&Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge
This flagship property from award-winning &Beyond enjoys a permanent channel of the Delta, where you can expect spectacular wildlife viewing, on both water and land-based wilderness.
From the captivating introduction to the Delta as you arrive by open vehicle, to your intimate, elevated Suite resembling a nest of a weaverbird, to the delectable fare served every mealtime, every detail of Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge is a safari experience like no other.
Facilities & Activities
The Lodge is perfectly positioned for exhilarating safari outings in the greater Okavango Delta. It is teeming with abundant wildlife from the elegant red lechwe and shy sitatunga to lion, cheetah, leopard and even the elusive wild dog. These all share the floodplains with large herds of elephant and buffalo. Hippo inhabits the deeper channels and lagoons, while honey badgers can be seen in broad daylight.
Guests are able to explore the glistening waterways by mokoro (dugout canoes that are poled by your guide) or traverse the golden grasslands in search of the Big 5 via 4×4 safari vehicle.
Should you wish to follow the camp’s suggested itinerary, your day would start with fragrant tea and warm biscuits, followed by a dawn ride out over the flood plains and grasslands to spot the ‘Big Five’. Return to camp for a delicious breakfast, before taking a guided walk nearby accompanied by your guide.
The camp prides itself for its highly trained and knowledgeable guides and trackers who are locals from surrounding communities and passionate about sharing their extraordinary wealth of knowledge and culture.
Lunch is then served in the luxurious guest area with spectacular Delta views. The afternoon’s adventures could include exploring the crystal clear waterways on a peaceful mokoro or taking another game drive out to spot some of the more nocturnal wildlife. Then it’s time for a delectable tea, a splash in the pool or have a rummage in the fully stocked safari shop for treasures of African art and jewellery. You’ll just have time for a little relax on the peaceful veranda before a candlelit feast is served under the incredible African skies.
There’s also the option of a scenic helicopter flight, offering spectacular views of the waterways and floodplains; spot the pools covered with lily pads – the inspiration for the design of the camp. Alternatively find your own secluded reading spot to soak it all in.
Please do note that due to the camp’s extraordinary position many of the activities are highly seasonal. While some parts of the Delta remain permanently flooded, others only have high water levels from May to September depending on levels of rainfall. Although this region offers The Big 5 – rhino are scarce.
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Whether it’s a cup of hot tea and lightly baked biscuits at dawn, platters of fruit and cheese, eggs or waffles for breakfast, or sumptuous Botswana treats for lunch and dinner, every meal here is to be savoured. Mouth-watering, yes, but also for the jaw dropping setting above sweeping views of the natural lagoon and waterways of the Delta.
The central dining area is tucked under a towering canopy of trees with a curving, flowing roof like the armour of pangolin. In the evening the roaring fire and open air starry skies provide the perfect romantic backdrop. The open and interactive kitchen encourages guests to engage with the chefs and become involved in the cooking process.
The organic architecture of the lodge is a far cry from the traditional safari idiom.
The 12 elevated thatched suites are raised above the papyrus, inspired by the nests of weaver birds. Each include a private plunge pool, viewing deck and secluded nooks, with a commitment to ‘treading lightly’. Inside, the rooms become cocoons at night, with fireplaces for those chilly African nights under clear skies.
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Once they’ve recovered from the excitement of the adventure just travelling to the camp, they’ll be delighted with their own private plunge pool and will love the quirky decorative touches such as the frog and crocodile shaped bean bags or the wooden hippo family that greet you as you arrive. Children are given a warm African welcome and there are chefs, butlers and housekeepers to look after every need.
Exclusive and designed especially for children there is WILDchild. From the welcome note and pack containing a logbook, crayons, pencils and a paw print tattoo (or cuddly toy for under age 3) to all the fun filled activities, the emphasis is all about learning and discovering new experiences while exploring the local culture. Expeditions include tracking, fishing, beading or bow and arrow making along with exploring the lodge garden or kitchen. Each day they’ll wake up to a new exciting assignment, found on their pillows and always carefully tailored to the age and needs of each particular child. They’ll be jotting notes in their log books and teaching you a few things before you’ve finished your morning coffee. Each child also receives an educational and bush orientated gift, such as a solar torch, magnifying glass or compass. The guides use these as a way of unravelling the mysteries of the bushlands and introducing them to local customs and traditions. An experience they’ll never forget.
The Suites are airy and spacious and should parents wish to share a room with an under 16, a triple can be provided. However, for the ultimate safari accommodation, opt for the Family Suite, which incorporates two suites linked by a walkway, accommodating 2 adults and 2 children (3 children on special request).
Game drives are available for ages 6 up subject to good behaviour! For children 12 years upwards are welcomes on game drives and Walking Safaris allowed once they reach 16 years. However, there are childminders available during these activities and during meal times for a small fee.
Sandibe is involved in both community and conservation based projects; in 2013, &Beyond collaborated with Rhino Force, Motorite Administrators and the Botswana Rhino Management Committee to transfer 6 rhinos from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, to Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
Following this success, they created Rhinos Without Borders, and multiple transfers later over 100 rhinos live there. 70% of the energy that the lodge uses comes from solar energy which is generated by the lodge’s own solar power plant, the very first in the Delta. They are also involved in educating the local communities, building schools, improving access to clean water and assisting in looking after livestock.
The adventure begins in the light aircraft that picks you up in Maun, a 2 hour journey from Johannesburg, and brings you to the Chitabe Airstrip, where you are met by the warm and welcoming staff.
From there the safari jeep transfers you on a 40 minute mini-game drive to the camp, giving you a foretaste of what’s to come.
Situated on a private concession, Sandibe has exclusive traversing rights over 22,500 hectares adjacent to the Moremi Game Reserve which forms part of the greater Okavango Delta.