This month, Murray and Bridget travelled to beautiful Botswana. They stayed at Xigera Safari Lodge, in the Okavango Delta, and Jack’s Camp in the Kalahari. Combining these two regions makes for a perfect itinerary! Botswana has finally opened again for tourists, so we were excited to hear their report back.
Xigera Safari Lodge, Okavango Delta
The action of a kingfisher as it hovers, aims and dives into the Delta to catch its meal is referred to as Xigera by the bushmen people who have traditionally lived in this region.
The bird’s behaviour requires precision and precision is what you’ll experience at this incredible lodge.
Twelve spectacular rooms live harmoniously amongst the Delta’s tributaries and watering holes which host an amazing amount of water related wildlife. From the rare Pels Fishing Owl to the Painted Reed Frog… to the Tsessebe antelope, viewing nature here is never dull.
A highlight for us was the mokoro ride on the Delta. A peaceful experience in a modern version of the traditional wooden boats, which took us through beautiful floating flowering lilies to an island for a delicious picnic breakfast.
Situated in the Moremi National Park, Xigera is a well designed, beautifully appointed lodge that justifies a longer stay. From spa, to star gazing to personalised gym training sessions to game drives and water activities, there’s so much to see and enjoy. And of course a night out at Baobab treehouse is a tempting option.
As a guest, you feel part of the family of staff. Food and service is top class and saying goodbye is hard.
The runway is 5 minutes from the lodge which is convenient for small plane transfers, but highly recommended for easy access and uninterrupted direct flight service is the Maun Delta Helicopters service. We enjoyed seats upfront – it’s super spacious and comfortable with huge glass windows all round, making for excellent wildlife spotting from the relatively low flying level.
Going on Safari in Botswana doesn’t get much better than this!
Jack’s Camp, Kalahari
Situated between the Sua Salt Pans and the Makgadikgadi National Park in Central Botswana, Jack’s Camp epitomises so much of what makes up this magical country.
Our first evening was spent watching the sun set from the salt pans. A short drive from the recently refurbished tented camp and you find yourself standing on drying, cracked land, the size of Switzerland! As you venture on foot into the area of nothingness, your ears begin to ring as you hear deafening silence. It’s an experience like nothing else and a humbling start to what can only be described as an unforgettable moment in time.
As wonderful as the accommodation is, I think it’s safe to say that a visit to Jack’s Camp is about the activities and experiences available to each guest. Visiting a meerkat colony rates highly on my list of lifetime favourites. There are no words to describe these clever and adorable creatures who welcome you into their habitat with their inquisitive nature. There’s total respect as us humans may not touch them, but they are welcome to touch us. Luckily, much to our delight, the family of mom and nine siblings chose to interact with us. Something we will cherish forever.
Another highlight of this region is the nocturnal wildlife. We saw porcupines, civets, bat eared fox, spring hairs, genets and the very hard to spot aardvark – a rare sighting we were so excited about.
There’s so much to rave about at Jack’s Camp… another experience I cannot omit, is walking with the Kalahari bushmen. Never will I look at nature in the same way. Roots, tubers, grasses, seeds, spoor, insects all have meaning and purpose in the life of these people. (Survivor contestants could learn a few tips on how to make fire from almost nothing in record time! An impressive skill to watch.)
I could go on… the delicious meals, the amazing guide named Super, the comfortable North African style accommodation, the Persian afternoon tea tent experience, quad biking to another sunset spot in the salt pans… the list of highs is endless.
A visit to Botswana is not complete without a stay at Jack’s Camp. Simple.
Written by Bridget Gardiner