Sandibe Safari Lodge

Reviews of Sandibe Safari Lodge

Excellent(93%) From 58 travellers
Excellent
44
Good
10
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
1
Below are independent comments from 58 of our travellers who have visited Sandibe Safari Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mrs & Mr B - Washington
Arrived on: 16-Feb-2011 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Lots of animals in February

Our experience at Sandibe, as at Nxabega, was really great. As noted in my comments about Nxabega, we had been concerned that our trip might be somewhat less fun because we were traveling in the rainy season. Once again, we had no rain. One of the advantages of traveling in February is that there are many fewer tourists, and so we felt the staff in both Nxabega and Sandibe had more time for us. Sandibe, like Nxabega, is very well managed. We were impressed.

Our guide, Tsoba, and the tracker, were both extremely professional and good. They did an absolutely super job tracking down a pack of 24 wild dogs, stopping the vehicles, getting out and walking out to areas where they could get a better sense of what the animals' tracks indicated in terms of the direction they were moving, etc. And once we found the dogs, the guide was able to tell us a lot about their behavior, movement, and so forth. Indeed, all along the guide was not only able to spot and identify animals and an incredible number of different birds, but he was able to tell us a lot about them, about the environment in that area, and so forth. We thoroughly enjoyed a couple of late afternoon boat rides into the sunset, a morning walk with our guide, a surprise brunch prepared for us at a small lake with lots of birds and giraffe nearby, and so much more.

Once more, there was flexibility and a great effort by the staff to see that we had a good visit. When staff learned that my husband really likes a South African dried meat as a snack, the meat appeared promptly in the snack bottles in our tent, though we never requested them. When we found the dogs in the afternoon, we stayed on for some time watching as the whole pack jumped up, played and "kissed" each other, and generally romped before lying down again. As a result, we got back to the camp pretty late for dinner. No one was flustered. In my comments on Nxabega, I mentioned the wonderful coordinated effort by staff at the two camps to get my husband's cell phone, left at Nxabega, back to him.

The down side of Sandibe is that the view from the main camp area is limited because of the surrounding reeds. Also, this is one of the earlier &Beyond camps, and though the tent is extremely nice, it is not, in my opinion, quite as nice as the Nxabega tents. I heard what might be rumors that they might add another site nearby with better views. This said, the view is not bad, and the whole experience of being at Sandibe was just super..

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Mr & Ms M from London
Arrived on: 5-Dec-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

This was by far our best safari experience.

The hospitality was wonderful, from the cold water bottles offered before drives, to the cold towels given to us when we arrived back. The food was excellent, including kudu steak and other local specialities.

Our guide (Gee) and our tracker (Steve) worked extremely well as a team, and made a huge effort to make sure that everything was explained in great detail. We saw 3 different leopards in 3 days!

Their enthusiasm was contagious, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company!

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Mr & Mrs D from Twickenham
Arrived on: 7-Nov-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Poor
Poor
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Poor
Poor

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

After Nxabega, any camp would struggle to match that experience, but even so, Sandibe felt much less welcoming. General impression was of disinterest.

Service standards nowhere near as good as Nx (washrooms always out of towels, doors warped etc).
Central area layout was poor, mixed levels only serve to segregate and disharmonise, no focal "bush TV" area.

Rooms full of bugs, not a problem in other camps.

However, game viewing was excellent and our guide and tracker team, Tsavo and Gomm, were the best we encountered (difficult call, but they just win over George + Michael, and Bee + System).

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Mr M & Mrs B - Colorado
Arrived on: 22-Sep-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

Sandibe was a bit more upscale than anticipated and we loved it. Once again, the staff was outstanding and with the exception of the camp's temporary manager (Hayden) who we felt was dismissive of his staff (he couldn't even pronounce some of their names) and who came across like the great white hunter—this was an A+++ experience. The surprise dinner at the Baobab tree with the accompanying African chanting was a real bonus, which again left us with our eyes welled up.

Our guide and tracker (Gif-T & Steve respectively) were top notch. They were not as experienced as our previous guides when we had a private vehicle, but they were fun and it was obvious they wanted us to enjoy ourselves. Their joking added a dimension to the experience and I wouldn't hesitate to go out with either again. Virginia and Kelly (staff members) were also great and could not do enough for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the staff, the setting, the accommodations and the food—good choice.

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Expert Africa comments

Sandibe Safari Lodge has asked Expert Africa to thank these travellers for their feedback. Whilst they were very pleased to hear that the overall experience of Sandibe was A+++, they were sorry that these guests didn’t enjoy their interactions with Hayden, the temporary lodge manager. We are told that upon the guests’ departure from Sandibe, Hayden contacted his operations manager as he felt that he had not connected well with them. Hayden is said to have discussed at length why this might have been, learning from and apologising for his mistakes.

Sandibe also tells us that Hayden is a Motswana (a citizen of Botswana) who is fluent in Setswana and who has worked in the lodge industry in Botswana for many years. In his short time at Sandibe they feel that he generally did a fantastic job looking after guests and staff which makes this feedback disappointing for them to hear. Hayden was a temporary relief manager that was asked to assist at Sandibe whilst awaiting the arrival of their full time manager, Kate. Sandibe assure us that they have learnt from and worked on the issues raised to ensure that they don’t happen again.

Mrs & Mr L - Pennsylvania
Arrived on: 12-Sep-2010 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

Great atmosphere, wonderful staff, a top rate place with excellent game viewing. Rooms have good character.

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Mr and Mrs D from the Netherlands
Arrived on: 9-Aug-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

The third camp we visited and very different from the Kwando camps. More luxury and aiming to 5-star service with lots of staff. The overall impression was more formal than the other camps we visited. We missed the informal atmosphere in this camp, like chatting with guides and other guests over diner and sharing the experience of the day (separate setting of tables when dining).

There was a very cold wind, especially early mornings, which might be the reason for spotting less 'cats'. However, we enjoyed seeing lots of other game and many different beautiful birds.

All staff was very friendly and did their utmost to please us. Without doubt, they're all working very hard, especially when elephants, hippo's, baboons and hyena's are disturbing the daily routines!

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Mr and Mrs R from Kent
Arrived on: 3-Jul-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Great Safari

In the information supplied in advance it described a bush walk with a guide who could show rope making, fire from sticks etc. When we asked about this they seemed quite taken aback and clearly had not expected to provide this activity.

Having said that our guide did take us out for a short walk and showed us how to tel the difference in tracks. Perhaps this feature should be removed from the brochure.

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Mr J & Mr B - London
Arrived on: 2-Jun-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

This was one of two @Beyond camps visited.These comments apply to both. The 'corporate formula' seems to be striving to offer a 5Star hotel service which is out of keeping with the safari experience.

An excessive number of staff (personal butler, masseuse and a legion of waiters, supervisors etc) created a stifling/stuffy atmosphere in stark contrast to the two Kwando Safari camps visited. Once you had broken through the formal service regime, the staff turned out to be pleasant and natural, they just needed to be released from the absurd 'house style' imposed on them. The menus were overelaborate but the actual result was disappointing. Worst of all guests were seated at separate tables which inhibited social interchange. More Bournemouth than Okavango!.

The guide was excellent but the tracker was a trainee, who while pleasant enough, did'nt contribute much.

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Mr and Mrs H - Middlesex
Arrived on: 20-Feb-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sandibe Safari Lodge feedback

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Sandibe. All the staff are very friendly and helpful. Our guide Tshabo and tracker Bring were excellent and found us all the sightings we were hoping for.

They also provided us with interesting facts about the animals we were seeing and gave us an overview of their tracking skills, helping us to see what they were seeing (although we were still unable to interpret the information as accurately as they did). All the staff at the lodge made sure our stay was luxurious and spoiled us rotten. We can honestly say that we couldn't fault Sandibe or its staff in any way.

Thank you for a wonderful time and we hope to see you again in the near future.

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Mr & Mrs W from Exeter
Arrived on: 29-May-2009 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

Whilst the location is good, due to the preponderance of papyrus in the river there was almost no sight of water and this detracted slightly from the views from the camp. The remaining area around the camp was as spectacular as any we visited. The facilities were the most luxurious that we met and the staff again excellent.

Dining arrangements were different to the other camps we visited in that tables were allocated to each group (as in a restaurant) which made it more difficult to meet and mix with other guests. We feel that this is a missed opportunity to enhance the holiday.


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Expert Africa comments

We passed this to the camp's owners, &Beyond. One of their management team replied:

"Thank you so much for sending us your comments on your stay at Sandibe. We're delighted you had such a good stay and particularly that the staff took such great care of you - I'll be sure to pass your comments onto the team.

Dining arrangements can sometimes be tricky to get right as some guests are looking for romantic getaways or privacy, while others (like yourselves) want to meet other guests. We try to judge it at the lodge, and am sorry that we didn't make the right call on this occasion.

I hope you are still savouring the stories you have to tell of your trip through Botswana."