Sitatunga Private Island Camp: Our full report
Scheduled to open in July 2023, Sitatunga Private Island Camp sits on an island within a private concession.The location, in the northwest of the Okavango Delta, makes this an entirely water-based camp. While a team from Expert Africa has yet to visit the camp, we have worked with the owners for many years and are confident that it will meet their consistently high standards.
The new camp is the fulfilment of a dream for photographers Dereck and Beverley Joubert, who first visited this area of the Delta in the 1980s.
We understand that the camp’s structure, inspired by local fishing artefacts, will make use of solid wood poles and oversized baskets, while the soft blues of the surroundings are picked up in Persian carpets, beaded curtains and silk and linen fabrics.
Essentially even this level of exclusivity comes in two guises. The Private Island Camp itself has just two large, tented suites, each set high among the trees on a wooden deck under a mop of thatch, with a big veranda and its own plunge pool. This is accessed from a large lounge, which is in turn linked through to the bedroom and en-suite bathroom.
Mosquito netting set into the canvas sides admits a cooling breeze, while the Delta’s high temperatures are further mitigated by a fan and solar-powered air conditioning over the beds. In the bedrooms, which can be configured as twin or double rooms with mosquito nets draped over the beds, there the option of an additional bed for a child aged 6–15.
Tea and coffee are on hand to help yourself, as is a small fridge stocked with drinks of your choice.
As well as a copper bathtub, the bathroom incorporates an indoor shower, twin basins, a flushing toilet and a dressing area. Toiletries are of course provided, as is a hairdryer.
Offering even greater intimacy is the Sitatunga Private Island Suite, whose lounge area, leading out onto a huge deck, firepit and pool, is flanked by two en-suite bedrooms. The suite will accommodate up to four adults or two adults and three children in total privacy. Guests here also benefit from a private guide and boat.
With photography central to a safari on Sitatunga Private Island, every suite comes with a pair of high-quality binoculars along with a professional camera and lenses for guest use, with photographs downloaded onto a USB flash stick at the end of a stay.
On the fitness front, all the suites are individually kitted out with a yoga mat, light weights and a stationary exercise bike. Rather more hedonistic is the option of an in-room massage, albeit at additional cost.
At Sitatunga Private Island Camp, guests congregate in the lounge and dining area, where tea and coffee are available throughout the day. In the evenings, their firepit is a welcoming spot, while at dinner time the camp’s wine cellar comes into its own.
At the Private Island Camp, meals are usually enjoyed in the main area, with the option of dining on your private veranda on request, whereas for guests at the Private Island Suite, which lies on the other side of the main area, à la carte meals are served in the privacy of the suite.
For retail therapy the camp has its own boutique, open to all guests. In addition to stocking locally made crafts, it features a range of light clothing designed by the Jouberts.
Activities from both Sitatunga Private Island Camp and the Private Island Suite are almost entirely water-based: whether watching wildlife from flat-bottomed motorboats, complete with swivel chairs to aid photography, exploring peaceful channels by mokoro, or catch-and-release fishing.
Guided walks can be arranged on request, but it’s important to note that game drives are not an option.
It’s also possible to organise a scenic flight over the northern Okavango, incorporating a 15-minute champagne stop on one of the Delta’s palm islands. This excursion comes at extra cost, and it does need to be pre-booked.
We are excited about this new, highly exclusive camp in a hidden corner of the Delta. Although it’s in a high price bracket, we believe from experience of their other camps that the owners do a very good job, and that Sitatunga Private Island will meet our expectations. Note that as a water-based camp, it will not offer game drives, so if this is important, you may need to look elsewhere.
- Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 nights
- Guests usually fly by light aircraft from Kasane (1hr 25 mins) or Maun (40 mins) into Duba Plains. From here, the trip to Sitatunga Private Island is usually by helicopter (10 mins), although a boat transfer may be possible.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Mealtimes at both the camp and the private suite are extremely flexible. With advance notice, most dietary requirements can be catered for
The standard of cuisine at Sitatunga Private Island Camp’s sister camps is exceptionally high, and we would expect this new camp to match up to these standards.
- Dining style
- Mixture of group dining and individual tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- In the Private Island Camp, meals can be served on your private veranda on request.
- Drinks included
- All drinks, including imported spirits and champagne, are included.
- Attitude towards children
- Sitatunga Private Island accepts children from aged 6 years.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children aged 6+ staying at the Private Island Suite are permitted to take part in walking activities, which is not possible in the Private Island Camp.
- Special activities & services
- Great Plains Young Explorers programme introduces children to the wilderness as Conservation Ambassadors, with activities as diverse as cooking, birding and tracking wildlife.
On request, bedrooms at the Private Island Camp can be made up for three people so that a child or children aged 6–15 can share with adults. Alternatively, the Sitatunga Private Island Suite, with two en-suite bedrooms, can accommodate up to two adults and three children.
- Generally recommended for children
- Although the risks of the location poses its own risks for children, we anticipate that it would work well for older children enrolled on the Young Explorers programme.
- As an island camp, Sitatunga is surrounded by water, and is also raised in the tree canopy. This, along with individual pools and the presence of dangerous wildlife, makes it essential that children are constantly supervised.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator. Each suite has universal plug sockets.
- WiFi is available in each suite, but cellphone reception is limited.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Hot and cold running water is supplied to every bathroom.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Senior members of staff are trained in first aid. The nearest hospital is in Maun, but in the event of an emergency, patients would be airlifted to Johannesburg.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- The camp is raised up in a tree canopy and surrounded by water inhabited by crocodiles and hippos. Managers and guides stay in camp.
- Fire safety
- There is a fire extinguisher in every suite.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included. Items are collected each day and, weather permitting, returned the following day.
- Each suite has a safe.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted, as is cash in US dollars, GB pounds, South African rand and Botswana pula.
Other lodges in Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Alternative places to stay in this same area.