Surrounded by lagoons, islands and meandering riverine channels in the heart of Botswana's Okavango Delta. From Johannesburg or Cape Town in South Africa, it's a two-to three hour flight to the sleepy safari hub of Maun, then a short hop via light plane to Chitabe airstrip.
Check-in experience: Our safari experience started on arrival at Chitabe with lions and African wild dogs mooching around the airstrip. Following a ride through a landscape infused with wild sage — with elephants and giraffes en route — check-in combined sweet African harmonies from Sandibe's welcoming team, a heady cocktail, and a personalised lodge briefing.
The room: Crafted in timber amid tall trees, Sandibe's stand alone villas feature an individual outdoor plunge pool with delta views and a cosy fireplace for cooler nights. And yes, we could see hippopotamus footprints right underneath the big wrap around deck.
What's in the neighbourhood: Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge enjoys exclusive access to 22,500 ha of private land packed with wildlife adjacent to the Moremi Game Reserve. Lions, leopards, elephants, giraffe and hippos all featured, and careful off-roading by Sandibe's guides and wildlife trackers guaranteed up close and personal game sightings. When the delta floods around May-June, exploration is enhanced with the use of traditional mokoro canoes.
Food & Drink: Look forward to Botswana's best breakfasts with freshly-baked pastries and seasonal fruit combining with regular specials like eggs benedict. Evening and lunch options spanned traditional African flavours and wood-fired pizza, and Friday's weekly barbecue night is a Sandibe institution. Craft South African gins fuelled sociable sessions at the lodge's bar, and sundowner sessions combined silhouetted acacia trees with South African beers and wines.
Exercise: There is a well-equipped gym and adjacent massage studio, but our regular exercise involved stepping in and out of &Beyond's Toyota Land Cruisers before and after morning and afternoon game drives. Just surrender to the combination of some of Africa's best wildlife viewing and brilliant eating and drinking.
Fellow guests: A chatty retired property developer and his family from London, birdwatchers from Scotland, and an entertaining posse ofretired police officers from Alaska.
Noise: Extremely quiet, reinforcing Sandibe's remote location, but we did hear the guttura lroar of lions at night. Sounds travel surprisingly far across the wild expanse of the Okavango Delta.
Contact: worldjourneys.co.nz/africa .
Perfect for: Travellers looking to enjoy the ultimate African safari experience combining excellent wildlife guides and luxury accommodation. Itineraries usually include visits to other &Beyond lodges in Botswanawith transfer by small plane.