Reviews of Xaranna Okavango Delta Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Xaranna second visit.
Following a 5 minute flight from Nxabega we landed at the Pom Pom airstrip and 25 minutes later we were met at the lodge. We had requested Tent 1 which was waiting for us along with the elephant that decided to meet the new arrivals!!
Xaranna is another good camp for birding with many different species around the tents. We had MD (guide) and Elicious (tracker) who were both excellent in bird identification. On one of the days we mentioned a Pel's Fishing Owl was on our wish list and despite looking around some known spots MD failed to locate one so after they dropped us off for breakfast they went out again to see if they could find one. That evening we went out on a game drive and although they said they hadn't found an Owl they went straight to the tree it was roosting in - now that's what we call dedication.
On another drive we were looking at a small bird in a bush when Elicious suddenly spotted a Black Mamba along one of the branches - we took one or two photos and quickly moved on!! Another day we were out birding (again) when we heard a lion roaring - Elicious tracked it down to a spot where it was hiding in the long grass. Again a few photos before it wondered off into the bushes.
The accommodation and food were excellent along with the private dinner in our tent the staff had arranged on our last night. Many thanks Kenneth (Waiter) for looking after us so well.
We had a game drive from Kanana to Xaranna (their airstrip is unusable) about 45 minutes. KD and Elicious were our guide and tracker who put us on to some pretty amazing sights. Dimarie treated us just like old friends and she would do anything to make our stay a memorable one.
Our tent was probably the best we have stayed in in Botswana in a great position, spotlessly clean and with it's own plunge pool - heaven.
The food was magnificent although I don't know why we had breakfast after the mornings game drive followed 2 hours later by lunch!!
KD took us to see 6 Cheetahs on the first day and after a fair bit of tracking located them where we managed to get some good views.
On the next day we were having a snack before going out on another game drive when KD heard a lion roar - with Elicious doing the tracking it wasn't too long before we were on to a beautifully conditioned male lion who was very obliging by posing for us to take photos. On the same drive we stopped for a bush breakfast where Elicious became the cook - the food was wonderful.
Later that day we went in search of a Pels Fishing Owl and after a bit of searching on one of the islands we found not one but two - again great photo opportunities.
Xaranna Okavongo Delta Lodge feedback
Xaranna Lodge was a wonder to behold. We had a wonderful stay at Xaranna and had some superb sightings of Leopard. Our guide TJ and tracker Elicious were amazing at spotting leopards in trees. We had two excellent sightings in one drive! Again, TJ had excellent knowledge of the animals and also gave us some very interesting information on Bushman practices and traditions.
We had two very small criticisms of Xaranna, one that we saw very little of the manager Johan at this camp (but possibly influenced by seeing the management at Sandibe regularly) and the second was that Xaranna felt to us a bit too much like a Boutique hotel in the bush. Although most people would find this wonderful (and don't get us wrong, it was), but it somehow lost the 'soul' of what we understand Africa to be about.
Overall, we had a wonderful stay here and all the staff were very professional and friendly. We thoroughly enjoyed our last evening when all the staff came out and sang and danced. We hope they did well at the &Beyond Choir Contest.
Expert Africa comments
Lucille, the sales manager for Xaranna, replied:
"It warms my heart to hear that you had such a delightful & interactive stay at Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp. From the feedback you provided for Sandibe Safari Lodge and Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp I can see that our colleagues in Botswana have managed to touch your soul and hopefully have captured your imagination.
I also wanted to thank you for your constructive feedback with regards to the "feel" of Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp. We value all feedback, as it is only through sharing your thoughts and experiences that we can hope to achieve perfection. We look forward to welcoming you back to Africa in the not too distance future.
I wanted to pass your support onto the choir at Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp and I was advised that the Sing for Life competition has been postponed till approx. July 2010.'
The Delights of the Delta
This was our first experience of an &Beyond camp and we were impressed.
The accommodation at Xaranna is extremely comfortable and we were very well looked after by Carl, Melody and the team. Some of the facilities on offer are not of particular interest to us – eg air conditioning and resident masseuse – but no doubt are to other guests; but we took advantage of – and really liked – touches such as the cold box of drinks and “gym in a box” in each chalet. The cuisine was, in our view, above average – especially afternoon tea which we thought was nicely balanced and very well presented; excellent coffee too.
The main aim of our stay was birds and in Rams we were guided by a man who clearly knows his avians . He was ably assisted by a first-rate tracker, Master. The bird life alone was well worth the trip, highlights including Pel's Fishing Owl, Verreaux's Eagle Owl, a Bataleur at very close range, Wattled Cranes, Green Pigeons and various Kingfishers. Add to that lions, a leopard, a wonderful serval with her cub in broad daylight and it is clear that this was a very rewarding three days.
In conclusion, we would have no hesitation recommending Xaranna and we are certainly minded to look to other &Beyond camps on future visits to Africa.
Xaranna Okavango Delta Lodge review
Sorry didn't go there we just didn't want to leave Nxabega.
Only put average above because the form would not let us continue any further.