Sondela Nature Reserve

Sondela Nature Reserve

Classified as one of the BAD facilities according to Volunteers in Africa Beware, so rather stay away!
Sondela Nature Reserve is situated in Limpopo. They offer holiday accommodation from self-catering chalets, a caravan park & tent camp. Visitors complain about run down accomodation, dirty pools, money making fees not announced during booking procedure. Sondela offers volunteering and breeds Lions and probably also Cheetahs to attract volunteers, there is little information about where the Lions / Cheetahs end after they can’t be handled any more.


Sondela Nature Reserve breeds not only lion cubs to attract volunteers, but also breeds rare game. The breeding of rare game such as sable and rare coloured game species such as golden wildebeest and black impalahas become big business. The selective breeding of such game is however often frowned upon, as it is seemingly only done to make money, with little or no conservation value.

Sondela Visitor with CheetahLion cub handled by volunteer at Sondela

Sondela Nature Reserve’s CLASSIFICATION:

Visitors mostly complain about Sondela’s quality. Sondela claims to have 5-star accommodation. However, they don’t look after their facility. On that note, they manage their accommodation, their main source of income, terribly then it makes us wonder, how do they manage their animals? Visitors claim their support staff are rude and disrespectful.

Quotes from visitors:
Exhibit A:

Terrible experience. Leaf blowers are working by your tent before 6am. Staff under qualified. Was tortured at the spa when I went for a wax. Premier lapa activities all locked up so unavailable to use. Pool table faulty.

Exhibit B:

Walking into the room there were mosquitos and fly’s everywhere, room did not look like advertised at all, cracks in the wall for a 5 star place. I immediately reported the insects and was given a can of doom and tabard


Sondela’s Official Website

Sondela Cheetah Hands-onSondela Nature Reserve, Tweefontein, Bela Bela, Limpopo

Sondela feeding adult giraffeSummary:

Sondela does not care about the management of their own accommodations or lodge. To point out, they treat their accommodation terribly and that makes us question how they treat their animals. In addition to that, they are rude to their visitors, as reported by their visitors. In conclusion, exercise caution when visiting this facility, it may not be as advertised. We will post updates on the status of their wildlife when we receive more information.

Sondela Nature Reserve's Official Website
Sondela's Facebook Page
Volunteers in Africa Beware

If you know any similar facility, please submit their details to us!  Heard any good or bad news? Drop us a message!

Sondela Lion cub with giraffe

1 thought on “Sondela Nature Reserve”

  1. I was pegged by a Nyala at sondela in the campsite at 10.30 at night. it went through and punchered my small intestine in 2 places. we had to use my car to go with the sondela paramedic to the clinic in bela bela. I was then transferred by ambulance to olivedale clinic where I spent 12 days ICU and 4 in hi care, a total of 19 weeks recovery. Despite a promise they would do an investigation they have never even contacted me. I just got an email from their insurance broker telling me to only contact him if I am going to go for damages. Anyone want to take the case?

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