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“Beautiful Amazing Lodge”

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Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero
Certificate of Excellence
Hillsdale, New Jersey
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Beautiful Amazing Lodge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2013

This was a most amazing lodge. The interior design was magnificent. No need for me to describe the decor since the pictures on other posts are exactly what you got. Before we went and looked at the online photos we thought they were "demo" shots. But the rooms were even nicer than the photos

The staff was warm, friendly and attentive. We felt like family. Food was delicious and beautifully presented. Guides on game drives were friendly and knowledgeable. Laundry was so well done that even underwear was pressed. If I knew that I probably would have sent all my clothes to take them home better than I brought them. :-)

I cannot think of one thing I would change. This is definitely a first class lodge. I would love to come again and be pampered as I was here. Thank you Chobe Chilwero!

Room Tip: They are all beautiful rooms and beautifully located although ours was quite far from the main dinin...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank BarbaraSie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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248 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2013

We spent 3 nights here for our honeymoon and had a wonderful time. The lodge borders the Chobe National Park, with river views from everywhere on the property. The rooms are beautiful and the staff is very attentive. Our guide, Jonathon, was a remarkably knowledgeable and kind man who gave us a lifetime of memories on our game drives. The spa should not be missed - probably the best massages we've ever had.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Omer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Dear Omer,

Congratulations on your marriage we wish you a lifetime of happiness! Thank you for sharing your experience at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero on tripadvisor, we are delighted that you had a wonderful time. We shared your wonderful feedback with Jonathan and the rest of the team, who really appreciated your kind words.

It was a pleasure hosting you for your honeymoon and we do hope that you will return one day soon, perhaps your first anniversary?

Until then please keep up to date with the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Chobe Chilwero by liking us on Facebook, just search for “Sanctuary Retreats”

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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Sydney
Level Contributor
467 reviews
129 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 383 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2013

Stayed here for 4 nights. I will comment first on the accommodation, meals and staff and then upon the game drives/cruises. My rating is as follows:

1. Accommodation - 5/5
2. Meals - 5/5
3. Staff - 5/5
4. Game drives and cruises - 4/5.
Given that we were predominately here to view the game I rated this lodge an overall 4/5.

1. Accommodation:
Of the 4 safari camps/lodges that we stayed in during our time in South Africa and Botswana this was the most luxurious accommodation and had the best meals. Chobe Chilwero was approximately a 10 minute drive away from Kasane airport. The lodge has 15 separate free standing units/thatched chalets built either side of a central reception/dining/bar/lounge area - Units 1 - 7 on one side and 8-15 on the other. The chalets are joined to each other and the central reception area via a concrete pathway. Our chalet was no: 13 and was about a 4 minute walk away from the central reception area. You were guided to and from your Chalet by a staff member after dark.

We were greeted on arrival by Basardi, given cold towels, fruit juice and an explanation of the layout of the facilities and timetable of events. All of the thatched cottages themselves appeared to be constructed of rendered brick and were very large. Five steps took you up to a small patio and the entrance which lead straight into the enormous bedroom. In the middle of the bedroom against the wall directly opposite the entranceway was a large king-sized bed with mosquito netting. On either side of the bed there was a doorway into the bathroom (which was the same width as the bedroom, but narrower) and, directly behind the bedhead, an opening in the wall whereby you could also look through into the bathroom (there were wooden shutters on this opening that were closed as part of the evening turndown service). The floor was concrete but there were mats on either side and at the end of the bed. The bedroom also had a settee, a desk and chair, 2 single lounge chairs, coffee table and free standing lamp and an additional table and chair on the opposite side of the room to the desk.

The large bathroom had a free standing bath in the middle of the room, a double hand basin up one end, large wardrobe with hanging and drawer space at the other, a makeup table with mirror and chairs in the middle of the room opposite the bath. The separate room with the toilet was up the same end as the hand basins whilst the large shower recess was at the other end. Shower pressure was very good. There was also an outside shower that was very private. Unfortunately they had liquid soap dispensers.

Chalet also contained a safe, minibar (all contents included in the price), a telephone (only camp/lodge that we stayed at that had one) plus free WIFI which worked very well and it was air-conditioned and exceptionally clean.

The only downside was that the only view to be obtained from our Chalet was that of scrub and bush. The only Chalets that appeared to get the great views of the Chobe River that could also be seen from the central reception area appeared to be nos: 5,6,7,8.9 and 10, although perhaps those closest to the lodge (7 and 8) may not have had as much privacy.

The central reception area was quite large and contained a very big indoor dining area, a lounge area with very comfy lounge chairs, a business centre, gift shop, library and bar. There was also a large covered concrete terrace leading out from the dining area where most of the meals, including breakfast, were eaten. Chobe Chilwero is on the top of quite a large ridge/hill that overlooks the Chobe River. On the other side of the river is Namibia. The views down to and across the River, whilst some distance away, were stunning, particular at sunset. Game, including baboons, monkeys and banded mongooses freely wandered across the grounds . The swimming pool and spa area were near Unit 4. The spa was excellent.

2. Meals:
Meals were exceptional. We had advised at the time of booking that my wife had an allergy to wheat and the very excellent Executive Chef, Phinias introduced himself to us at the first time we dined, and then appeared at just about every other mealtime and proceeded to advise us as to what on the menu my wife could/could not eat and even made gluten free muffins/cakes and bread. Breakfast was both a buffet, mainly cold food e.g. cereals, meats, cheese, fruit, bread, juice etc. but also hot porridge, and a menu affair - you ordered eggs and other hot food separately from the waiter and it was brought to your table. Tea and barista coffee (no extra cost) was also available.

Lunch was generally a choice from 2 entrees (one normally soup), 3 mains (a fish, a meat and a vegetarian option) although one day they had make your own pizzas (gluten free pizza base options available) and 2 desserts. You simply added whatever you wanted to your pizza base (from an enormous range of options) and they cooked the pizzas in a portable wood fired oven - great! Dinner was literally a feast. During the 4 nights that we stayed we enjoyed a variety of dishes from Eland, to beef, to Fish (Bream), to Ostrich but again there was a choice of entrees, main meals and desserts. One night we thoroughly enjoyed a huge Braai (BBQ) where they had pork, lamb, beef kebabs, sausage, salads etc. with broccoli soup (cooked in a huge pot over an open fireplace) as the starter. Absolutely fantastic. Those who wanted too could go back as many times as they wanted. Wine was freely available in the central reception area before dinner and also during dinner. Alcohol was also offered at lunch.

3. Staff - Nothing short of excellent from management (Heidi, Lesego, Aaron and and Basardi - the latter went out of her way to know every guest's name - amazing), to Phinias (our excellent Executive Chef), to Maria (our house maid - great turn down service - free laundry with same day service), wait staff - Giant, Ofidwe, Calvin, Grace, Castor and others, Spa staff (Beatrice and Vee - excellent) to our guide/tracker - Poniso - exceptional - great knowledge. Apologies to any I have missed, misspelt or miscategorised. As per other lodges we were always met upon our return from game drives/cruises with cold/hot towels and fruit juices.

4. Game drives - there are a number of issues to consider here including:
- range of game available for viewing;
- private or public (national) park;
- timing of game park drives;
Apart from the range of game available for viewing (hundreds of elephants) , there were issues with Chobe Chilwero.

Unfortunately Chobe Chilwero lodge sits a 10 minute drive outside of Chobe National Park which is a National Park that can be accessed by private vehicles and there is at least one public camping area in the National Park. It is also accessed by a number of privately owned lodges which are located both within and around the outskirts of the National Park. Accordingly it is a very busy park with a significant number of private lodge and privately owned vehicles using its limited road systems. This means that you are rarely on your own in viewing game. There are only several main routes within Chobe, one of which leads down onto the river front bank (there are actually signs showing that you can only go in one direction), where a lot of game obviously congregate at various times during the day. This trail was equivalent to a busy road most days given the number of vehicles in the park.

On one occasion we saw three lions at a waterhole - a good 150/200 metres away. There would have been in excess of 20 vehicles jockeying for position to view them.

One of the main restrictions with Chobe being a National Park is also that you cannot go off road to follow game. All vehicles have to stick to the designated vehicle routes. Our guide, Poniso, saw leopard tracks that were only about 2 minutes old (we knew this as we had just passed a vehicle going in the opposite direction and the leopard tracks appeared on top of the tyre tracks). We could see in which direction the leopard had headed but we were unable to follow it as we had to stick to the designated roads. We could see that Poniso was frustrated, as were we, but they were the rules. We drove around the area but didn't see the leopard. These rules largely impacted the viewing of cats but not of elephants, buffalo or giraffes. Also as a result of the fact that we didn't go off road, we did not need a separate tracker to our guide/driver. Also the vehicle had a cover as this was not likely to get in the way on the designated roads.

Timing of game drives. The routine at Chobe Chilwero was that in the morning you would receive a wake-up call at 6-30am, have breakfast at 7-00am and be on the vehicles ready to go (provided your fellow guests were on time) at 7-30am. You then drove about 10 minutes to the National Park entrance - guide/tracker signed in (about another 5-10 minutes), then followed the main route into the park (about another 10/20 minutes). It was already 8-00am by the time we were actually in a good viewing area when we should have been here at 6-30am at the latest. This was not an issue with Chobe National Park - which opened between 6-00am and 6-30pm during our visit - but with the Chobe Chilwero schedule. Game drives really needed to get going earlier, or at least have a facility for people who want to go earlier versus those who want a later start. We were generally back by 11-00am

The afternoon game drive was generally a river cruise (not a great deal of choice here) and the schedule was slightly better. High tea at 3-00pm and away by 3.30pm. Generally in the boats by 4.00pm. Back by 7.00pm.

Range of game - we saw significant (in the hundreds) of elephants, buffalo, impala, baboons, mongoose; about a hundred giraffes and warthogs, about 50 hippos (including 3 standing in the sun on the river bank), some sable antelopes, some lions, a number of kudu, puku, some jackels and one zebra. No rhinos - not located in this park - leopards or cheetahs.

On one occasion Poniso stopped the car on one of the roads right in front of the elephant "highway" leading down to the river. In the distance we could see a large herd of elephants heading towards us and before too long they had surrounded our vehicle, one tapping his trunk on the bonnet, before moving off to the river. Amazing experience.

We also saw a spectacular range of bird-life, particularly on the river cruise, and a number of crocodiles. Whilst on the river cruise we also saw a whole herd of elephants swimming from one of the islands back to shore. A great sight. Vast splashes of water and a buch of trunks in the air. It was only when they got ashore that we realised that there were a number of babies with them. Not sure how they survived the swim. Also got up close and personal with a group of hippos. Again, though, the river was very crowded with tourist groups.

Chobe National Park is renowned for its elephant population. If this is what you want to see Chobe Chilwero is an excellent place to stay..

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank westy54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque
Level Contributor
135 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2013

Having stayed at other small lodges during our 3 weeks, this one seemed like a larger resort. It does have a beautiful view of the river below. The staff was friendly but not as intimate. The food, snacks and drinks were very good. The guides were great like all of our trip. We did have a room with a king size bed, a rare occurrence. The rooms had A/C, great tub with large windows to a private outdoor space with an outdoor shower. It's difficult to enjoy these lodges as the game drives start early and go til noon, then lunch, time off to rest and then a afternoon drive until dusk. You get back in time for a shower then dinner. The process starts all over again the next day. You can remove yourself from a game drive but you may miss great sightings. It is tough to have suck great options. We had a staff dance performance the night before we left that was just great. The lodge staff work hard to keep you happy, just ask and they will try to accommodate you. Having said all this, The upscale Sanctuary group should take American Express, bad form.

Room Tip: Room 13 has no grass out front but is private, room 15 has no view. Stay away from rooms to close t...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Baba-Kahawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New England
Level Contributor
51 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2013

We stayed at this upscale lodge for two nights. Drove from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and when we crossed the border into Botswana the difference in the authorities' stewardship of the environment was pleasantly obvious.

Chilwero Lodge is run by the Sanctuary Group who boast that their resorts are the ultimate green experience with everything geared toward a minimal impact on the environment, carbon-neutral and sustainable tourism. Our observations confirmed these claims.

The Lodge overlooks the Chobe River at a very wide point interspersed with islands. Elephants, hippos and other wild animals swim from the river banks to the various islands during the day to forage on the lush soils. Unfortunately the large volume of boats and visitors trying to witness the swimming pachyderms usually disrupts this day-to-day migration pattern. Sitting at breakfast at the Lodge, we did manage to see an elephant herd making the crossing. The water is so deep that even the tallest elephant was submerged for a couple of minutes; goodness knows how the babies manged the crossing (they did!)

The accommodation is in brick-built, large bungalows, well appointed with a fridge, unlimited liquor refills of your choice and a double vanity, large bath plus an indoor and outdoor shower. There is also a hammock for those so inclined.

Food is very good and so is the service. You have the choice of a game drive or a boat trip every day. We chose one of each.

I can thoroughly recommend this resort!

Room Tip: Room number 9 has the best view... but all rooms have a good view.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liphook
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2013

Outstanding accommodation with a great setting. 15 is the furthest room from the lodge but enabled less disturbances from other clients walking by, but no view. Having travelled to a lot of the safari locations in Africa we were disappointed with the lack of flexibility on choosing how to spend the morning and afternoon safari slots. Or even being asked. There was resistance to getting into the park at opening times and was frankly dismayed about reaching the park gates at 0720 but seeing the Park had been opened from 0600. That would have been our preference but was not given as an option. Means you miss the chance of seeing end of nocturnal activity. Ali our guides knowledge was however excellent. In summary excellent hotel but wish more attention and flexibility was given to personal wildlife requests.

Room Tip: Refuse 15 if you want a view!!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank garylynnLiphook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level Contributor
30 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2013

We loved ending our visit to Botswana by staying at Sanctuary Chilwero Lodge. It's location overlooking the river, the spacious and luxurious suites, gourmet meals, and wonderful game drives make this a must visit place. Thousands of elephants, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, shorebirds co-exist peacefully in the water and along the riverbank. The contrast of safari game drives in the National Park to the motorboats gives visitors a view of two very different terrains. Our guide, Moshe was not only so knowledgeable about birds, but also made our visit more memorable on the last day when we watched 3 lions stalking some sable antelopes. We also saw Africa's most beautiful bird, the lilac breasted roller which was abundant in this location. This is a great birding area for those interested in avian creatures.
The service is professional although some staff are stand-offish, but they get the job done. Henri, the manager is cordial and attentive. When our rooms weren't ready on arrival, we were treated to a foot massage while waiting. A nice touch! My only complaint is that there is a beautiful soaking tub in the suites, but there was barely any hot water so I couldn't use the tub. All alcoholic beverages and laundry are included in this lodge as well as free internet access in the suites. Sweet!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank tripcr8zy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, responded to this review, September 4, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post this lovely review on Tripadvisor.

We are delighted that overall you had an enjoyable experience with us and thank you for your kind comments, especially about Henri and Mushe; they were thrilled with your feedback.

We are in process of resolving the issues we are currently experiencing with our water pressure and hope to have this resolved promptly. We conducted a very comprehensive staff service training few months back and as a result of your feedback decided to repeat this exercise to ensure that our staff are attentive and professional at all times.

We do hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back one day soon...

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Chobe Chilwero by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

Property: Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero
Address: Bordering Chobe National Park, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Chobe National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is a luxurious riverside retreat in the heart of the bush, with all of the facilities of a larger resort. The main area commands fabulous views over the Chobe River which borders Chobe National Park to the north. As well as the elephants for which the park is famous for, guests can relax in the split-level swimming pool, unwind with a pampering session in the spa or enjoy the gourmet food that the lodge has become known for. Each of the 14 thatched guest cottages has two showers, one inside and one outside. The ensuite bathroom also has a large free-standing bath. After a day of game viewing, what better way to relax than in your own private garden with a cocktail? Or if the fancy takes you, why not have your gourmet dinner served right here under the African sky. Coffee stations are now available for guest use in the rooms. Our honeymoon suite at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero features a private plunge pool and deck area where guests will be able to enjoy private dinners for two under the stars (weather permitting) and special turn downs every night. Guests booking this room will automatically receive a private vehicle and guide for all game viewing activities. Coffee stations are now available for guest use in the rooms. ... more   less 
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Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero Hotel Chobe National Park

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