Reviews of Xigera
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mokoro rides at Xigera
Surprisingly low water levels as the summer rainfall was very sparse, resulted in no boat rides however the mokoros could still get through the waterways so a partial water camp.
Must be an excellent location when the waters are high, the wildlife was excellent and we saw the elusive Pell’s fishing owl. I would consider returning to see the lodge in it’s watery version.
Expert Africa comments
It does indeed seem that Botswana is in for a particularly interesting year in 2015. As this traveller experienced, there has been significantly lower than average rainfall which has certainly meant that wildlife viewing has been very mixed in some areas. Places where we would expect it to be great at this time of year, aren’t seeing as much as we would expect, and others, where we possibly wouldn’t expect it, seem to be producing some interesting sightings. The camps in the Delta are certainly struggling with very low water levels in the early part of 2015. Hopefully as the flood waters arrive from the Angolan highlands, which are said to have been good this year, unlike Botswana's rain fall, the water levels will hopefully pick up somewhat making these more watery areas more true to form!
Delightful camp , feels deep in the delta ! Staff all welcoming and friendly and working well as a team . The cultural evening held on Mondays was a joyous musical memorable time in the boma. They all love singing and dancing . I know they do it every Monday but they really seemed to enjoy doing it .
Tents very comfortable and we enjoyed our walkway to it . Food delicious and again the chefs took pride in their work. Tables all looked so attractive in the evenings with lots of effort put in the the napkin designs which we all loved
Our guide Onks was delightful , patient , knowledge and good fun . We loved our mokoro trips with him and Brendan the poler. We were very lucky with a leopard sighting and also many birds . We knew it was not an area for lots of big mammals.
Re water levels , although we were there in the rainy season the big rains that fall in Angola and take many months to reach the further reaches of the delta had not arrived so water levels were still low . ie the huge lagoon I front of our tent was totally dry .
There was enough for the mokoros but not the boats. We therefore had the majority of the game viewing in the jeeps .
Because Xigera is advertised as a water camp we probably expected more water based activities. Having said that I know water levels /climate can be unpredictable. We chatted lots to the guides about the best times to come for a truly water experience and it's June July time .
Having made the mistake / misunderstanding 2 yrs ago when we stayed at Sandibe and there was no water for mokoros at all then and we were a bit disappointed we had hoped to get it right this time . I think it would be really helpful in your literature if you explained clearly the different seasons and what you can expect in each one . My mistake this time was assuming that the rainy season would mean masses of water, but actually it all fills up later on.
No problem really , we will just have to return later in the season for the really water experience!!
Thought Kanana was excellent but this was even better. First class management and all staff. Great fun with excellent guides. Great food and wine. Sundowner experience in the bush was superb!
Xigera Visit 3
Another of our firm favourites in the Delta, Xigera manages to overcome most of the disadvantages of a large camp by being stunningly beautiful and a feast of birds. We had not been there at this time of year before and were disappointed that the water levels were too low to allow the usual all day boat cruise to Chief's Island or to visit some of the more remote lagoons and narrow channels.
Rather like the new Tubu, the management presence was rather confusing with a general manager and a number of deputies who seemed to carry out shifts of front of house duties. However, the camp runs reasonably well despite the odd failure to replace a missing wash basin plug or to carry out requests to light anti mosquito coils at turn down.
Our guide Dips was delightful and clearly a mover and shaker in the camp entertainment programme. A highlight was the discovery of an adult Pels Fishing owl plus juvenile in camp and photographable. A 12 year mission fulfilled! In contrast to the Tubu private group we coincided with a party of 6 Australian guests with their private birding guide. They were charming, joined in and made no negative impact whatsoever.
Interestingly, the general manager Johann told us that he was asking Wilderness to reduce the number of rooms at the camp as he feels the current 10 is 2 too many! We had a wonderful time at Xigera which included exuberant Independence Day celebrations. Huge fun and we are sure to return.
I thought it was excellent.
As a birdwatcher I had the opportunity to see two endangered species and many bird species that were totally new to me.
Chilling out at Xigera
Megan (Expert Africa) suggested Xigera as our last camp and how glad we were to have taken her advice. The only thing we would have changed was to have stayed an extra night!
After two weeks of 'African Massages' driving over rutted sandy tracks the smooth and tranquil boat trips were a blessing and the magnificent scenery a joy to behold. Malachite Kingfishers & African Fish Eagles abound, African & Lesser Jacanas, Long-toed Lapwings, Goliath Herons and not forgetting the majestic Pel's Fishing Owl. Dips, our private guide, kept a watch out for this beautiful bird and on our final morning we were rewarded with a perfect sighting (in camp), out in the open in glorious light by tent 9. Photos galore! Thank you Dips for your patience, your company and your expertise in giving us wonderful photo/viewing opportunities of all the birds above ( plus many more), chilling out with hippos and stunning sunsets as a backdrop to our nightly sundowners. Alas, the elusive sitatunga eluded us ........... yet another reason to return!
We did experience a short mekoro ride poled by perfectly balanced Solly but unfortunately the low down seating arrangement put too much strain on my husband's back after his recent injury. We did however, get close and personal with an exquisite painted reed frog so we were not disappointed.
Our room (no.8) was about a 4 to 5 minute walk along the raised boardwalk, close enough to numbers 9 & 10 to check out the Pel's Fishing Owl 's favourite perch, and far enough away from the main camp to make an interesting walk watching out for the resident elephants - a welcome road block. The camp was very well laid out and we particularly liked the 'star deck'.
The management and staff at Xigera were a credit to Wilderness Safaris - always helpful, efficient and friendly - with special mentions to Claudine, Rose and Kenny. Cheers Kenny for making the best margaritas in the whole of Botswana! Food was delicious with the most choice of all the camps we visited, the traditional night in the boma a lot of fun and our romantic meal by the pool a wonderful surprise.
A fitting end to a fantastic holiday and yet again a camp/company we would highly recommend and would return to at a moment's notice.
a great end to our holiday at Xigera
The great thing about Xigeria camp, apart from the area's natural beauty and friendly, attentive staff, is the lack of expectation regarding big game sightings. Having said that, we got some of our best elephant viewing of the trip as lone males and small family groups splashed between islands, or passed close to our accommodation in the early dawn. One can truly relax here and enjoy the slow pace of life, and the fantastic birds which abound in this water drowned landscape. The smooth boat rides and the tranquility of the mocoro trip were a welcome relief after two weeks of bumping and revving over miles of roads in search of elusive game.
Our guide, Lesh, was the epitome of patience and friendliness, always willing to answer questions and ensure our experience was the best it could be.
We left Xigeria refreshed and already anticipating our return to this beautiful country and its generous, friendly people.
This was by far the best camp that we stayed in. The rooms were good - the food excellent - the staff enthusiastic and competent - the Manager young and very able. They were also the only of 3 camps in which we stayed where they washed mens underpants.
The menu was varied, we got two choices of main course at dinner e.g. steak and fish and the cook could also produce excellent pastries and cakes. Breakfast at 0530 had fruit, cereal, bread, marmalade and muffins.
The Guide "Goms" was excellent
Elephants in camp at Xigera
It's a long way (app. 400 metres) from the "base" to the furthest room - information which didn't seem to appear in anything we read before we went; we had to ask to be moved. Also, with a lot of wildlife in camp it could have been difficult to move between room and base.
Impressive use of solar panels.
Our guide, Onx, went out of his way to find us not one, but two, Pel's fishing owls. Wildlife was good - saw leopards again.
There seemed to be a lot of "managers" - all friendly and helpful.
Unfortunately we were not able to book a private vehicle here - this restricted our activities. A lot of the drives were very bumpy and the drive to the boat ride was horrible, with a long part of it through close trees; it turned out there was a much quicker and easier route.
Xigera in the heart of the Okavango
Beautiful setting right in the Okavango delta: wonderful and varied grasslands, reed-lined waterways and palm trees: great for photography. Lots of giraffe, elephants, zebra, hippos to mention but a few. A pair of Pel's Fishing Owls perch in the trees near the camp.
A highlight was the high speed boat down the canals to the lagoon where we swam and drank our sun-downers in the warm, and fast flowing cristal clear water. We saw pink backed pelicans and the rare African skimmer. Fantastic sunsets.
The food was not as good as we had experienced in other camps in Botswana.