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Our Story

History Of Sanbona

In 1998 Linton Projects (Pty) Ltd. conceptualised the establishment of a private nature reserve, 27 000 hectares in extent, named the Cape Wildlife Reserve. This reserve was concentrated in the south and west area of the Warmwaterberg and was envisaged to operate a resort complex within a private nature reserve. 39 individually owned lodges along the banks of the Kalkoenshoek River were proposed, and permission was granted for the development in January 2000.

This endeavour, however, was not financially successful. And in 2002 the reserve was acquired by a private company. It was extended to the north and east, incorporating land adjoining the Warmwaterberg Forest Reserve and towards the Anysberg Nature Reserve. Altogether, 19 agricultural farms, previously utilised for wheat and lucerne crops, domestic animal production (cattle, sheep and goats), game farming, recreational farming, and tourism were bought. The reserve size was increased to over 58 000 hectares, forming what is today, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.

Sanbona Story
1998
2002
2003
2006
2008
2009
2011
2012
2013
2015
2016
2017
2020

a timeline of Sanbona

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2020: Species Introduction

Successful release of a population of desert black rhino [Diceros bicornis bicornis] are introduced onto the reserve.

Cape Wildlife Reserve
1998: Cape Wildlife Reserve

Linton Projects has a vision of a five-star hotel, Big Five reserve in the Western Cape and buys just over 24 000ha of wheat and sheep farmland. Call it Cape Wildlife Reserve and plan to sell corporate lodges to fund the project. Project fails.

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2002: Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Mantis Collection takes over the property and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is born, based on the successful Shamwari model. An additional 54 000 ha of farmland were purchased, the infrastructure developed, wildlife introduced and rezoning of property and deproclamation of public roads traversing property begins. Tilney Manor is restored and opened as first lodge on Sanbona.

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2003: Infrastructure Update

Khanni Lodge is opened

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2006: Cape Nature & Riverine Rabbit

Sanbona entered into a Biodiversity Stewardship programme together with Cape Nature. Led by conservation authorities in South Africa, the agreement intends to protect and manage land in biodiversity priority areas. First Riverine rabbit was discovered in the southern area of Sanbona

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2008: Ownership Change

Dubai World Africa buys majority shares in Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.

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2009: Infrastructure Update

Gondwana and Dwyka lodges are completed. Tilney Manor, Gondwana Family Lodge and Dwyka Tented Camp remain the focus of Sanbona’s tourism operations. Khanni Lodge is closed.

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2011: Ownership Change

Dubai World Africa assumes full ownership of the property, and Sanbona gets incorporated into the Shamwari Group.

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2012: Caleo Learning Centre

CALEO Learning Centre was created on Sanbona to educate the children of the reserve staff as well as surrounding community farm children.

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2013: Strive To Educate

Strive to Educate programme was started on Sanbona which utilised the reserve as a springboard to educate children from greater community about wildlife and conservation, including educational presentaions at local schools.

2015: Ownership Change

CALEO FOUNDATION purchases Sanbona Wildlife Reserve with long-term conservation goals and community development.

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2016: Species Introduction

Landmark Cape Mountain Zebra [Equus zebra zebra] project is realised and introduced onto Sanbona from De Hoop Nature Reserve and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve.

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2017: Land Expansion

Eyerpoort farm was purchased extending an additional 5 000 hectares of critial diverse landscape onto the reserve size.

timeline-Liesl-Vorster-Koktyls-introduction
2020: Species Introduction

Successful release of a population of desert black rhino [Diceros bicornis bicornis] are introduced onto the reserve.

Cape Wildlife Reserve
1998: Cape Wildlife Reserve

Linton Projects has a vision of a five-star hotel, Big Five reserve in the Western Cape and buys just over 24 000ha of wheat and sheep farmland. Call it Cape Wildlife Reserve and plan to sell corporate lodges to fund the project. Project fails.

Our story

Wildlife Reserve

The focus was shifted from private lodge development to the creation of exclusive Five Star lodges for nature based tourism. In 2003 history was made by being the first privately owned reserve in the Western Cape to succeed in introducing free roaming Big Five. To date, millions worth of wildlife species have been reintroduced into the reserve, restoring the ecological balance and allowing Sanbona to support free roaming predators. There were various infrastructure changes made throughout the years.

In 2015, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve was acquired by the Caleo Foundation, a non-profit conservation organisation. The sole aim of the foundation is to preserve and protect nature and wilderness areas whilst providing quests with the opportunity to experience and appreciate nature in it’s purest form without leaving a negative impact.

Nature Walks
Our story

A non-profit company

In 2020, further solidifying the reserve’s ultimate goal and supporting the long-term vision of the Caleo Foundation, Sanbona registered as a non-profit company within South Africa. This vast track of land in the Little Karoo will from now on be governed by a Protected Area Management Agreement that will secure its future for perpetuity, by formally proclaiming Sanbona as a Nature Reserve in partnership with CapeNature’s Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.

General Manager Paul Vorster says the transition into a non-profit company is a milestone for conservation. In particular, for the protection of threatened ecosystems, the reintroduction of extirpated wildlife and restoration of degraded habitats that preserve numerous rare species.

Our Story

Conservation

As custodians of 58 000 hectares of vastly diverse and sensitive landscape within the Little Karoo, responsibility is bestowed upon us to preserve and develop sustainably. Conservation management is the foundation on which Sanbona was established, and will always be a priority. Sanbona has been a pioneer of conservation, reserve development and eco-tourism of this scope within the Western Cape.

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Barrydale. Western Cape. South Africa
Our Story

Conservation

Today, the 58 000 hectares of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve bears little resemblance to those original Dutch settler farms. Since 2002 it has undergone a monumental transformation, as with time the landscape regenerates and restores itself. The ongoing efforts of the dedicated conservation team support this through methodical and scientific monitoring of the environment and the reintroduction of locally extinct animal species. While the land still bears some historic scars, it is already an Eden for rare and endemic plant and animal species. The clear and ultimate goal is to create a resilient ecosystem that can support animals that once lived on this uniquely enchanting landscape. And this is happening every day.

Discover our Sister property

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As the legend goes, deep in the heart of the Kruger National Park lies a place so spectacular that it inspired bedtime tales told all across the globe. Today, this legend continues at Jock Safari Lodge. We invite you to step back into a Bygone era and onto the pages of the classic African tale Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.

Visit jock safari lodge
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