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Help, Sandibe or Savute ???

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Help, Sandibe or Savute ???


We are traveling to Botswana in October and am looking at several tents. I am deciding between a few and would like some feedback. Here they are

Sandibe okavango safari lodge or Savute under Canvas ?

Thanks in advance


Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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1. Re: Help, Sandibe or Savute ???

To be honest, I'm not 100% convinced about either. I've been to Sandibe, but they have rebuilt it since my visit. The game viewing and the area are great, it's a private concession so numbers of vehicles at sightings are limited and you can off road. For the area, that would be my pick. But the plans for the rebuilding of the camp really didn't sound appealing to me- too big, too lux. And when I stayed there they had separate dining not communal, which I'm not a fan of, it doesn't create quite the same atmosphere as when everyone eats together. Have you found any photos online of the new camp? Perhaps because they are re-opening they are offering some attractive rates.

Savute Under Canvas will be a much more basic affair, it's essentially a mobile camp with bucket showers, although I'm sure with lots of luxury touches. As a camp, that would be more my preference of style. But the area is part of the national park, so you won't have the freedom of being in a private concession. I am guessing that as it is much smaller they will do communal dining.

I would probably choose Sandibe for the area, just have a few reservations about what the new camp will be like.

I can't believe these are the only two options, are you working with AndBeyond (who own both those camps)?Where else are you going?

Wayzata, Minnesota
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2. Re: Help, Sandibe or Savute ???

Hi Marsva,

It sounds like you must be working directly with &Beyond? Do keep in mind they own both these camps and they have a financial interest to get you into their camps and therefore it is not possible for them to exclusively look out for your best interests. There are many other lodge chains in Botswana and also several single-property businesses. If you are considering a safari to Botswana you should look at more than one lodge chain in my opinion (IMO) and get several quotes. An independent agent can consult with you and present you numerous options and also charge you no more money than working direct with &Beyond should you choose that route. Of course, I am biased as well!

&Beyond does not have a strong circuit throughout Botswana when compared to some of their competitors. IMO Sandibe is their best camp for animal viewing and the dry land animal viewing here will only be equaled IN THE OKAVANGO by a few places. Chitabe (next door), Chief’s Camp & Mombo Camp come to mind. Their three properties in the SW portion of the Delta are relatively close together and not typically as productive as Sandibe in terms of total animals seen per day or total species seen per day.

Many of the other lodge chains have properties to the north of the Delta in the Selinda, Kwando, & Linyanti concession or in/near the Chobe National Park or the Savute section of the Chobe National Park. The majority of first time travelers dedicating more than 4 day to a Botswana safari would visit two or more lodges and I almost always recommend one of the lodges be in the Okavango/Moremi and one in the area to the north that I mentioned before. Since &Beyond does not have a permanent property in this area they run the Under Canvas program in the national park in the Savute area. So, my answer to your immediate question is I recommend you do both if you want environmental diversity. I recommend at least 3 nights at Sandibe and 3 at Savute Under Canvas. The actual in-camp experience will be much different as Sandibe is a permanent lodge and Savute Under Canvas is actually tents/camping but you do no work (the staff does).

If you want to be in the Chobe National Park’s Savute area using permanent lodges (instead of Under Canvas) consider pairing Sandibe with Savute Safari Lodge owned by Desert & Delta. Of course, you will lose a very minor “long stay discount” for not combining camps owned by the same company but this will be a very small cost increase compared to the total trip cost.

Here are other similar options which are at a higher level of comfort (slightly more “luxurious”). By “similar” I mean they offer a similar level of environmental diversity.

Chitabe and Duma Tau

Chitabe Ledibe & Savuti Camp

Shinde & Savute Safari Lodge

Khwai River Lodge and Savute Elephant Camp

Camp Moremi and Savute Safari Lodge

I hope this helps!

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond

2011-2013 Travel & Leisure A-List agent for Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe

South Africa
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3. Re: Help, Sandibe or Savute ???

I agree with Craig. AndBeyond is great and their standards are high, but don't hesitate to also have a look at other options.

There are a few important considerations with choosing a camp in Botswana. The first is their concession - private concession or national park? In the national parks such as Chobe/Savute or government game reserves such as Moremi, game drives will not be allowed to go off road or drive at night, and no bush walks or fishing is allowed. On private concessions, you can do night drives, go off-road, enjoy guided bush walks or island walks, go fishing if you like, and generally have more activity options and freedoms than in the national parks. But you also tend to pay more.

Another consideration is their location and activities - are they water based or land based, or both? Some camps only offer water-based activities and walks, but no game drives. This can be disappointing if your expectation is top notch game viewing and photographic opportunities, because on foot and from boats you will not see as much wildlife as on a 4x4 game drive. Others again are only land based, and don't offer the quintessential Okavango experiences - a mekoro trip (dugout canoe) and island walks. Some offer both, but their water activities are limited outside the flood season, or their game drive traversing area shrinks to almost nothing during the peak flood season.

You need to consider all these factors, along with budget and what type of lodge or accommodation you might prefer, before making a decision. It helps to speak to a knowledgeable agent or operator who knows all the lodges and can compare options for you.

If I only had a few days and had to choose between the two camps you mentioned, I would opt for Sandibe.

I hope this helps.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

4. Re: Help, Sandibe or Savute ???

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