We visited Sandibe a month before its re-opening in September 2014 and found a brave but successful redesign of an &Beyond lodge we used to dislike because of its concrete foundations. It is one of the best concessions in Botswana for game and it now has a very good lodge to match.
Sandibe - The Details
Sandibe is located to the west of the Okavango Delta, and only about a 20 to 40 minute flight from Maun, depending on the flight route. The Lodge itself faces a channel which leads to a massive floodplain.
Having previously been a concrete-based camp in an area crying out for the use of natural materials, Sandibe still catches the eye but now it’s for the right reasons. The main area has been inspired by the armour of a Pangolin, with wooden panelled “shells” acting as both wall and roof. It is certainly very different to anything else out there and we like it.
The long main area is thin and stretched out, allowing for as much natural light, and as good a view, as possible from any angle. The light wood and use of natural materials everywhere mean that the lodge feels both modern and authentic at the same time. As you look out at the view, to your left you have a sundowner platform poking out from the tree line – the tail of the Pangolin. Within the central area (the “body”) is the main dining area and, being a new lodge, an “interactive” kitchen. Although it was not up and running when we visited, the idea is that you can watch the chefs prepare your meals. The added pressure clearly does not affect the chefs – the food is reportedly excellent. There is also a pool, gym and a spa treatment room.
Moving from the realm of the legged into the kingdom of the winged, the rooms are based on the nests of golden weaver birds with both wood and interwoven reed used in the design. Like the main area, they are stretched and relatively thin. Each comes with the ultimate safari accessory, a private plunge pool. For cold nights there is a wood burning fire. The concrete showers are another bold piece of design but again we feel they work. It’s easy to get caught up in the design of this lodge as it is very bold but don’t let it distract you from an all-round excellent lodge.
The Sandibe concession is a hub of excellent game viewing. It has such a variety of environments that it caters for all animals. Great for predators and large herds of antelope.
Its prime location on the permanent Delta and its proximity to the game-rich grassy plains, offers a water and wilderness experience with the excitement of viewing big game on land, by guided walking, day and night game drives or on water in relaxing mokoro excursions.