Sandibe Safari Lodge

Reviews of Sandibe Safari Lodge

Excellent(93%) From 60 travellers
Excellent
46
Good
10
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
1
Below are independent comments from 60 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 T - Oxford
Arrived on: 4-May-2011 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

Really part of the landscape

The lodge was great and the staff very welcoming and helpful. Activities were good and sightings great.

Trouble with monkeys snatching food made breakfast not very relaxing but a small price to pay to be part of the environment.

Really liked the different settings for the evening meal. One evening around the candlelit swimming pool, another was a barbecue. Individual tables meant it was no so easy to meet other guests and chat to game drive people as meals.

Read more about the whole safari
Yee Family - Hong Kong
Arrived on: 27-Apr-2011 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Sandibe Safari Lodge review

We were very happy with the staff, the location, the rooms, the game drives and the food. Our chef was excellent and even allowed our kids to make cookies in the kitchen one day. The game drives were very good. While the location isn't easy to get to, the transfers overall went smoothly.

The only hiccup in transfers was when WIlderness Air picked us up at the Chitabe airstrip on our way out: The plane arrival time was erroneously given to Sandibe as later than when the plane actually arrived (we were just able to make it); and when we got there, the co-pilot told us that they only had seats for 4 on the plane, despite our party being 7 people. We were told that they had to call to order another plane for us and started to depart with none of us. Just as they were about to depart, the plane suddenly returned for four of us and another 3-passenger plane showed up. It was quite confusing but fortunately it all worked out. All the other transfers went very smoothly. In any case, we could hear Katherine (was that the Sandibe manager's name?) on the radio figuring out what to do for us, and I could tell that she was working hard on making our transfer work.

We also were able to have our own vehicle because we had 7 people, so our 2.5 year old son was able to join us on all the game drives and boat ride. It was wonderful. Our guide/driver and tracker were all very good and we were able to see many animals, some of which we had to hunt down! It was fantastic.

One suggestion for the Sandibe would be for the store to have more smaller sizes available, especially for men's shirts. There were plenty of 2XXLs available!

Read more about the whole safari
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..

Read more about the whole safari
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!

Read more about the whole safari
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).

Read more about the whole safari
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.

Read more about the whole safari

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.

Read more about the whole safari
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!

Read more about the whole safari
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.

Read more about the whole safari
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.

Read more about the whole safari