Reviews of Xigera
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A Heronry with Attached Safari Lodge
We visited Xigera about 6 years ago but it was spoiled by inappropriate malarial treatment - the one that makes the skin sun sensitive! This was a return visit to do all the things we missed last time.
What a treat to find Ann and Mike in residence as managers. We met them when they were running Kwetsani 2 years ago. A truly professional team determined to make the best possible use of all their natural and human resources. The camp runs like clockwork and we were in no doubt that all their efforts were to ensure we had the best holiday ever. It worked.
We knew this was a water camp but the team also managed to fit in several game drives despite the unseasonally high water levels. Teko is a guide of unrivalled experience of the Xigera area and he did us proud. The absolute highlight was the afternoon boat ride to the heronry. A completely magical place and a must for any September visitors who appreciate birds. A water camp par exellence run by a great team. We loved it.
Waterworld with lions, hyaenas and birds
From the moment our helicopter touched down near the camp, we knew this would be special and were not disappointed. Since all the activities are water-based, the knowledge and skill of the guide are critical to enjoyment of the landscapes and animal and bird life the camp has to offer. Our guide, Ndebo, grew up in the Delta area and brought both local knowledge and professional experience in seeking out the not frequently seen - e.g., the Pel's fishing owl - and in explaining animal behaviour.
The food was excellent, especially the pounded beef dish that formed part of the boma dinner, and the service was unerringly friendly and attentive. It was July and cold at night and in the morning during our visit. While each camp we stayed at provided the requisite hot water bottles, Xigera ranks at the top for having the hottest ones. The cold did not seem to deter the elephants - each night we drifted off to sleep to the sound of them calmly crunching their way through the palm bushes surrounding our tent.
Top marks too for the quality of the baskets made by Xigera staff. These are serving as excellent mementos of our visit there.
An excellent wet camp. we saw many animals on the boat safari trips, which were very beautiful and atmospheric. The staff made us very welcome and organised a special honeymoon brunch.
We would willingly return -- a good first lodge fro our trip
High Water at Xigera
We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 night stay at Xigera. Although we had been warned that unusually high waters might curtail land activities, that was not the case as we drove in vehicles equipped with snokels and we travelled without any difficulty through water a metre or so deep.
Our game viewing was excellent with 3 separate leopard viewings close-up. Elephants frequented the areas around our raised tents and baboons greeted us on the walkways. On our first game drive we saw leopard, impala, giraffe, baboon, red lechwe, kudu, zebra and warthogs.
On the picnic boat excursion the next day we say hippos, crocodiles, cape buffalo, and a variety of birds including African Fish Eagles, Open-billed storks, and pied kingfishers. The staff at the lodge provided us with excellent service.
Wild water at Xigera
Flying into Xigera was amazing - at first it was hard to spot where we'd land - it was so watery. It really was a stunning arrival - the delta viewed from a light aircraft is quite special.
We'd chosen Xigera for its emphasis on water activities and weren't disappointed.
The motor boat excursions were an absolute highlight. We loved skimming through the delta on these - we saw an impressive range of animals including hippo, crocs, elephant, giraffe, red lechwe, numerous birds and fantastic frogs. This was my first viewing of hippos and we were able to sit close to a large pod from some time which was really exciting.
Teko was our guide and we liked him hugely. He was full of knowledge and very professional with a good sense of humour and really nice manner. He grew up in the delta and paddled mokoros around camp location as a child. This depth of knowledge of the area made him a very authoratative and interesting guide and we felt in very safe hands as he negotiated his way round the maze of the delta.
The day trip out to Chief's Island was fantastic because we got to see such a large area of delta.
The Mokoro rides were lovely and relaxing and a wonderful way to view the lushness of the delta. The lilies and the jacana birds are so pretty and ideally viewed from a mokoro. I was slightly nervous about meeting large animals whilst in these boats, but reassuringly a guide went ahead in a lead mokoro and we were able to enjoy a peaceful couple of hours. Our paddler, William went out of his way to show us things of interest.
Despite the fact there were 16 visitors in camp when we arrived, we were still only with one other couple for guiding, which was great. We were able to do the activities of our choice each day.
There are games drives when water permits. We chose to stay on the water but the other couple who'd been in our boat went for a game drive with Teko. The waters were very high and they were treated to an exhibition of great off-roading skill as the vehicle negotiated deep water and varied terrain.
The accomodation in camp is great - the decks outside the rooms are very well located overlooking the water. Sitting out on your deck before sunset is very relaxing. The rooms are really well designed and presented. We liked having en suite facilities in the room removing the need to go outside at night, particularly as one night we had two hippos outside chewing their way through the vegetation. We also saw a bull elephant standing a few metres from our room in the moonlight - that was spectacular.
One evening we had dinner outside in the boma with drinks around the fire, which was very atmospheric. Other evenings we ate at a large dining table in the very pleasant dining area, close to the water.
There are a lot of staff at Xigera - more than you could get to know in a short stay. Anton, Terri and Tlamelo were the managers we came across and got to talk to quite a bit - all were absolutely committed to ensuring that we enjoyed our stay and we were very well looked after both by them and the camp staff.
Overall this was a fabulous camp which delivered all we'd hoped for and more.
Overall, a fantastic experience.
Our guide, Teko, was really excellent. He went to a lot of trouble to find us a Pels fishing owl, which we were very keen to see. He also took us out on a makoro and tracked down the rare and elusive sitatunga antelope, which was very exciting.
On the game drive, we got our best ever viewing of hyenas which were feeding on a recent buffalo kill and were very sated.
We spent Christmas at this camp, and they went to a lot of trouble to ensure it was memorable by producing handmade Christmas crackers, which enclosed a tradtional local proverb and a small local gift - a very nice touch.
Excellent camp in beautiful setting with friendly staff and knowledgeable guides.
Considerable game around the camp means that it is a good place to draw breath. We had an afternoon staying in camp rather than going on a drive and felt it was worthwhile taking time to relax and enjoy our immediate surroundings.
Managers from another camp were on holiday at Xigera. They also had an afternoon off and admitted they had not realised how tiring game drives can be and they now better understand how tired their guests may be.
We enjoyed Xigera -- visiting a water camp was interesting, and a good change of pace from our other activities. However, the abundance of game at this camp was much lower than at the other camps we visited, so 3 nights was a bit too much to spend at this particular site -- 2 nights would have been adequate.
At this camp they sold hand-woven baskets made by the camp staff, which were very beautiful, so this was a good place to get souvenirs!
We were hoping to see the sitatunga antelope, but did not see any (apparently they are quite difficult to spot), but we did see an abundance of lechwe, as well as some interesting up-close encounters with buffalo that were in the water near our boat! We also saw several beautiful types of storks, herons, and other water birds.
We visited toward the end of the dry season, and the water levels were getting low -- apparently our group had the last boat ride of the season (around Oct 10); I was glad we were able to do that -- it would have been disappointing to come to a water camp only to find out it was too late in the season for the boat rides!
The perfect end
What a wonderful setting in the Delta. all the staff and in particular our guide KD made sure that we had the ultimate experience at this camp. We were fortunate to see lots of game in particular the hyena's den with mother and cub.
We had a full day trip by boat through the reed beds and hippo pools up to Chief's Island. At lunchtime we landed on a bank to find a wonderful picnic set out for us complete with rugs for a siesta afterwards. A memorable experience. The variety of birdlife in this camp was exceptional. KD's knowledge of flora and fauna was outstanding and he always seemed able to surprise us. As it was my birthday he arranged for a cake and then surprised us with champagne as a sundowner, He even organised a giraffe walking in front of the setting sun - so perfect.
This was the third camp where we had dinner in the Kgotla but the only one where the staff sang and danced for us. We ended our visit to this camp by a morning in the mokoros gliding peacefully through the reeds. We were sad to leave such a friendly and efficiently run oasis.
Perfect final Camp
Absolutely lovely camp.
Do not go to this camp if you want to see the big 5. Game viewing slightly limited as this a water camp. Very relaxing and an ideal camp to wind down at before exiting the delta.