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.
Country manager: Botswana
- 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.
Kwara Camp's private reserve boasts land and water activities year round, with excellent game-viewing opportunities and access to permanent channels of the north-east Okavango Delta.
On a secluded island within a private reserve, Little Vumbura combines superb game viewing with a broad diversity of habitats in a truly picturesque setting.
With experienced staff and a wealth of activities, Shinde offers a traditional safari in an exceptionally varied and wildlife-rich environment.
Chitabe Lediba, in Botswana's southern Okavango Delta, is a small family friendly safari camp; it offers great dry-land safaris and in our experience consistently delivers good game sightings.
Sandibe Safari Lodge
The luxurious Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge lies in a private concession in the heart of the Okavango Delta, beside Moremi Game Reserve, with superb big-game viewing.
In a beautiful part of the Delta, Kanana focuses on fantastic water activities and birding – including exclusive access to an impressive heronry.
In the southern Okavango Delta, the excellent Chitabe Camp concentrates on dry-land safaris in an area that we've found particularly good for wild dog sightings.
Set in the Kwara Reserve, offering superb wildlife viewing year-round, Splash offers both land and water activities led by guides with a particular knack for tracking big game.
Footsteps across the Delta
Small and very rustic, Footsteps across the Delta focuses on walking safaris; it also runs a special children’s programme so is particularly suitable for families.
Tubu Tree Camp
A traditional tented camp with a distinctive tree-house feel, Tubu Tree offers some of the best game viewing in the Jao Reserve.
Nxabega Tented Camp
Nxabega offers a selection of both land- and water-based activities, plus very good guiding, food and service, but game viewing can be somewhat erratic.
Indulgently stylish and luxurious, Vumbura Plains offers superb game viewing and birding on an exceptionally varied private reserve.
Gomoti Plains Camp
Overlooking a tributary of the Gomoti River, Gomoti Plains Camp is a classically designed camp with very comfortable tents in a good game-viewing area.
Jacana Camp is a small safari camp with an informal island feel; it is ideal for water-based activities in the Delta and offers excellent birdwatching.
Deep in the Delta, overlooking a floodplain, Kwetsani Camp is a small, high-end camp with good access to areas for land and water-based activities.
For an affordable yet varied safari encompassing a range of eco-systems, the traditional Mapula Lodge takes a lot of beating.
Duba Plains Camp
Duba Plains Camp is a traditional safari camp, best known for the thrilling lion and buffalo interaction that is often found here in broad daylight.
Baines' Camp is a well-run, intimate camp in a pretty part of the Okavango, offering a range of activities and the option to spend a morning walking with elephants.
In a private concession south of Moremi Game Reserve, Stanley's Camp offers 4WD game drives, seasonal water activities and a superb elephant interaction.
Little Tubu is a new, traditional camp with just three tented chalets and a distinctive tree-house feel. The areas around it can be explored by water and land-based activities year round.
Pom Pom Camp
Pom Pom Camp lies amidst stunning Okavango Delta scenery. Come for idyllic mokoro trips and great birdwatching, and accept that big-game sightings here are a bonus.
Duba Explorers Camp
Intimate and elegant, Duba Explorers Camp promises a firm safari focus in a remote corner of the Okavango, led by a team who value the highest guiding and hosting standards.
In a pristine wilderness environment deep in the Okavango Delta, the seasonal Pelo Camp is tented yet comfortable, with activities focusing on excursions by mokoro.
Xaranna is a plush tented camp amongst the idyllic waterways and islands of the Delta. Each air-conditioned tent has a plunge pool. Water activities and pampering are the focus here.
Seba Camp is a luxury camp in a lovely location that offers the full range of water and land safari activities, depending on the time of year. This camp is particularly suitable for families.
In a beautiful area with fantastic water activities, Jao combines an idyllic location with high levels of luxury and service, and a top-end spa.
Beautifully located in a private concession overlooking the Gomoti River, the traditional Mma Dinare is very well-priced for the Okavango.
Setari Camp stands on an island dotted with palm trees, close to the base of the Okavango’s ‘Panhandle"
Abu Camp is an exclusive safari camp on the western side of the Botswana's Okavango Delta - offering superb elephant-back safaris and opportunities to walk with them too.
Okavango Walking Safari
The Okavango Delta Walking Safari camps in a secluded Okavango Delta Reserve where there are few roads; the ideal location for a walking trail led by an expert guide.
Kiri Camp is the latest Okavango offering from the excellent team behind Machaba. In an exciting new location in the heart of the Delta we cannot wait to visit this new camp.
4 Rivers is a new camp in a previously in accessible area of the excellent Kwara concession.
On a remote island within a vast private concession, the eclectic Duke’s Camp is nestled among mature trees overlooking wildlife-rich plains of the Okavango.
Eagle Island Lodge
Eagle Island Lodge is a luxurious camp with international-style facilities including air conditioning and intercom in each room; offering water based activities in the Okavango Delta.
Deep in quintessentially 'Okavango' territory, between deep-water and dry-land habitats, promises to be a great combination from a team who know all about the best in the Okavango.
Xudum Delta Lodge
Xudum is a beautifully crafted lodge well situated to explore the Delta waterways. Each air-conditioned suite has a private plunge pool and a lofty viewing deck with a sala that doubles as a 'star bed'.
Luxurious and contemporary, the relatively new Qorokwe Camp is a gem in the Okavango Delta, offering land- and occasionally water-based activities in a prime wildlife area.