In 2002, 500km² of agricultural land in the Little Karoo along the world-famous Route 62, was earmarked for the creation of a 58 000 hectare reserve. The vision was to conserve the heritage, ecosystems and landscapes while creating employment opportunities in one of South Africa’s most dire rural areas. This dream was a big one.
20 years later, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest privately-owned nature reserves, stretching across miles of rich protected ecosystems within two globally recognised biodiversity hotspots.
The reserve’s conservation model has been honed over decades to identify key projects that establish resilient ecosystems, landscapes and communities. These aspects are all essential to success and are practised and managed by a stellar conservation team.
Sanbona aims to create balance where critically important ecosystems, endangered wildlife and flora can prosper for the benefit of future generations. The reserve embodies an authentic and contrasting natural space, whose commitment to conservation is imparted and intricately woven into our guest experiences.
The reserve’s convenient location, a mere 3.5 hours from Cape Town, extends 58, 000 hectares of big, Karoo sky country with breath-taking sceneries that will transport you to a place where time stands still and nature takes centre stage.
So impressive is the team’s progress on the reserve, that it piqued the interest of the CALEO Foundation which acquired Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in 2015. The reserve entered a new phase of its vision. For many years Sanbona was run as a hospitality business for profit, today, Sanbona is a flagship example of private conservation in the Western Cape province.
The CALEO Foundation transformed it into a non-profit company (NPC) to fulfill their philosophy of the long-term protection and conservation of Sanbona as a thriving wilderness area.
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve appeals to anyone with a love of travel, an interest in wildlife and a passion for learning more about their local surroundings. We take a “safari stay” one step further by offering an educational experience where our guests are introduced to this unique and arid landscape that they may not necessarily be used to.
One can indulge in the pleasure of viewing big game like elephant and cheetah, smaller game species like brown hyena, steenbok and klipspringer, to insightful information on the regional endemic flora.
With a choice of three luxury lodges, each with their own distinct personality and appeal. Dwyka Tented Lodge is opulent, positioned under some nesting Verreaux’s eagles and in the bend of a river. Tilney Manor was designed in true Cape Georgian style, it is perfect for guests in need of an exclusive Karoo experience.
Gondwana Family Lodge is the perfect family retreat in its configuration complimented with a tailored Kids on Safari programme to inspire the eco-warriors of the future. Nature drives, walking safaris, rock art and star gazing complete an exciting safari option very close to Cape Town.