Safari near Cape Town?..
Not as impossible as it sounds.. if you’ve got a couple of days to spare. There are a dozen or so safari destinations within a 3 hour drive from Cape Town (importantly, all malaria free), and one of the most luxurious is Sanbona Wildlife Reserve 5*. Consisting of 3 lodges (Dwyka, Tilney & Gondwana), situated on a 53,000 ha reserve (large by any standard), this pristine part of the Klein Karoo semi-desert is jaw-dropingly beautiful. A vast expanse of land with plains and gently rolling mountains, this was home to the ancient peoples of the San bushmen (whose rock art can still be found among the many caves today)..
Dwyka Tented Camp
A very picturesque and beautiful camp tucked away below a mountainous ravine; the location emits a kind of ‘flintstone’ feel without the primitive edge… this is luxury through and through.. with 9 well appointed chalet suites all equipped with in-door and out-door showers as well as jacuzzi’s. It radiates an almost spiritual aura and boasts a fabulous view down the valley from the main bar and dining room.
Recently refurnished, this is the original Tilney family farm lodge – one of 19 farms that comprised the entire reserve some years ago.. The suites are extremely spacious, decorated in soft tones and each with their own patio over-looking the bush and a small hill beyond – ideal for quietly sucking in the silence and watching the odd buck or more go by.. Largish swimming pool, spa and sauna, like all the lodges is common place within Sanbona.
Ideal for families, this is the largest of the lodges and sits on the edge of a vast plain with the dam of Bel Air in the distance. A kids club takes care of your small ones whilst you can enjoy a game drive or lie by the large pool, and if patient, might even witness a passing animal as we did.. in this case, a lone male giraffe. Watch video:
The Karoo landscape is a sight to behold, something very special and memorable, it will seep under your skin and be forever with you. We enjoyed the guided company of head ranger, Danie Lourens, a local by birth with many a descendant from the surrounding region – in my 20 years of experiencing the bush, this gentleman is second to none. The soils, plants, fauna and flora.. he’s in tune with nature and his knowledge of great depth and substance. We tracked a herd of elephants by foot, a thrilling experience for anyone, and one in which he knew exactly when to push forward or hold back in order to maintain the pleasure and comfort zone of the guest.