensure the wellbeing of the tribe, protecting them from evil and sickness, predicting the future, and praying for good hunting and rains.
It’s also during these rituals that certain animals such as the praying mantis and the eland were honoured and revered as they were considered to have great spiritual powers.
These trance experiences of the Shaman were depicted to the tribe in the form of the rock art seen today. The various sites were also very symbolic, as the rock face was seen as a portal between the different realms the Shaman had travelled through in his trance.
Preserving the Past
Some of the only evidence that remains of this way of life is depicted through this delicate rock art. This makes Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, not only a leading destination for an African experience, but a national treasure in terms of heritage.
Let yourself and your family or travelling companions experience Sanbona Wildlife Reserve from a different angle. With the vast and impressive Bellair Dam situated on the property, guests can enjoy our boat safari activities, from the comfort of our spectacular vessel, The Peregrine. This tour is subject to water levels in the Bellair Dam as Sanbona is situated in a water-scarce area.
Named after a bird of prey, the Peregrine Falcon, this boat embarks on water safaris that takes you into, what was once, uncharted territory. Through these guided tours, 12 guests are seated comfortably as the boat takes you on either a sunrise or sunset cruise, weather permitting. These are the best times of the day to enjoy a safari,as this is when the animals are at their most active.
Additionally, guests can gain a new perspective of the reserve and potentially see:
- The Big 5
- A variety of birdlife.
Best of all, if you’re travelling in a larger party for work or leisure, you can book a Peregrine boat safari exclusively, at an additional cost.
The Peregrine is able to navigate through even shallow waters and offers access to most areas of the dam.
Built almost 100 years ago, this dam is considered a bird watching haven as more than 40 species of birdlife flock here to nest, feed, and drink. Guests get a chance to see the newly built dam wall, and on a hot summer’s day, swim whilst enjoying vistas that are only found in the Karoo.
Additionally, our knowledgeable guides not only point out rare species of birds and identify calls, but they also share interesting and important information about the dam and the Reserve itself.
One of the great wonders to experience at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is the night sky. Free from light and city pollution, the Klein Karoo offers some of the finest stargazing in Southern Africa and is an ideal activity for all guests to enjoy.
Each lodge has a high-powered telescope and dedicated ranger who utilising a laser pointer guides you through the awe-inspiring constellations and planets.
As part of the constellations on show, in summer, Orion can be seen alongside Taurus the bull, and the Seven Sisters. But, as winter comes around, Scorpius, with the red giant star Antares at its’ heart and the distinctive Southern Cross, come into view.
Experienced or professional astronomers can sit back and enjoy the neighbouring dwarf galaxies, also known as the large and small Magellanic Clouds. Other deep space features that can be viewed with the telescopes provided at each lodge include the Orion and Carina Nebulas, and not forgetting Tuc47, another brilliant star cluster.
A Night Under the Stars
Stargazing can be conducted at the lodges but can also be incorporated on night drives. Although the winter months may be colder, they offer even better viewing as heat and dust are greatly reduced in the atmosphere, offering a clearer view of the sky.
It’s the ideal activity for the whole family. Guides are happy to explain to younger guests the unique aspects of the Karoo sky, which is not only educational for them, but mom and dad might learn a thing or two as well. Stargazing can also be incorporated in the Kids on Safari programme.