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 (290)
  • Very good (38)
  • Average (14)
  • Poor (4)
  • Terrible (2)
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
Image of the Tripadvisor rating What a fantastic stay at Tilney Manor

Mar 6, 2020 Rosi-Alexander Zurich, Switzerland

We were lucky enough to spend three fabulous nights at TILNEY MANOR. The hotel only has 8 rooms so there is never any crowding. The rooms are spacious, luxurious and well equipped/maintained with a lovely outside shower and a small terrace. The pool area is very nice, only lacking a bit of cool space in the shade. Our guide CHRIS is working… Read more
We were lucky enough to spend three fabulous nights at TILNEY MANOR. The hotel only has 8 rooms so there is never any crowding. The rooms are spacious, luxurious and well equipped/maintained with a lovely outside shower and a small terrace. The pool area is very nice, only lacking a bit of cool space in the shade. Our guide CHRIS is working there for over 12 years and is a very experienced ranger. We have had the chance to spot many different animals such as a cheetah, two white lions as well as many elephants, hippos, Cape buffalos, baboons, giraffes, zebras, kudus, oryx, clip springer among many others. We were also able to see ancient rock art. Chris’s explanations of the wildlife and vegetation were very informative and interesting. Food is very good as well and there is also a decent wine list. (My recommendation is the Meerlust Rubicon at R850) KUDZAI working in the restaurant is a lovely and helpful person always good for a laugh, so is LOUISE the assistant Manager. She made us feel very pampered. (Ask her about her fabulous cakes :-) ) Having stayed at SANBONA in 2013, I can confirm that this estate has very much improved in all aspects. SANBONA is not only a game reserve but also a wildlife reserve that wants to bring nature back to its original state before there was farming. We will be back, soon.... Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Error with reservation but fab once we got there!

Mar 6, 2020 emhams Edinburgh

We really enjoyed our trip to sanbona, however, a couple of days before we were due to fly out to South Africa we were advised that they had made a mistake with our booking and could only accommodate us for 2 nights instead of 3. This was really disappointing and caused quite a lot of stress in the lead up to the holiday as we were frantically… Read more
We really enjoyed our trip to sanbona, however, a couple of days before we were due to fly out to South Africa we were advised that they had made a mistake with our booking and could only accommodate us for 2 nights instead of 3. This was really disappointing and caused quite a lot of stress in the lead up to the holiday as we were frantically trying to book another hotel for one night which was difficult very last minute. We ended up going to Cape Town a day earlier than planned albeit we had to stay in a total of three hotels instead of two. Despite the error made by sanbona we still really enjoyed our trip and they did try their best to make it up to us with complimentary spa treatments (these were great), discounted transport and included all alcohol in our price. We were offered alternative stays at other hotels ,however, we politely declined as we were visiting the area solely for safari and had no interest in travelling much further afield for different activities. As it turns out we only needed two nights at safari anyway (when you arrive you do one game drive, the next day you do a morning and night game drive and on your last day you do the morning game drive ). Sanbona kindly arranged transport to and from the Cape Town for us which was excellent. Upon arrival we were greeted by the wonderful staff and offered a welcome drink. Our room was lovely and modern and looked over a watering hole which was frequented by animals. The restaurant was great and could accommodate my gluten free dietary requirements. Big shout out to the member of staff who made us a delicious cocktail and as we liked it so much kept bringing it without us asking. We had dinner one night around a fire and this was such a great experience! The game drives were fab. Our ranger, anthea, was lovely and really knowledgeable. We saw so many animals (including white lions) and even got out of the car to see some. We saw 4/5 of the big five! There’s only about 6 of you in the vehicle and you very rarely see the other vehicles on the road. On evening games drives you are treated to drinks and snacks on safari. One morning We were luckily enough to stop mid game drive and have a full on cooked breakfast in the wilderness- it was fab and really appreciated. When we arrived in our Cape Town hotel, as it was my friends bday, we found a gift (photo album of us on safari) in our our room from the staff at sanbona. Really appreciated this extra gesture. Despite the error with our booking I would recommend sanbona and I would return. I believe it was a genuine one. off mistake with our booking and the staff went over and above to make this up to us. Highly recommend and hope to return ! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Fabulous place - just give them some rain !

Feb 12, 2020 Mike G Ferndown, United Kingdom

This is a tough review to write !! Firstly the lodge – Dwyka - absolutely brilliant – hard to find fault because there were none ! The bed was so comfortable – 5 a.m rise even harder out of it !! The layout of the suite, the balcony and the whirlpool – being really picky would have preferred a plunge pool – cheaper on power ! – were all… Read more
This is a tough review to write !! Firstly the lodge – Dwyka - absolutely brilliant – hard to find fault because there were none ! The bed was so comfortable – 5 a.m rise even harder out of it !! The layout of the suite, the balcony and the whirlpool – being really picky would have preferred a plunge pool – cheaper on power ! – were all great. Secondly the staff – superb – from Marco , our so enthusiastic, knowledgeable guide through to the guys at base – Leancha, Anje & Janice. All looked after our needs so well and made us really welcome. Thirdly the food – top notch and a great selection bearing in mind their isolation. Great choice of wines as well. Whilst not a barbecue person have to admit the braai was really good . The chef marshalled everything so well. Fourthly the actual reserve – it is huge & the scenery is stunning and breathtaking. Now the hard bit ! As a result of the drought that the area has endured it means grazing animals are of a premium and following on from that so are the predators that need them – the big cats are a rarity. As regular and seasoned safari goers we fully understand that you don’t want or expect animals to line up to be pictured but because of the arid, desert like conditions you can drive for literally miles and not see anything and I mean anything ! Of course none of this can be helped and whilst I am highlighting it I feel so sorry because I know Marco,the other rangers & all the staff would love to see rain and more animals on the reserve. The sightings we did get – cheetah, elephants, white rhino, kudu, giraffes & fighting zebras were brilliant. With the knowledge of the dry conditions but taking everything else into consideration I have to recommend Dwyka & Sanbona because of the people and the lodge. Please give them some rain – just not while we are there !! – keep it up guys and good luck with the Black Rhinos ! Read less