In the heart of Little Karoo, just off the famous Route 62, lies a wilderness sanctuary called Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.
Since I can remember, I have always loved going on safari and being in the African bush. When it is just you, the animals, the sounds of nature and fresh air. To me, there is nothing that can compare. I have been lucky enough to experience the Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe in Natal, and even Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. Never have I experienced a game reserve in the Klein Karoo though, until I recently stayed at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.
Sanbona is a 58 000 hectare malaria-free game reserve with a landscape like no other reserve. Picture Cape Fold Mountains, wide-open Karoo plains, indigenous flora and fauna, as well as San rock art from more than 3 500 years ago. Sanbona combines majestic views of the Klein Karoo, a quintessential safari experience, every luxury you could wish for and more.
Getting there …
Just off the beaten track of the famous Route 62 you will find Sanbona. Route 62 is the very scenic route that meanders between Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, the Garden Route and Port Elizabeth.
From either Cape Town or Plettenberg Bay, a picturesque three hour drive will you get you there. We took a drive from Plettenberg Bay to Sanbona. Once we arrived at the Main Gate, we then drove another 15 km’s to the Welcome Lounge. Our vehicle was left at the Welcome Lounge’s parking lot and for the remainder of our stay, we were transported in a luxury 4×4 vehicle.
Sanbona is deep in the Warmwaterberg Mountains. Phone reception is not guaranteed, but peace, relaxation and total tranquility definitely is.
Our stay …
We stayed at Tilney Manor, which is a small, intimate lodge with six spacious suites. Our room was an open-plan suite that lead on to a private veranda. The veranda offered breath-taking views of the mountains and the Klein Karoo landscape. I found myself sitting here for hours soaking up the serenity. The room also has a fire place (it can get really cold), two outdoor showers and the most beautiful bath strategically placed in the centre of the bathroom.
Over the next two days of our stay at Sanbona, we enjoyed 3 game drives, authentic Karoo cuisine and ultimate luxury and relaxation. Thanks to our ranger Chris, we spotted some truly wonderful sightings. Giraffes, hippos, elephant, rhino and a lot of onyx, to name a few. The highlight though, for me, was finding the very endangered white lions. Having been on safari countless times, the totality of this experience was so overwhelming, I couldn’t help but shed a little tear (and take a million and one photos).
Mornings at Sanbona begin with an early wakeup call, followed by coffee and a three hour game drive. After a very exciting morning game drive, we return back to the lodge for the most delicious breakfast. A breakfast of smoked salmon eggs benedict in the middle of the bush sounds truly wonderful, doesn’t it? After breakfast,we relaxed, read our books and did absolutely nothing until lunch time. After lunch we then depart for our three hour afternoon game drive. The afternoon game drive ends at a scenic sunset stop with a sundowner drink and some snacks. Luck was on our side, because on both of our afternoon sundowner stops, four rhino happened to stroll past.
After arriving back at the lodge, the most gourmet Karoo inspired dinner is waiting for you. Think Karoo lamb shanks and malva pudding with custard for dessert.
A visit to Sanbona is a once in a lifetime experience. It is place full of nature, history, culture, arts and food. Our two-night stay felt too short, because as we started to fall more in love with the Sanbona experience, we had to pack our bags and be on our merry way home. I do know for sure though that I will return for more because Sanbona and the Klein Karoo truly captured my heart.