Sanbona Explorer Camp is a seasonal camp in the private Sanbona Game Reserve in the heart of the Little Karoo. Only a three-hour drive from Cape Town, Sanbona Explorers Camp is easily accessible. Positioned at the foot of the 350 million-year-old Warmwaterberg Mountains and encompassing 54 000 hectares of rugged mountains and vast plains, the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve promises to offer a unique and rewarding safari experience.
Sanbona Explorers Camp operates during the summer months of October to April and offers a true wilderness walking experience. Each trail promises an adventure and takes two days to complete, requiring guests to stay a minimum of two nights. These walks allow you to immerse into nature while camping in the bush around a campfire. Walking safaris allow you to see the reserves true beauty, just as the San did centuries ago.
The unfenced camp consists of three mobile canvas Tents, each sleeping a maximum of two people on two dressed stretcher beds. The tents, although in fairly close proximity to one another, offer privacy. Each tent has a private en-suite with a bucket shower, a canvas basin and bio-toilet; bathroom amenities, and a hammock shaded by an ancient tree.
Sanbona comprises three major biomes, Succulent Karoo, Thicket & Fynbos, which provide habitats for a great diversity of plants, birds, and animals. The walking safari affords guests the opportunity to get up close to game in areas of the reserve inaccessible by vehicle. The reserve homes the only free-roaming self-sustaining white lions in the world, and the critically endangered and highly elusive Riverine Rabbit, which is the thirteenth most endangered mammal in the world and the second most critically endangered species in South Africa. Guests may encounter the several endemic tortoise species of the reserve, as well as the Dwarf Blue butterfly, the second smallest butterfly in the world.
The reserve is home to a variety of large and small antelope, zebra and wildebeest, giraffe, hippo, cheetah, and small game such as black-backed jackal and caracal. Late afternoon and early morning hikes provide the opportunity to see nocturnal creatures, such as the aardwolf, brown hyena
Over 200 bird species have been identified in the reserve, including that of the Verreaux’s Eagle. African Fish Eagles, breeding pairs of majestic Black Eagles and Black Harrier are regularly sighted.
An armed qualified walking guide leads the walks, as guests may encounter the Big Five while on foot. An open game viewing vehicle remains at the camp to ferry guests, when necessary, to and from start and end points of trails in other areas of the reserve. The well-trained and knowledgeable guides offer guests insights into the flora and fauna and the cultural and natural history of the reserve. Guests can visit the exceptional Sanbona San rock art sites as well. Nights around the campfire offer spectacular stargazing opportunities. Sumptuous meals are prepared by the camp hosts and are all served in the open.
Sanbona Explorer Camp is ideal for solo travelers, couples
Includes: Accommodation, all meals, beverages, and walking activities.
The seasonal camp offers adventurous guests an authentic two-day walking safari experience to explore the dramatic landscapes of the Karoo on foot and operates from October until the end of April.
"A special option within Sanbona is doing an explorer camp, where 6 people max sharing 3 tents within the reserve, attended by a camp manager who makes daily your tents with real beds and ensuite chemical toilet and who cooks your meals over the camp fire around which we all huddle in the evening and a gun wielding ranger who takes you during this 2 night experience walking looking for the big five and other animals, as well as showing you tracking details where you walk and flora and prehistoric rock art. It is thrilling to come as close to Cheetahs as 50 to a 100 yards, and walking up to lions between 1 and one and a half football fields distance. If you can this is the way to do a safari."
"A must, this reserve is run as it should be. Preserving nature as intact as possible. The landscape is awesome and everything is down to the detail to perfection. Rangers are very knowledgeable and try to give everyone a special feel the tented lodge is wonderful, the food is outstanding. Not to be missed."
"After traveling on several safaris in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, i wanted to try a new experience in the bushes, in a convenient and close place to Cape Town. Explorer Camp was the perfect choice for this purpose - it was highly exclusive (My sister and I were the only guests), and it allows a perfect 48hr disconnection from the urban world. Our Ranger (Danie) and his Assistant (Robin) were impressively knowledgeable about the wildlife, which made this stay even more pleasant. Nights around the fire under the carpet of stars were fabulous. Tracking and approaching Rhinos or Lions on foot, was definitely an unforgettable experience. I must admit as well that we longley hesitated with the other reserves; Sanbona is the only one that provide an authentic experience in the wild (their big five aren't disturbed by tourists), whereas the other natural parks gives more or less a Zoo experience."
"What else to say about Sanbona Wildlife Reserve rather than it's the most wonderful place I've ever seen in my life? Acres of wilderness, life-changing encounters with free animals, unforgettable experience of a safari with super kind and super expert rangers, stunning accommodation facilities with luxury rooms, spa and 5-star cuisine and so so so much more. It is truly expensive, but it is worth EVERY cent! N.B. Do not even bother to compare this with other alleged "safari game" which are closer to Cape Town and easier to reach: those are sad, open-air circuses. Sanbona is a REAL nature reserve with wild animals and it is worth to drive couple of hours to get there."
"All the big 5 plus lots of other animals and birds. Great guides and staff, fabulous food and experience."
"We stayed at the Explorer Camp for two nights, this consisted of three tents located deep within the Reserve. Our guide Danie was quite simply superb, he was so knowledgeable and professional in every way and gave us such a great insight into the workings of the Reserve not just focusing on the animals but on the whole eco system, which was fascinating. The staff could not have done enough for us and this experience camping under the stars, camp fires, eating great local food and best of all seeing the animals up close and on foot will remain with us for the rest of our lives. We really can't thank everyone enough and thoroughly recommend this most unique way of doing a Safari."
"We had a great time for our first time on safari. The drive of just over 3 hours from Cape Town was easy enough but it is a long way in from the main road on a track! You do get the feeling that you are being managed around the park to make sure you see everything so there is a little bit of a 'big zoo' feel about it. But our guide Casper stayed out longer than any other guide and made sure we were happy, try get him he was the best from talking to others who were back an hour before us! Sit in the front seats of the jeep, more leg room and more comfortable on the bumpy roads."
"This is such an amazing place! I recommend that anyone that visits Cape Town takes the stroll to Sanbona. It sounds like a far drive but it really isn't and the views are amazing during the drive! The staff, rangers, and the wildlife experience itself is amazing and I would go back in a heartbeat! We have also visited other reserves while in Cape Town and absolutely nothing compares to Sanbona. Worth every penny!"
"Having stayed at game reserves in Sabi Sabi , Botswana , Kenya and Tanzania , we did not expect to see much at the bottom of Africa - but we did , if not in such great numbers . Leopards ( as usual ) were not seen but we enjoyed rhinos , elephants, cheetahs , buffalo and even a white lioness . The resort and the welcoming staff deserve their five star rating . The drive from Cape Town starts along the magnificent "Garden Route " with excellent roads . Tip : take warm clothes in September as it can be just as cold as East African reserves ."
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