Reviews of Private Mobile Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Santantadibe well worth it
In spite of the 5 1/2 hour drive in, due to exceptionally high water levels, our experience at the camp was excellent.
The whole team provided us with some unforgettable experiences and looked after us very well. Grant is an excellent guide with a wide knowledge of the area and it's flora and fauna.
We will not forget that Grant went out of his way to be helpful.
Santantadibe Mobile Camp review
The few days with Grant were the best part of a fantastic fortnight in Botswana. If I had another 14 days in Botswana I would spend it all with Grant. This was Africa with someone who was enthusiastic about his area, knowledgable, keen to share that knowledge and to do it all with a wonderful sense of humour. When we left we felt we had known him for months.
Grant had built at least five of the bridges we needed to cross in order to reach camp - water levels were particularly high in 2009. getting to camp was an adventure in itself.
Finding Pel's Fishing Owl roosting within sight of the camp and even hunting from a fallen tree closer to the camp were almost spiritual experiences.
The camp itself was wonderfully organised and what Joyce can produce on limited cooking facilities defies description. Attention to detail was staggering.
Santantadibe Mobile Camp review
Do not miss this! However good the reviews you have read about it, it is better. Grant is fantastic, the camp facilities are brilliant, the food (all cooked on an open fire by Joyce) was amazing, the whole experience was magical.Read more about the whole safari
Santantadibe camp- an original experience
It is hard to grade Santantadebi camp because it is a true camp and facilities cannot compare with the semi permanent camps.
After a 4 hour drive through the bush we arrived in the dark to twinkling oil lamps amoungst the trees, quite magical. All food was cooked on an open camp fire and from this point of view was amazing.
The bucket shower provided plenty of hot water and worked suprisingly well. The beds comfortable and warm with hot water bottles provided!
Grant was an excellent and attentive host and very knowledgeable guide. We really appreciated the fact that it was only us on this concession, we felt much more " in the wilds of the bush "
Although again the big cats were eluding us the highlight of our trip came when an injured lion was spotted. With a snare deeply embedded around his neck and subsequent deep open wound Grant used his satelite phone to call the vet. As darkness fell we guarded the lion from gathering hyenas while waiting for the vet. Once the lion was darted and treated as best as was possible we all returned to a late dinner at camp where Grant, his Mum ( an amazing lady who had driven out with the vet to guide him to us ) and the vet all shared stories about their lives, so very different from ours!
Maybe one day in the future we would like to go on a longer trip with Grant for a wider experience of what he does so well.
Santantadibe Mobile Camp review
Grantʼs personal logo - as on his vehicles - “share my life in Africa” reflects what we feel was good about his safari and the time that we spent with him. Grant has a very relaxed and easy-going style and he was very caring towards us which we appreciated very much.
The information that Grant gave us about the locality and on the animals that we were trailing or saw gave us a good understanding of how life is in the Delta and the bush in general. His safari operation is well-managed and his team, Joyce, Moss, Romeo and Justice were hard-working and cheerful adding to our enjoyment of the whole experience.
The two compartment tent (with loo) that we occupied was ideal and the beds were comfortable. We slept well but it was exciting to wake up and hear the sounds of elephants passing through the Santantibe camp as well the nightly chorus of lions and hippos and other animals at all the camps We had some very tasty meals prepared by Joyce and we were amazed at the variety of food that she was able to cook on the campfire. Everything was kept clean and tidy by the Crew and we appreciated very much the outdoor showers with warm water! We came to appreciate as well the part played by the Crew in packing and repacking, moving camp and vehicle maintenance, all of which enabled us to enjoy our safari.
For part of the trip we travelled in Grantʼs Toyota Land Cruiser which having been extended in length gave us a very comfortable ride. The typical vehicles that are used on safaris look cramped if carrying a party of 4 or more well-built adults and the ride is distinctly less comfortable.
We enjoyed the experience of the different camp locations: Santantibe (3 nights), Moremi (3 nights and Khwai River Community Trust area (2 nights). There are differences in the landscape, terrain and vegetation between the three areas. The behavior of the animals was noticeably different at Santantibe where they are not so conditioned to the presence of humans and vehicles and after some time at Moremi we realised that the Santantibe camp is quite special. At Santantibe we were able to do drives after dark which gave us a unique experience of being in the bush at night and understanding of the predatory behavior of the animals.
We enjoyed greatly a morningʼs cruise along the channels of the Delta on a boat at Moremi which gave us a sight of many different birds, as well as elephants in the water and the occasional crocodile and water monitor. The Khwai area had a character of its own. As there a good flow of water into the Delta this year, the amount of water in the river provided good opportunities for sightings of hippos and attracted many other animals and birds to the waterside. Grant told us that we had been particularly lucky in having so many sightings, for instance, close contacts with lions, either at rest or eating recent kill, as well as leopards. Although we did not have sophisticated camera equipment we have some good photographs and Grant was very kind in giving us a CD copy of the excellent photos that he had taken (with a better zoom than ours).
Although we saw only the Delta region of Botswana and only a fleeting view of Maun we were generally impressed by what we saw and particularly by the friendliness and manner of the people we met. As we were travelling overland we saw alot the local scenery and
this added to our appreciation of the country.
The cost of our trip was relatively high but taking into account that there was only two of us, supported by a safari crew of 4 plus the skill and experience of Grant, and that we really had a very good memorable experience, we think it was good value.
The real deal and highlight of our trip
I cannot praise this camp enough. If you are prepared to forgo some of the more modern luxuries for a comfortable (the hot water bottles were appreciated!) and genuinely authentic African experience, exclusive to yourselves, then do not hesitate to book here.
We were a mixed party of ages 8 - 51 years, and it was perfect for our requirements. Grant was great with adults and kids alike - and if your party is large enough (ours was 8 persons) then you get his mother Daphne thrown in for free! They are both genuine, funny, warm and friendly people with a wealth of knowledge and some stirring tales of life in the bush - no standing on ceremony here.
The camp location was great, in trees just back from the river, popular with elephant (and hippo the first night). Apart from game drives (highlights - leopard in the grass, also following a lion padding down the road in the moonlight), enjoyed the mokoro trip and fishing (catch had for lunch!). Not so sure about the elephant and hippo charges though (not at the same time!).
A magical fascinating experience, every day was different - recommended for all ages but especially good for families.
Moremi/Santantantibe mobile camp review
This was absolutely brilliant.
Grant has great guiding skills - to give one example, he impressed us by enticed a pride of lion out of the bush by imitating the sound of a baby buffalo . He knows when to watch and wait, rather than the take two photographs and move on approach, which appeared to be standard with other guides in Moremi and which we suffered in Shinde. We saw and enjoyed much more as a result.
Grant is also an excellent photographer, which means he has a eye for a good shot and positions the vehicle accordingly. He takes his own photos of the game you see and yourselves, shows you the pictures on his laptop in the evening and presents you with a CD of what he has taken at the end of the trip. The only disadvantage is that his pictures are usually better than yours!
Not sharing a vehicle/guide ensured that there was no clash of interests/attitudes. In Santantantibe Grant's guests are the only people in the concession, so you avoid the clusters of safari vehicles around animals of interest that you get in Public Reserves
Moremi and Santantadibe are significantly different in habitat and wildlife so continued interest and brilliant to have game wandering through the camp.
The daily programme was completely flexible according to what we were seeing
Tents and camp facilities very adequate; our 16 year old son was pleasantly surprised by the long drop toilet and the hot water bottles at night were much appreciated. The quality of Joyce's food was fantastic, amazing what she can manage to produce over an open fire, even Beef Wellington!
Had great fun attempting to pole our own mokoros and fishing. Fried bream picnic fresh from the delta was very tasty.
Had a fun night sleeping out on top of the landcruisers
Being aware that both camp sites are sandy underfoot and that drives can be pretty dusty at this time of year may be useful. It also can be quite cold on the game drives early morning and after sunset, so fleeces, windproof, scarves and gloves were needed.
Brilliant time at Santantadibe
This is real African camping - no frills but everything you could possibly require - and more !
Again the game was a bit sparse - but it is the middle of winter - however 4 leopards in 5 days can't be bad ! The lions, 100 elephants, numerous giraffes and a smal herd of wildebeest added to the tally.
Grant and his team are so enthusiastic and professional about everything they do - you can't help but have a great time - whether scrouring the sage bush, cooking the fishing catch for lunch, eating Joyce's enormous meals amazingly produced on an open fire or watching the ellie's go by whilst luxuriating in a hot bucket shower !
We love it and we can't wait to go back !
Santantadibe Mobile Camp review
The highlight of the trip for us.
We enjoyed seeing some of the country other than game camps and game reserves. Pleasant surprise to find that the tent had internal chemical loo so no need to go outside at night! Your website photo and details of the tent could be updated.
Grant and his staff excelled themselves in looking after us. Wonderful close daylight sighting of leopard underlined the benefit of having the time available (and the patience) to sit and wait: Grant readily changed the timing of dinner to fit our consequent much delayed arrival at the camp (in fact, he suggested it).
Wonderful to have game wandering past while in the camp (elephants with breakfast! not for the faint hearted). Young lion cubs playing, 3 close leopard sightings, black mamba climbing a tree and sleeping out on top of the truck under the stars all added to a wonderful time.
Remarkable what Joyce produces from the open fire. Having it all just for us was an extraordinary privilege. The private campsite in Xakanaka was a bonus: we had thought we were going to be on the public camp site.
Fishing on the Okavango Delta was fantastic
This section of our trip was the one we were the most apprehensive about and ironically it was our favourite bit of the holiday. Grant was an excellent communicator who taught us so much. He was wonderful with the children and we felt relaxed and comfortable in his company.
The food was delicious.
Expert Africa comments
Subsequent comments from Mrs C - Thames Ditton: The reason I gave it (Santantadibe accommodation) 3 stars was, on reflection unfair, as I was comparing it to the lodges that we stayed in which were obviously offering a different experience. Also, Cia and I were quite cramped as we slept with Liam (their son) between us. This was our choice as we didn't want Liam to sleep with his brothers in case there was a problem in the night and we didn't want Joe or Sam to be in tents on their own for the same reason. Actually the tents here were far better equipped than we had envisaged.
Thanks again we are still regaling friends with stories of our wonderful holiday.