Reviews of Xakanaxa
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Another fine lodge, and different which is of course why we are moving around.
Our guide Baams was particularly delightful. We learned about his work to overcome and invasive weed in the water. In these large, sparsely populated areas, the skill of the guide is paramount in your experience.
The "tent" is in fact quite comfortable. There are baboons wandering in the camp which is great fun.
Xakanaxa Camp-Arrived by Boat
We arrived from Kwara by water transfer, which was a unique experience. The setting was inviting and our room comfortable.
Our guide, Water, was an experienced hand. As we were in a Reserve, he had no tracker. On our first drive he heard an impala give a warning cry and followed that up by finding a lion in the grass. Amazing.
On a boating trip, we were with four very serious photographers. We found ourselves in the way. We don't think they expected joiners. We were also part of their group the following morning. We did cramp their style. I think allowances could be made. Our Guide did the best he could.
Other than that glitch, we did enjoy our experience at Xakanaxa Camp and left with fond memories.
We loved Xakanaxa although we could never properly pronounce it. The location is beautiful and the facilities are amazing. Lettie manages it all with a natural grace and style that made us feel right at home.
We loved the addition of water activities on top of the game drives, and particularly found the visit to the roosting spot of the herons and cormorants to be fascinating. Only the marabou storks were nesting since it was early in the year but it was still great to see all the birds flying in for the night.
Our guide Water was amazing. We came upon a group of trucks that had seen two lions go into the tall grass but hadn't seen them come out. While the other trucks were driving around to the other side of the grassy area Water turned off our truck and just listened. He heard the lions in the grass and backed up the truck and...there they were!! I never heard a thing.
great location and views. Excellent games drives and guideRead more about the whole safari
There is one thing I would like to bring to your attention and to understand. There was a leopard sighting on our last day. At least 3 and possibly 4 vehicles arrived on the scene. I felt uncomfortable because at one point the animal was boxed in by vehicles on three sides with only one side open and I felt the animal was stressed. I would have thought that frightened and cornered animals are more likely to attack and I wondered what the official view would be on the situation I have described.
We were very happy with the way our driver handled a large aggressive male elephant blocking our path on the road back to Maun. When the animal came right up to our vehicle the driver turned off the engine. We waited in silence for a few minutes and when he turned it back on again the elephant showed signs of backing off slightly the driver then drove towards him and the elephant then turned around and ran off. Scarey but the driver seemed to know how to handle the situation.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa responded to these travellers and included the following comment: We are sorry that you were put in a situation that you werent comfortable with during the leopard sighting from Xakanaxa Camp. We certainly do not condone any activity that puts wildlife under stress from humans; in fact we are actively against operations that dont show respect to wildlife. In our experience the safari guides from the safari camps that we recommend are excellent at reading the body language of animals, and ensuring that the animals they are viewing are not put under any unnecessary stress. The wildlife in safari areas which see regular visitors are usually very habituated to vehicles, and tend to ignore them as nothing more than the occasional nuisance. There are more vehicles allowed in Botswanas national parks, such as Moremi Game Reserve, than in the countrys private reserves and so it can be harder for the park rangers to police drivers conduct, especially the conduct of self-drivers or visiting tour operators that arent based at any safari camps located in the area. But again its been our experience that the safari guides from the camps we recommend have a passion for the conservation of the area they operate in, and if they find others abusing the area or the wildlife they are quick to pull them up on it, or report the situation to the park rangers.
I loved the furniture and lighting (gas lamps and candles) which blended in with the natural surroundings.
The food was excellent and plentiful, staff friendly and I loved the communal dinner in the evenings with interesting conversation with people from all over the world.
We were also delighted with the amount of wildlife we encountered.
Xakanaxa is lovely lodge with beautifully landscaped grounds located on a waterway in the Delta.
However, I felt the staff was not as friendly as in the other camps I stayed in. My first guide Ollie was not very informative. Luckily, I was put with another guide named Water on the second day, as the other four people I was with decided not to go out the next day on a game drive. The food was great.
All in all I would not return to this camp if I ever come back.
Xakanaxa Camp experience
This experience was moderately good. Our guide was not at the same level as the guides we had in other locations. I was a bit disappointed that we did not get to see the same number and variety of animals that we saw in other places. However, we did see lions and a leopard, which we had not seen previously, so that was really wonderful. Our guide was not the one to locate these animals, but was able to take us to see them when other guides located them. We did quite a lot of driving with limited observation of much beyond elephants. He also did not every try to identify any of the birds we were seeing.
The camp itself was very luxurious. It was larger than any of the other places we stayed with more guests and staff. With that many people it was difficult to develop relationships. The camp staff might have been able to help by introducing the visitors to each other. In addition, I did not know what most of the staff did. We were not introduced to most of the them.
It was very exciting to see all the baboons that ranged the camp, including the one that came into our bathroom and played with and stole one of the towels. We also had other animals come through the camp including a hippo hiding in the bushes one evening. And we could hear the hippos and other animals during the night, which was very exciting.
This lodge was more upmarket than the other lodges I visited. Although the manager was very friendly and helpful I did not think the other staff were. It was a larger lodge than the others and my overall impression that it was not as friendly.
A criticism I have about all the game drives is that you are always with different people in the land cruiser - this occurs because some guests leave in the morning for their next camp and new people arrive in time for the afternoon drive. If in the morning you may have seen a pride of lions and there are new guests in the afternoon the the likelihood is that you will be taken back to see the lions again rather than being taken to see a different part of the reserve. It would be better if guests with exactly the same length of stay be kept together so that their experiences are the same and best use of time is made in seeing the maximum amount of the reserve.
Our third and final camp. Initial impressions were of a slightly more luxurious camp, with perhaps not the most varied animal experience on offer. The fact that the camp is in a reservation rather than a concession may influence this.
The food in Xakanaxa was the best we had experienced though. Fantastic.
Not so much big game on offer, but fantastic bird life, amphibians and some small mammals - and we saw the infamous pangolin. Very special.