Sango is a small traditional safari camp on a concession in Botswana's Okavango Delta.
Sango Safari Camp: Our full report
Opened in 2010, Sango Safari Camp is a small, traditional camp on the outskirts of Khwai Village that focuses on the safari experience rather then overly polished service or amenities. It lies within the Khwai Community Concession, not far from the border of Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve – and its proximity to these two areas allows guests to do activities in both.
Sango Safari Camp stands beside a narrow section of the Khwai River, which is the central feature of the Khwai Concession. Riverine forest and open floodplains line its banks, while away from these, mopane woodland is interspersed with pans that naturally fill with rainwater and act as waterholes, attracting many different animal species.
Sango’s main area is a large but simple mess tent, with a long dining table to one side and comfortable and colourful sofas and armchairs to the other, along with a bar cabinet. Shelves hold a number of wildlife guides and magazines. To the front, the tent is open to the floodplain, bisected by the narrow river, where we enjoyed watching elephants browse. A slatted wooden canopy allows meals to be taken in the shade, but is not enough protection against other elements. To one side, there’s a sandy area with deckchairs, where a fire is lit morning and evening and where we enjoyed after-dinner drinks.
Sango Camp has just six traditional Meru-style tents, built very close together and connected to the main area by sandy paths. While there is a slatted wooden screen between each tent, they are close enough for your neighbour’s conversation to be heard very clearly. The tents are built on low raised decks, each with a small veranda set with deckchairs and a trunk that serves as a table. Inside, where floors and fittings are of dark polished wood, the tents feel reasonably big and permanent. There are twin beds enclosed in mosquito netting, with bedside tables, small reading lights and bottled mineral water. An open-fronted wardrobe with a digital safe, and a wooden trunk, complete the furnishings.
At the back of each tent, a doorway leads to an en-suite bathroom with a flush toilet, a large wooden washstand, basin and mirror, while a further door opens to an open-air shower, which is fully plumbed and surrounded by canvas for privacy. Body lotion, soap and washing powder (for delicate items) are supplied.
Just beyond the last tent is a small swimming pool, surrounded by sunloungers on a raised deck overlooking the floodplain. A little further on, Sango has built a hide, also on a raised deck with deckchairs, a perfect spot to read in the afternoon and keep a watchful eye for animals that may wander by. Guests are accompanied to the hide by a member of staff, who will leave a radio so they can call the camp when they are ready to leave.
Activities at Sango focus primarily on 4WD day and night drives. Walking can be arranged provided there is a fully trained walking guide and the grasses are low enough to make walking safe, and mokoro trips are possible when water levels permit. The game in this area is consistently good year round, and during our visit in May 2014 we were lucky enough to have encounters with lion, wild dog, a leopard and her cub, and a hyena with four cubs, as well as watching a very entertaining warthog fight! Travellers should, however, be aware that the Khwai Community Concession is shared by a number of camps, and – as the gateway to Moremi Game Reserve – is accessible to self-drivers, so it tends to be a little busier than most of Botswana’s private concessions.
Our viewSango Safari Camp is a comfortable camp in a simple classic safari style: solid, smart, neat and functional without being 'designed'. The camp itself won’t suit everyone but it makes a great option for those seeking a cost-effective alternative to Botswana’s multitude of expensive and luxurious camps. We know the concession well, and it is a great area for consistent and varied sightings, provided you accept that it is a little busier than most.
Ideal length of stay: A stay of two to three nights would be ideal at Sango Camp.
Directions: A 30-minute flight from Maun will take you to Khwai airstrip, from where a game drive/transfer to the camp takes about 15–20 minutes, depending on any wildlife you see on the way.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Bush Ways Safaris Partly owned by the Sango Family.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: During our stay at Sango Camp in May 2014 the food was simple but tasty. They can cater for most dietary requirements as long as they are informed in advance.
An early breakfast included a choice of cereal, porridge, toast, yoghurt and muffins along with tea/coffee/juice. Fresh muffins and fruit were offered during the mid morning break while out on our game drive.
On our return from the morning activity, brunch included a chickpea casserole and rice, feta and olive green salad, sliced avocado, freshly baked bread and a cheeseboard and crackers.
For afternoon tea, prior to the afternoon activity, there are savoury and sweet snacks. We were offered vegetable samosas and ginger cake, along with homemade lemonade, milkshakes, tea and coffee.
A three-course dinner is served shortly after your return to camp in the evening. We enjoyed a starter of broccoli soup and fresh bread, followed by chicken in orange sauce and rice, baked squash with cheese and corn, and a green salad. To finish there was an Amarula malva pudding.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: A wide selection of drinks is available from the bar cabinet at Sango Camp and they are included in the price. Premium brands, such as malt whiskies or French champagne, can be requested for an additional charge.
Further dining info: None
Attitude towards children: Sango Camp welcomes children aged 2 and above. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to participate on mokoro or walking activities and must share a tent with an adult.
Equipment: No special equipment is available. For families the camp is willing to put an extra bed in the tent to make a triple – though while the tents aren't particularly small, that would make them feel very cramped.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Sango for older children with a genuine interest in wildlife.
Notes: Sango Camp is unfenced with potentially dangerous wildlife in the area. Children must be under their parents’ supervision at all times.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: Sango Camp uses solar power as their main source of power with a back-up generator. Guests can charge camera batteries and other electrical equipment in the main area.
Communications: There is no direct phone, fax, or email. Communication is maintained with head office in Maun via radio. There is also a telephone at the wildlife gate in Khwai Village. Some guests may pick up mobile phone reception, as Khwai Village is close by, although this is not always possible.
TV & radio: None
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: The tents at Sango Camp have fully plumbed showers. Toilets are flushing and there is running water to the basin. Fresh bottled mineral water and glasses are placed on the stand by the bed.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: On our last visit Sango's camp manager and guides are trained in first aid. In a medical emergency, guests would usually be evacuated by air to the nearest hospital (Kasane, Maun or Johannesburg).
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The camp is unfenced and dangerous wildlife does often move through camp, so guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. A safety talk is given on arrival. 'Fog horns' are provided in the rooms, and can be used to sound for help in case of an emergency.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are situated on the verandah outside each tent.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is included (excluding underwear). Laundry is collected in the morning and usually returned the same day, weather permitting. Washing powder is provided in the bathrooms for guests to wash their smalls.
Money: There is a safe in each room. No exchange facilities are offered.
Accepted payment on location: MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted; Diners and Amex are not. Cash in the form of South African rand, GB sterling, US dollars, euros and Botswana pula is accepted.