Reviews of Sandibe Safari Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Fabulous food and romantic cabins
We were so delighted with Sandibe that we spent our first afternoon luxuriating in our cabin instead of going on a game drive. Each and every meal at Sandibe was spectacular. One dinner we had the accompaniment of the staff singers. To have meals in the thatched open-air dining area while watching baboons or vervet monkeys or a wandering male kudu right off the deck made us all shake our heads in awe.
The game viewing was first rate, and our guide, Tsabo, and spotter, Bring, made sure to get us to the action. While watching a pride of lions, Tsabo noticed something moving in the far bush and off we drove. We came upon a leopard !! walking through the brush and finally climbing a tree to drape itself over a branch. Another sighting produced a mother cheetah and her two almost-grown sons.
By the end of our stay, we had seen elephants, giraffes, gnu, buffalo, leopard, lions, cheetah, warthogs, a myriad of bird species, zebra, kudu and even a monitor lizard. I told Tsabo that I would give him a crown if he could find an ostrich. A few twists and turns in the 4x4 vehicle, and we came upon a lone female ostrich. I owe you a crown, Tsabo.
Awsome game viewing!!!
I had a great experience at Sandibe. Due to certain circumstances, I ended up being the only person in my vehicle on 4 of my 6 game drives (I was traveling solo). Still, I was treated like we had a full house in our vehicle. My guide and tracker, Shaka & Bring, were very good and quite knowledgeable. I never felt like I was getting less than the usual level of service due to me being the only passenger. I actually felt like I was getting customized service.
I visited 4 camps and I had some of the best game viewing here. There was a cold snap the first few days, so it was very cold early morning and late afternoon. (Tip: if you're going in the winter, bring a warm scarf or two!) However, that didn't deter us from some great game sightings. I got to see (usually fairly up close) lions, lion cubs, cheetahs, leopards, lots of elephant, giraffe, ostrich, hyena, hyena pups, warthogs, impala (and related species). One afternoon, we had a leopard walk right by our vehicle. I could have reached out and pet it had I not wanted to keep my right arm. The overall game viewing was great and quite diverse. I had an awesome time here.
The camp was very well kept up. My only complaint was the lack of hot water. Maybe I didn't keep it on long enough. At a later camp I found I had to leave the faucet on for a LONG time (4-5 minutes) before the hot water showed up. The staff took great care of me (and everyone) there. They went out of their way to make sure I was entertained since I was traveling solo. The rooms were average to above average. Now, this is in relation to other camps I visited while in Botswana. 'Average' is pretty nice and comfortable for being out in the middle of nowhere. I found the food to be pretty decent as well.
Overall, I was very happy with my experience there and would definitely recommend Sandibe to others. If you are interested, click here for pictures and short videos of my trip (from 4 different camps). Included are video reviews of my rooms at the various camps too. I hope this was helpful.
Sandibe - Land of the Leopard!
Accommodation - This was our fourth camp in the Delta (the others being Lebala, Nxabega, and Kwara) and we stayed here for 3 nights. The accommodation is well appointed, although we understand that it is under review, and may move in the near future. Like Nxabega, this camp is run by & Beyond, and therefore you are set up on individual dining tables for your meals, rather than as a communal group. Special dining can also be arranged - the couple sharing our Jeep were on their honeymoon, and had a candlelit dinner set up on their private veranda on the last night.
Like all the camps we stayed in, there are no fences and the wildlife roams freely throughout the area. We shared our time in Sandibe with the resident Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Bush Buck Antelope and Elephants who came through to feed on the trees.
Wildlife - we were extremely lucky during our stay to see 4 different Leopard on different Game Drives. Our first drive took us to an area where a Mother and Sub-Adult Male cub were known to be resting following a kill they had made the previous day. The kill was large, and so both animals had stayed in the area in order to take advantage of the amount of meat available, and we were able to photograph them both as they rested after eating.
The following afternoon we found a female leopard resting in a tree - the kind of sighting that you see photographs of in Guide Books and Brochures, but never expect to see yourself! We were able to get very close to the tree, and take some fantastic photographs of a "chilled out" leopard. And on the last afternoon we came round a corner of a track, just as a young male leopard crossed on it's way to hunt. Again, we followed the leopard, and observed as it tried on 3 separate occasions to hunt Impala. Sadly, the wind gave it's direction away on each occasion, and in the end it settled for a Ground Squirrel snack, before we left it for the evening.
We were also fortunate to see some of the nocturnal wildlife at Sandibe - including the African Wild Cat, Civet, Genet and a Hyena nicknamed "Fluffy" who was at the camp.
After 7 nights spent in other camps, and 6 previous safari trips to Africa, we arrived with a certain level of expectation - and sadly, in a couple of areas, Sandibe failed to deliver, which is why we have only rated our overall experience as "good".
Expert Africa comments
We were delighted that these travellers had a generally very good stay at Sandibe, but their last sentence immediately rang alarm bells for us.
After a more detailed enquiry, our travellers told us of problems with a wake-up call, a missed bush-lunch and a guide who for most of their stay was unenthusiastic and clearly working at well below his ability. After the lodges team heard the full story, they have promised to address the issues squarely and make sure that they never happen again.
A Small but Charming Camp
This camp being smaller felt more intimate not only because of size but because of the warmth and friendliness of the staff. The manager, Kate, made everyone, staff and guests, feel comfortable. The animals also felt at home because there were several instances of visitors at night walking around the tents (elephant, hippo and baboons).
Our last night was special as they served us dinner on the deck of our tent illuminated by candlelight with champagne and overlooking the lagoon where we could hear the hippos making their distinctive noise. The previous night the staff had done traditional dancing and singing. Wonderful.
This camp was the only one where tables were set for four. To sit with more guests one had to request a specific set up which was cheerfully granted. This may be a camp of choice for honeymooners.
Thank you Sandibe!
We have spent 4 nights there in May with the idea to focus on photography of predators mostly. We have not been disappointed by anything there: the lodge, staff, food and activities were just perfect. We were guided by Jonas and Tssabo who make a fantastic duo always wanting to make the extra mile for you and show and explain things the more they can. The safari vehicle was good and comfortable (even though you have a lot of gear) and you are never more than 4 per drive which is quite good.
As far as the wildlife is concerned we have been particularly lucky: leopards, lions, wild dogs, elephants (even one very close in the camp), tsessebes, zebras, red lechwes, buffaloes (big hard), giraffes and so much more (not mentioning the birds).
The night drives are also a nice addition! We haven't felt too much that the concession is rather small: the landscapes and environment are very different from one place to another.
Thank you Sandibe!
Exactly what I did not come for
Tired place, atmosphere and people.
Detached from nature and africa.
Just chasing lions at high speed.
Expert Africa comments
We were very sorry to read this feedback, and so we dug deeper into this travellers poor experience, and passed their comments to the camp.
Unfortunately the manager was not at camp when they visited, which probably didnt help. Were assured that Sandibe is due for some extensive renovations in the next 12-18 months, which should (eventually) address any feelings that its looking tired.
Stunning wildlife plus a wonderful setting
Kwara and Sandibe camps were the clear winner from a pure wildlife perspective. They were best for both the abundance and the variety of wildlife (including some rarer species). For example: Sandibe (wild dogs, leopards). Truly impressive.
From a pure camp (design, built) and comfort perspective Sandibe was probably the winner. Their main lodge was really nice, so was the verandah of our hut. We had elephants going through the camp (in a somewhat controlled way).
The food in Sandibe was best, mostly for two reasons: 1) they served more 'local' food, like our first Kudu steak (whereas Kwando seemed to have rather neutral 'western' food; nothing wrong but not special), 2) we asked for one of the dinners to be served on the verandah of our hut (built into the papyrus); very special! (I think you talk about it in your brochure, so you are fully well aware).
Suggestions for improvements:
When we arrived on the airstrip in Sandibe there was no-one to pick us up; waited for about 30 minutes. We waited for some 30 minutes before anyone arrived. At Sandibe a little sorry would have been nice…. Our pilot (Ed) was great. Moremi Air might improve by purchasing some satellite phones.
Sandibe Safari Lodge review
All three camps were excellent with Sandibe particularly good. Food and drink good. Game drives very extensive and superbly guided. Particularly impressed with Gift at Sandibe who found us Wild Dogs who we followed on the hunt and next day a leopard that we followed for half an hour!
More difficult to spot things in December as the rains produced a green explosion, but more than compensated for by the plethora of birds - I saw 125 species in 6 days ! I never ceased to be amazed at the expert knowledge of the guides and their fantastic eyesight.
Excellent time at Sandibe Safari Lodge
The whole experience at Sandibe was excellent, the safaris, the variety of animals, the staff, service, food and rooms were all wonderful. On arrival we were welcomed with a 'refreshing towel' and a welcome drink and each time we arrived back from a safari we were welcomed with a 'refreshing towel' which was so wonderful.
Once again the habitat here was slightly different from the other two lodges. One of the highlights of the safaris here was seeing, on two differnet occasions, a pack of 18 African wild dog. The first time we came across them after they had finished a kill and they were in a playful mood. We were able to watch them playing around as it got dark and they eventually settled down for the night - what an amazing experience. Also got good views of steenbok, reedbuck, bushbuck and several different types of mongoose.
The rooms at the lodge were lovely and spacious. We got very close views of an elephant that had taken a fancy to fruits on the tree just outside our room and this really brought home why it is important that you get escorted back to your rooms after dark, you never know what might be round that corner!
The food at this was lodge was to a very high standard and always hot and freshly cooked.
Sandibe Safari Lodge review
Our favorite camp of the four. The staff is fantastic and we had our favorite guide here (Tsabo, not sure if that's the right spelling) who was constantly giving us information. We also appreciated Judy and our spotter Gomes.
The food is great, rooms were very comfortable. But the most important - the quantity and variety of wildlife we saw here blew us away. Every game drive had exciting moments and one day we saw every possible animal you can see outside of a unicorn. Also, the terrain you drive through is extremely varied, more than any other.
Overall, everything clicked at this place and you get the impression that it is very well run.