XIGERA SAFARI LODGE
Xigera Safari Lodge is one of the most luxurious lodges in the Okavango Delta, set in a beautiful location on a private concession within the Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana. After a complete rebuild Xigera has reopened under new ownership as one of the most exclusive and luxurious camps in Botswana, offering the ultimate flexibility for guests to shape their experience exactly as they desire. The philosophy at this stylish lodge says it all “anything, any time”.
It’s owned and run by the famous fourth-generation hoteliers, The Tollman family, so every inch and detail is carefully considered. Africa’s best artists, architects and interior designers were commissioned to create this spectacular Lodge offering the ultimate in style and luxury. Add to this year-round access to the Delta’s pristine waterways and experienced guides tuned into the nuances of the landscapes, animals and seasons. The result is the ultimate African Safari Experience.
The original Xigera, a modest camp built from reed and thatch, was the very first property opened by Wilderness Safaris in Botswana in the mid-1980s. Up until recently, the Tollmans owned a sizable share in Wilderness Safaris – a fraction of their global travel empire, but significant because of their commitment to Africa. For more than 20 years Stanley Tollman brought friends and family to the delta to be privately guided by the highly experienced and hugely entertaining Mike Myers. In the parting of ways with Wilderness, the family kept Xigera, fulfilling a lifelong dream of rebuilding and refining their favourite lodge. Today, Myers and his wife Marian have become the Dereck and Beverly Joubert of Xigera. They oversee operations, mixing the family’s hospitality expertise with their safari experience and a deep understanding of operating sustainably in the middle of nowhere.
Ingenuity and variety spring from the kitchen – it feels as if you’re eating in a different restaurant every time, served in unique, last-minute surprise locations. A picnic lunch might be taken under a fig tree in the middle of the reserve, a romantic plated dinner on your private deck, sundowner snacks in the baobab-sculpture treehouse, a fireside barbecue in the boma. There’s even English tea with chocolate cake, smoked-salmon sandwiches, cream scones and pastel macaroons. There are also authentic Indian curries and tandoori specialities on the menu every day, but you can order whatever else you feel like, from steak frites to a buddha bowl. House wines are from the family’s own cool-climate Cape vineyards, but the cellar holds many boutique labels besides.
Many of the staff have been part of the Xigera family for decades, and are enormously proud of the new lodge, but it is a quiet, intentional, service-driven confidence – nothing is too much trouble and personal quirks are indulged and remembered, as they would be in one of the Tollmans’ Red Carnation city hotels. Days unfold as energetically or as leisurely as you want, with plans and surprises orchestrated with meticulous attention to detail in the background, thanks to guests’ private guide and butler.
The 12 suites, most facing over the floodplains, are linked to the main areas by elevated boardwalks winding between the trees. Each is a self-contained oasis of indoor-outdoor living spaces filled with contemporary furniture and art, commissioned and sourced through Cape Town’s Southern Guild gallery. Bedrooms are lavishly layered – plump cushions, ornate Ardmore bedside lamps, rich, textured fabrics – it’s hard to believe you’re in the wilderness
The lodge’s designer interiors and superb service are wonderfully distracting, but it’s the Delta’s watery wonderland that demands attention and exploration by boat, mokoro (or even a glass-bottomed canoe), four-wheel-drive game-viewer or on a guided walk. You can easily expect to see the Big Five and this is by far one of Africa’s best areas for game viewing.
The Eco effort
Central to the efficient off-grid running of Xigera is the state-of-the-art Tesla solar hybrid-power system, which supplies almost 100 per cent of the camp and nearby staff village’s energy. Many of the eco efforts are behind the scenes, like the composter for organic kitchen waste that produces ‘black gold’ to boost the kitchen gardens; the biodegradable cleaning products and the gorgeously scented toiletries, packaged in recyclable grass-green glass; grey water from the above-ground sewage system that safely irrigates the gardens. The water supply throughout the lodge is purified via the latest in reverse-osmosis technology before being remineralised (tap water is perfectly safe to drink and guests receive a sleek, refillable water flask). Thermodynamic geysers supply hot water using minimal energy, while the tinted glass windows in the guest tents insulate the interiors against heat and cold depending on the time of year.
“A FAMILY’S LOVE LETTER TO AFRICA”