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Botswana - Sanctuary Retreats vs Wilderness Safaris vs & Beyond

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Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:29 AM
  #1
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Botswana - Sanctuary Retreats vs Wilderness Safaris vs & Beyond

After a week in Krueger in September my wife and I are heading to Botswana for 6-7 days. So far we have had suggested itineraries from the 3 companies mentioned. Sanctuary Retreats trip include 2 nights in each of Stanley Camp, Chiefs Camp and Chobe Chilwero. Wilderness can do 3 nights in Savuti and we can combine that with either Kwando's Lagoon or Lebala for 3 nights. Lastly, & Beyond has suggested 3 nights at Nxabega and Sandibe.

We are seriously confused - the more I read the more confusing it gets! We had wanted to ideally see big game (including hippos) perhaps with some emphasis on water-borne activities after Krueger. We would like comfort but don't need luxury. We would be commencing things from Livingstone and need to get to Joberg to fly home at the end of the Botswana trip.

any advice or suggestions on the 3 options above would be greatly appreciated.

TIA
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 06:17 AM
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Hi Tony,

I actually work for Sanctuary Retreats, but in the London office. I’m sure you’ve received some fantastic itineraries and although I can’t help out for &Beyond or Wilderness, I have been to Sanctuary Retreats Camps in Botswana last month. I did the Best of Botswana tour which went to the 3 camps you mentioned and it was an incredible experience. I am sure the other options you mention are also fantastic, but just wanted to let you know I had the most amazing trip. As you will have been in Kruger, on lots of game drives, the beauty of Botswana is the difference in landscape you will find on the Delta. Riding along in a mokoro was spellbinding and our guide Rex gave us so much info on the various types of antelope and wild dog living there.

The other thing that was amazing was the Living with Elephants project. Words and images can’t really describe what it was like to walk along with Jabu, so would definitely recommend that if you go to Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp. Anyway, I know it may sound biased but thought you might like a personal opinion of someone who has stayed. Needless to say, at Sanctuary you will get the water based activities, but also the big game, lots of sightings of hippo (as there are a few who reside in the Delta!). Anything specific, let me know – [email protected].
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Our first safari was in 2004 with ccAfrica, which is now &Beyond. We stayed at both Nxabega and Sandibe, which were WONDERFUL. We also stayed at a Savute Camp which was not an & Beyond property, but of the same comfort level. The difference was how often we were able to go "off road" at Nxabega & Sandibe. Nxabega has tented accomodations that are magical, and Sandibe's screened huts are gorgeous. I expect whichever package you take, you will be thrilled with the result. Botswana is an amazing country. You will see big game in abundance. We only had 2 nights at each property...and I think 3 is better.

This October we are going on safari in Zimbabwe, and we will spend 3 nights in one camp and 4 at another, after we start with 2 nights in Victoria Falla. But we would have happily scheduled those 7 nights at Nxabega and Sandibe, as our experiences there were that exceptional.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:34 AM
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Hi Tony
I have been working with all three of them over the last 18 years and I can assure you the experience will be the same no matter which one you choose. All three are Top Notch. Personally I would look at the camps and decide which of them you would like to stay at. The Game Viewing experience will take care of itself. Don't worry about that.

Best Regards
Mark
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Feb 6th, 2012, 02:55 AM
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Thank you all for your input. Unless some contrary comments appear Sanctuary might win out due to fitting in best with our departure plans.....

Cheers

Tony
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Feb 20th, 2012, 12:45 AM
  #6
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Our agent has now given us another option of Wilderness Kwetsani for 3 nights then Kwando Lebala for 3 nights does this seem diverse enough with good enough game to warrant another $1500 in total?

Thanks again for any advice.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 12:58 PM
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What you will experience and remember is likely to be similar to my experience. As Mark said, look at the camps and decide which you like best. At the least you want one with water (mokoro) and the other a different landscape.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvbInQZmJF0
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Feb 21st, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Hello Tony,

We have booked a similar itinerary for our third safari, in April 2013. We will be at Dulini (an &Beyond property in the Sabi Sand reserve adjacent to Kruger), then up to Botswana, Vic Falls, then Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Cape Town for several days, followed by a tour of the winelands. We faced a similar dilemma in choosing our Botswana camps. We ended up choosing two Wilderness camps: Xigera for its focus on water activities (and we are told it is the most beautiful of the water camps in the delta) and Savuti, with private vehicle. We may have chosen to stay with &Beyond throughout our trip but they do not offer the private vehicle option in Botswana and that was very important to us, but perhaps not an issue for you. We have been very pleased with how both Wilderness and &Beyond have worked with us, very prompt and efficient, great attention to detail. We stayed at an &Beyond property in Namibia last year and it was out of this world, absolutely brilliant, all arrangements top drawer indeed, service fantastic (&Beyond are also making all our South African arrangements.) We are really looking forward to our stay with Wilderness and the fact they own the aircraft which transport you between camps should make for seamless travel between them.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 04:38 PM
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I am booked for 3 nights at Kwetsani in July and would love to hear comments about that camp as well.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 07:53 PM
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Wow Tony, another $1500. I don't know how we'll ever get back to Bots. We are planning for a month in 2016 (for their 50th year of independence). I guess it will be more culture than wildlife - not unhappy about that, though.

Here's the map of Botswana. Check where the camps are - Linyati and the Okavango. I think you'll be happy.

http://www.eyesonafrica.net/african-...ana-safari.htm
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