Sanbona Wildlife Reserve - Tilney Manor

George, Garden Route

The hotel

The ultimate initiation into the world of South African safaris, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve brings you the 'Big Five', all your classic safari experiences, and extra encounters like visiting ancient rock art sites – and all just a few hours’ scenic drive from Cape Town, through the famous winelands. Its location makes Sanbona the go-to reserve for those wanting to mix urban adventures in Cape Town with wilderness adventures in a 58,000 hectare reserve. The malaria-free reserve offers every kind of safari experience (including game drives, boat safaris, nature walks, stargazing, and relaxation retreats) and every kind of luxury led safari sanctuary (with its secluded Dwyka Tented Lodge, set in a dry riverbed and featuring private Jacuzzis; its luxurious Tilney Manor refuge with its rim-flow pool; its seasonal Explorer Camp for wilderness wanderers; and its Gondwana Family Lodge, with its unique Kids on Safari programme).

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Swimming Pool
  • Restaurant

Where is it

The reserve is located along Route 62, half way between Cape Town and George and just beyond the Winelands. It is in a fantastic location for those self-driving Cape Town to George/Knynsa. Transfer time from Cape Town Airport: 3 hours.

Hotel information

Tilney Manor features 6 spacious open-plan suites that lead on to private verandas, air-conditioning, fireplace, en-suite bathroom with shower and freestanding bath in the centre, outdoor showers, tea/coffee-making facilities and mini-bar. Suites sleep maximum 2 adults.

Gondwana Family Lodge offers 6 suites on the ground floor with private deck and 6 suites upstairs with private balcony/viewing deck. Each of these suites have air-conditioning, underfloor heating, , and free standing bath, king-size bed or twin beds. Suites sleep maximum 2 adults and 1 child.

Full Board Plus includes: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tea/coffee, water and game-drive beverages. Daily game-drives and guided walks.

The secluded Dwyka Tented Lodge has only 9 suites, in the shape of a horseshoe. All suites have comfort cooling/heating air-conditioners, private deck with spa bath, en-suite bathroom with shower and freestanding bath, outdoor shower, king-size bed or twin beds. Suites sleep maximum 2 adults.

3 luxurious lodges and back-to-nature Explorer Camp. Tilney Manor has both in/outdoor dining facilities, rim-flow swimming pool, lounge with fireplace and a Relaxation Retreat* with steam and sauna room. The family friendly Gondwana Lodge offers a Kids on Safari programme as well as indoor and outdoor play areas and a child-friendly pool. The Dwyka Tented Lodge, set in a dry Karoo ravine, features an open-air dining boma, wine cellar, lounge with fireplace and a Relaxation Retreat*. Range of safari activities available including bird watching, game-drives, nature walks, boat safaris, rock art and star gazing. Complimentary WiFi.

2 nights between 1 Sep '18-30 Apr '20.

* Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (292)
  • Very good (39)
  • Average (14)
  • Poor (4)
  • Terrible (2)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating A unique game reserve in the Karoo

Apr 4, 2021 KeepItSimple16 Cape Town Central, South Africa

We had a wonderful 3 night 4 day stay at Dwyka Tented Lodge : but don’t be confused by tented... Only the roof is like a tent canopy. It’s 5 star game reserve luxury with a private view deck and jacuzzi at each room. In an incredibly special setting, and after a short 3 hour drive from Cape Town you enter a new world. Scrubby bush, arid plains,… Read more
We had a wonderful 3 night 4 day stay at Dwyka Tented Lodge : but don’t be confused by tented... Only the roof is like a tent canopy. It’s 5 star game reserve luxury with a private view deck and jacuzzi at each room. In an incredibly special setting, and after a short 3 hour drive from Cape Town you enter a new world. Scrubby bush, arid plains, spectacular night skies of trillions of stars. Lots of traditional game you’d expect but also wonderful rarely spotted animals like the brown hyena, with a close and upfront sighting. Our ranger Nico was outstanding. Keen, engaged and very knowledgeable. The staff are very friendly & professional. Rooms spotless and food was all absolutely delicious. Highly highly recommended!! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating A Conservation Paradise In The Little Karoo

Dec 13, 2020 Olga M Cape Town, South Africa

Our first trip to Sanbona was as a couple and I recall that we had an amazing time. Fast forward almost 9 years with our 2 young children (7 years and younger), our Au Pair and with another family who are close friends, we found ourselves at Gondwana Family Lodge. As the lodge isn't booked on an exclusive use basis, we were admittedly a little… Read more
Our first trip to Sanbona was as a couple and I recall that we had an amazing time. Fast forward almost 9 years with our 2 young children (7 years and younger), our Au Pair and with another family who are close friends, we found ourselves at Gondwana Family Lodge. As the lodge isn't booked on an exclusive use basis, we were admittedly a little apprehensive to say the least when we booked for 4 nights. Those who travel with young children will understand that a lot hangs on the attitudes towards, flexibility with and child friendly resources available at a location, especially when there is nothing else close by. Whilst some establishments purport to be child friendly, the truth is sometimes somewhat different which makes for a "prickly" and rather unpleasant overall experience. Under different ownership and management, Sanbona again lived up to our previous experience and did not disappoint. Our guide Casper, who has young children of his own, was nothing short of entertaining, enthusiastic, patient and incredibly knowledgeable of the history, habitat and ecology of the area. His passion for his work, the animals, plants and conservation was very apparent and he appreciated our keen interest in all things big and small. He did his very best to deliver a personalised and memorable experience for us and our children during our game drives and in camp. We were fortunate to have a fantastic encounter with a herd of elephants during our bush lunch, were visited by a jackal in camp and sat up close and quietly with the white lions as they ate from their fresh kill. Now onto why a rating of 4 and not 5. The lodge itself was very comfortable and safe, with sleeper couches available in each room for the children. Whilst the room was very clean when we checked in, housekeeping in the rooms for the duration of our stay was a tad shoddy for such an establishment and the food was a little disappointing in that it wasn't consistent in quality. The meals were a bit "hit and miss" in that some were delicious, and yet others were very mediocre. I also noted that whilst we were one of 5 families who were staying at the lodge during our stay, the pool towels were "recycled" in that they were folded after use and placed back on the deck chairs, after the person using the towel had vacated the deckchair and left the pool area. Overall I would definitely recommend Sanbona Gondwana Lodge for families with both younger and older children. It truly is a gem in the harsh conditions of the Klein Karoo offering a surprising abundance of animals, varied terrain with interesting, beautiful and rare indigenous plants, fossils, bushman paintings in caves, topped off with stunning sunsets all within a very delicate ecosystem that has been thoughtfully rehabilitated following years of cattle and sheep farming in the area. The area really has a very magical feel to it. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Continues to be fantastic

Oct 25, 2020 JenCC Cape Town Central, South Africa

Sanbona continues to meet and exceed expectations... Beautiful setting - loved the flowers, knowledgeable rangers, friendly team, excellent service, comfortable accommodation. We'll be back again!
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Great destination for safari

Mar 27, 2020 Tessa C Totnes, United Kingdom

Great place - excellent destination. all the staff very welcomimg and helpful with plenty of smiles! very comfortable rooms, delicious food. Game drives - 4 in 2 night stay - excellent. Brenda our guide knowlegable and made it so much fun. Thourghly enjoyed our stay
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing place

Mar 21, 2020 wheelerwp UK

We only stayed 1 night but it was an amazing experience. The tented lodges were so luxurious. The lunch, dinner and breakfast was of the highest quality. Staff were lovely and could not do enough for us. The 2 game drives were stunning. Nico was not only knowledgeable but incredibly patient with some of our group. The interactions with the… Read more
We only stayed 1 night but it was an amazing experience. The tented lodges were so luxurious. The lunch, dinner and breakfast was of the highest quality. Staff were lovely and could not do enough for us. The 2 game drives were stunning. Nico was not only knowledgeable but incredibly patient with some of our group. The interactions with the wildlife were beyond all our expectations. Read less