General Manager of Ker & Downey® Africa’s Russia & Eastern European team, Irina Jordaan, recently visited Dwyka Tented Lodge in the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in South Africa. There are four luxurious accommodation options to choose from at Sanbona, each operating independently of one another with a full team of staff and experienced safari guides.
Traveling as a family with her husband and two young children, Irina’s natural inclination was to stay at Gondwana Family Lodge – a typical thatched Karoo homestead, designed for families with an exciting Kids on Safari programme. Gondwana was unfortunately not available during her travel dates, but the accommodating team at Sanbona set Irina up at the exclusive and eco-friendly Dwyka Tented Lodge where they catered to all her family’s needs without skipping a beat.
The other two lodges at Sanbona include the historical Tinley Manor for those looking for a more and Explorer Camp, which offers an authentic walking safari adventure while offering a true camping experience in luxuriously appointed mobile tents around a camp-fire.
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is the largest privately-owned reserve in the Western Cape and a perfect option for those seeking a unique safari destination not far from Cape Town. Located in the heart of the Klein (or “little”) Karoo, this incredible safari wilderness reserve offers a unique landscape of indigenous flora and Khoisan rock art.
The reserve has also reintroduced the Big Five and other indigenous game back to the land, including the rare White Lion. This biodiversity hotspot comprises 58,000 hectares with acacia trees and unique Karoo succulents bisected by the towering Warmwaterberg mountains.
A scenic 3-hour drive through the towns of Paarl, Worcester, Robertson, and finally Montagu, will take you to the signboards that lead to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. It is advisable to have a higher vehicle than a sedan if you want to self-drive to the lodge, as the reception is about a 1-hour drive from the main entrance gate on a gravel road.
However, if you would prefer not to drive all the way into the reserve yourself, you can be met by a driver at the Welcome Lounge which is a short 20-minute drive on gravel road. From here, you will be transferred on a safari vehicle to your lodge to begin your safari experience!
The en-suite tents at Dwyka Tented Lodge are luxurious and beautifully appointed with comfortable modern interiors and spacious wooden decks. Don’t be fooled by the word “tented” – this is proper five-star luxury accommodation. Think beautiful soft linen, a big free-standing bath, an outdoor shower, and even a private jacuzzi on the deck surrounded by incredible views. Unfortunately, our family didn’t have the opportunity to test out the jacuzzi while we were there, but that’s one more reason for us to return. You can easily spend 3 days here and find something exceptional and unique about the area every day.
Sanbona is renowned for being a great family-friendly safari option. Upon arrival, our family was welcomed with an age-appropriate gift set for the little ones. This included safari hats, backpacks, handbooks, and drawing books. A special personal touch was some information about our ranger, Jordan, which was also placed in our tent. This allowed our family to get to know a bit about him, before meeting him.
Being a ranger on a vehicle with 2 inquisitive children and keeping their attention at all times is not an easy job, but Jordan coped amazingly well. He told them all about the uniqueness of the reserve and the conservation efforts. A huge highlight for the children was an activity to collect elephant and rhino dung, so they could place it in a dedicated pocket in their little handbooks.
The activities at Dwyka Tented Lodge follow the traditional safari schedule with a 5 am wake-up call, followed by some freshly brewed coffee and cookies before heading out on a 4×4 game drive in search of animals. At the end of the game drive at around 9 am, we were brought back to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. The rest of the day can be spent relaxing in the comfort of your room or in one of the many lounges in the main public areas.
Another option is to pre-book an indulgent spa treatment at the in-house relaxation retreat. Around 16h00, you will head out on another 3- to 4-hour safari with a late afternoon sundowner on your game drive as you watch the sunset in the African sky. Upon returning from the game drive, guests can enjoy a cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage in the stylish bar.
Other activities on offer include a scenic boat cruise, and guided safari walks to see the rock art and learn more about the indigenous flora and fauna of Sanbona. These, of course, also include thrilling encounters with some of the larger wild inhabitants of Sanbona as well as the smaller creatures that call the reserve home. The ranger will structure the walking safari to suit your family’s individual needs.
We would like to thank the incredible team at Dwyka Tented Lodge and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve for hosting us. It was a magical experience for the whole family and we will definitely be back.
If you are interested in experiencing a luxury safari experience at Dwyka Tented Lodge with Ker & Downey® Africa, get in touch with one of our LuxVenture® Designers today!