Botswana-camp info

May 4th, 2011, 09:15 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Botswana-camp info

I am traveling to Botswana in August and am looking at several camps. I am deciding between a few and would like some feedback. Here they are:

Sandibe or Nxabega?
Xanarra Tented Camp or Xudum?

Zambezi Sun or Elephant Camp or Royal LIvingston?

Thanks for your information.
Sunny49 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 04:02 AM
  #2  
 
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I can help you out with Sandibe and Nxabega, as I've been to both.

One difference is that Nxabega has tents and Sandibe has chalets (small cottages). Both are very comfortable -- the tents are roomy and have full bathroom facilities -- but I prefer the more rustic feel of the tents.

Otherwise, they are both operated by andBeyond, who provide a consistently good experience. Game drives usually include both a guide and a tracker.

Don
DonTopaz is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 04:20 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi Sunny 49,

All these lodges in Botswana are managed by AndBeyond(formerly CC Africa). Nxabega is a tented camp and Sandibe offers cottage-like accommodation. Both are excellent and well situated - it really comes down to what kind of accommodation experience you prefer.

Personally I like tented accommodation like Nxabega as it really allows you to experience the sounds of the African bush at night, but some people prefer the comfort of more solid structures.

Xaranna and Xudum are also very beautiful. Xaranna has much more modern decor which is not really to my taste, so I would probably recommend Xudum as it is more traditional safari However again - it is what your preferences are that will be the deciding factor.

Having said that, Nxabega, Sandibe, Xaranna and Xudum all offer very similar game viewing experiences. If you only have 4 nights and want a more diverse experience I would probably recommend that you spend 2 nights in one of these camps and 2 nights in the Chobe or Savute, particularly in August.

With regards to Zambezi Sun, Elephant Camp and Royal Livingstone - it is worth bearing the following in mind...the AndBeyond Lodges are small intimate and luxurious, Zambezi Sun is 3 star, large and impersonal chain hotel. The Royal Livingstone is 5 star, large and impersonal chain hotel. Both these hotels offer B&B rates and are located very close to the Falls and are in Zambia, Elephant Camp is smaller, more luxurious, and offers an all inclusive rate, and is in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean side of the Falls is generally considered to have the best view.

To keep a consistent level of service and accommodation experience throughout your trip I would recommend that you go with Elephant Camp.

For further reading and advice: http://www.mysafari.com/blog/chobe-1...-park-186-view
VanessaHobson is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 05:50 AM
  #4  
 
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I've been to Sandibe and Nxabega (March 2005). At the time I thought the tents at Nxabega were in need of some updating and I think that's been done. I don't really have a preference between tents or cottages/chalets but my overall experience at Sandibe, which could just have been totally a matter of chance, was better than at Nxabega. The game-viewing at Sandibe, at least then, turned out great, what with some huge elephant herds and the sighting of 2 separate packs of wild dogs, one with a fresh kill. Our guide was fabulous. As others have said, &Beyond treats you royally and is quick to meet your needs, so any choice you make will probably be win-win.
sdb2 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 06:37 AM
  #5  
 
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I have been to three of these four camps in the last 18 months. Sandibe is going to be excellent. It is on the same concession as Wilderness Safari's Chitabe Camp and offers, in my opinion, some of the best general dry land game drives in Botswana perhaps only rivaled only by Mombo & Chief's.

I was at Nxabega last May and found it to be in need of repair. There was a tree growing through the deck at the main camp that had ripped the deck apart. The pool needed daily maintenance (sticks/leaves) and the rooms looked tired. Xaranna was sort of swanky with pink and lime green color schemes and looked a little out of place in the bush. They even had AC (like Orient Express). I have not been to Xudum but hear it is more traditional.

I would consider ONE of Xaranna, Xudum, and Nxabega. Plan on this being a water experience only. These camps are in a pretty wet part of the Delta and game drives may be a challenge even in August given the record floods the past few seasons. Unlike Chitabe, Sandibe offers water activities so if you do want to get out on the Delta a little you could just go to Sandibe and do mostly land based game drives then head out on the Delta for one of your activities. I recommend going to the Chobe area (or Linyanti/Kwando/Selinda) in August in combination with Sandibe.

Elephant Camp is like a safari lodge at the Falls on the Zimbabwe side of the border. It is a high level of luxury but it is not a modern hotel like the Royal Livingstone. It is more like a premier safari lodge (premier is a term used by Wilderness Safaris to classify a lodge that is 1,000 sq ft+). Elephant Camp is relatively new and owned by Wild Horizons. You can actually ride elephants right at the camp and I have a lot of people booked into this place in the coming months. Royal Livingstone (5 star) is in Zambia and it shares a compound with the (3+ star/4- star) Zambezi Sun. Both are right at the Falls and have their own gate access. Both RL and ZS are owned by Sun International hotel chain. You really just need to choose. Do you want a safari lodge or hotel? Do you want to be in Zimbabwe or Zambia.

Have fun.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 11:43 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for your input. It will really help with making our decision. I just looked at Metetsi Water Lodge and think I like that better than Zambezi Sun or Royal.
Sunny49 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 11:46 AM
  #7  
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One more question.. We have a total of 10 nights and the package from And Beyond that we are considering is for 8 nights. Any recommendations for those other two nights would be appreciated. We will most likely be at Chobe, Sandibe and Xudum with 2 nights at Victoria Falls.
Sunny49 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 01:33 PM
  #8  
 
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Assuming the package with &B is something like stay 8 nights pay for 6, yes? If not, double check that and/or see if you can get a discount deal for 10 nights. (At least last year they had deals like that).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 01:35 PM
  #9  
 
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Sunny49, if you're going to get an AndBeyond package, you might as well deal directly with an agent -- the price you get from an agent is likely to be the same (or possibly less) than the price you get from dealing directly with And Beyond. And if you have an agent who actually knows his or her stuff regarding the area you want to visit, you can benefit a lot from the agent's experience and figure out a good way to fill in your extra nights.

Conversely, if you are dealing with an agent who knows about an area mostly by brochures or 2nd-hand info, it will be of no help to you at all.
DonTopaz is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 01:45 PM
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Sunny - &Beyond just announced they are closing Matetsi. Are you sure you are going there? Make sure there is no bait-and-switch.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 08:35 PM
  #11  
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Thank you all! My travel companion is in contact with an agency/agent. We are not dealing with &Beyond directly. Good advice. Good to know that info regarding Matetsi. It seems they have had problems getting supplies due to the political situation in Zimbabwe. Its a shame, the camp looks wonderful right on the river.
Sunny49 is offline  
May 6th, 2011, 06:23 AM
  #12  
 
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Ask the And Beyond agent you are working with to recommend other camps that are good and mix it up. They are also a travel agent in addition to being an operator and can book any camps of your choice (not sure of their pricing) ...... Craig already mentioned Chitabe or Sandibe that you are looking at. Other very good ones are Kwando Lagoon and Lebala. Particularly for August that you are looking at!I!!!

This particular year, will be very very wet in all those delta camps you are looking at - possibly including Sandibe too .............
HariS is offline  
May 7th, 2011, 07:59 AM
  #13  
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Thanks again for all your valuable input. Does anyone have information on the Desert&Delta Safari camps? How do they compare to &Beyond properties?
Sunny49 is offline  
May 9th, 2011, 10:33 AM
  #14  
 
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I think D&D will be a little more consistent from camp to camp vs. &Beyond. Camp Moremi/CM (D&D) and Sandibe (&Beyond) will rival each other for animal viewing BUT CM is in the national park so you have the night drive and off road restrictions. The real strength of the D&D circuit is going to be Savute Safari Lodge/SSL which is at the now filling/almost full Savute Marsh. This is the #1 place I want to see as I have not been there since 1984 (the year it dried up).

The price of D&D lodges is reflective of their national park restrictions so I think the camps are great value for money PLUS they now run their safaris with six people per vehicle max.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is offline  
May 10th, 2011, 01:02 AM
  #15  
 
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I was in Savute in Feb on a wonderful private mobile safari. Unfortunately, the flow of water in the marsh has cut off quite a bit of the road network. Sightings not that fantastic, although I was lucky to see a coalition of 5 male Lions. The behaviour of Orient Express vehicles was truly appalling.

In August, you will be jostling for space at sightings - between mobile operators, self drive vehicles, Lodge vehicles in a limited road network.
HariS is offline  

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