Chief's Camp is about 25km from Mombo, just off the western side of Chief's Island. It is the pride of Sanctuary Lodge's operations in Botswana, and used extensively by A&K companies worldwide.
Chief's main area is raised on decking where its high thatch roof covers a large, open plan area. This is dotted with expensive ethnic curios and the odd bookshelf, where there is a varied mix of interesting reading. Adjacent to this you'll find the lounge and a well-stocked bar, with wooden coffee table and weaved 'sea-grass' sofa, and a dining room with a number of tables. Here guests tend to dine with their own guide, who is generally allotted to you when you arrive. (You tend to stick with the same guide and take all your drives with him/her). When last visited, Chief's food was good and imaginative, and accompanied with an impressive selection of wine.
Outside this dining/lounge area, an expanse of wooden decking acts as a veranda, where you can sit in the shade of large jackalberry (Diospyros mespiliformis) and marula (Sclerocarya birrea) trees. Slightly below this, a large (8m long) swimming pool is surrounded by loungers and a small 'sala'. Those with a passion for shopping might also seek out the efficient shop that sells T-shirts, film, books and some stylish curios.
Chief's has 12 tents, all secluded and slightly raised off the ground on decking. They are reached from a simple bush path, lit at night by electric hurricane lamps. Tent numbers one to seven are on the eastern side of the main area, the others on the west. All have private verandas overlooking the plains (which usually flood from around June to the end of August, when the water may come all the way up to the lodge).
Each tent has a wooden door and polished wood floor. Bedside the twin or double beds, adjustable aluminum lamps stand on the bedside tables. The decor is stylish and partly modern, partly ethnic – including masks made by the Teke people of Cameroon. But it's not at all rustic. In the tents you'll find a solid wardrobe, with roll-down canvas door, a couple of chairs and tables, a free-standing lamp and a ceiling fan, powered by 24-hour (110/220V) electricity.
The bathroom is within the main body of the tent, but feels different. It has proper partition walls and a brick shower cubicle with glass door, opposite which is a large glass mirror. The toilet is adjacent, behind a wooden door, and there are twin washbasins, both with individual mirrors – completing the impression that this is the bathroom of a plush hotel rather than a safari camp.