Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge

Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
9 safari suites
Children
Best for 12+
Open
All year

Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge has nine well-designed rooms spread across an island within the seasonal and permanent waterways of the Okavango Delta. It shares 62,000 private acres of channels, lagoons, floodplains and islands with its sister lodge Xaranna. This upmarket lodge offers mokoro excursions, motorboat trips (water levels permitting) and guided walks. Game drives are also offered, though the scope of dry land is limited, particularly when the Delta floods between March and September. It’s not typically a prolific game viewing area, but a place to relax, indulge and experience the natural beauty of the Delta’s waterways.

To reach Xudum’s remote location guests are introduced to the area and some of its wildlife on an approximately one and a half to two hour transfer by 4WD vehicle and boat from the nearest airstrip. Alternatively a short helicopter transfer can be arranged at additional cost.

Overlooking a permanent lagoon, the lodge’s central lounge and dining areas are spaced over multi-layered wooden decks. They are open to the front, designed to maximise the surrounding views. The kitchen is a feature of the dining deck; integrated to invite guests to interact with the chefs should they wish. To one side of the main area is the jetty where the mekoro and boats are kept and to the other is a curio shop stocked with an assortment of crafts, books and jewellery.

The nine safari suites are reached along sandy pathways either side of the main area. Built of wood, over split levels, each has a bedroom and lounge area, en-suite bathroom with large bath, an indoor and outdoor shower, a lower deck with plunge pool and an upper deck with views over the waterways. This lofty hideout has a sala (day bed) that can be made up at night for a sleep-out under the stars.

The main bedroom has a large bed with overhanging mosquito net, bedside tables and lamps, ceiling fan, air-conditioning/heating system, a lounge area, writing desk and international 220 volt plug points. Steps lead down to the bathroom which is open-plan other than a separate toilet. There’s plenty of shelving and hanging space where you’ll also find a digital safe, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, sarong, insect repellent and spray, torch, umbrella and exercise bag (with gym mat, skipping rope and weights). A range of toiletries is provided including body wash and scrub, conditioner, shampoo, body lotion, bath salts and bath oil. At the entrance of the suite there’s a ‘minibar’ of sorts with snacks, drinking water and a chalkboard to note your hot and cold beverage orders. Cold drinks can be kept in the cool box provided.

Recycled and natural materials feature throughout the rooms and main areas, combining earthy and industrial designs to stylish effect. Recycled wood and metals add texture to backdrops, used tyres create an interesting base for coffee tables and rustic oil drums function as bar tops. Complementing the theme is a colour scheme of rich browns and black.

The level of service and guiding during our latest visit in June 2012 was of the typically high standard we’ve come to expect of &Beyond lodges such as Xudum. The staff were enthusiastic, friendly and extremely attentive. It’s hard not to feel spoilt when assigned with your own housekeeper and butler.

Guided activities at Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge include mokoro excursions, boat trips (water levels permitting), day and night game drives in open 4WD safari vehicles and walks on the islands with an armed guide. Spinner fishing (catch and release) is offered between March and December. For an additional cost, scenic helicopter flights and massages can also be arranged. There is a massage menu and pricelist in each suite which details the options, from foot to full body massages.

The beauty of this wilderness area is in its captivating scenery, explored by a network of channels, lagoons and floodplains. The lush environment is home to a wide variety of birdlife and vegetation, as well as aquatic loving animals like painted reed frogs, hippos, reedbuck and red lechwe. On the islands you may see warthog, baboon, leopard, steenbok and small herds of impala, zebra, tsessebe, wildebeest and kudu. However, those expecting to have regular and plentiful sightings of big game are likely to be disappointed. Big game such as elephant, giraffe, lion and buffalo does seasonally migrate through this area but there isn’t sufficient dry land to support stable populations.

Our view

Xudum is a beautifully crafted lodge set in a very pretty area of the Okavango Delta. Although there is a variety of wildlife to be seen here, this area has never historically been purely a game viewing destination. Don't come to Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge to search out big game, but do come for the chance to explore the scenic waterways of the Delta; for its smaller creatures and plentiful birdlife including painted reed frogs, Pel's fishing owl and malachite kingfishers; for a romantic and indulgent interlude; and for the superb accommodation and service.

Geographics

Location: Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: We recommend a stay of two nights at Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge or three nights for those wanting more time to just relax in the tranquil setting. Xudum often forms part of a trip with Sandibe Safari Lodge, and/or Nxabega Safari Camp – which are owned by the same company, &Beyond.

Directions: Xudum Delta Lodge is accessible only by light aircraft; about 25 minutes from Maun or 1½ hours from Kasane, followed by a combination 4WD vehicle and boat transfer of about 1½-2 hours, depending on wildlife sightings on the way. Helicopter transfers directly to the lodge can also be arranged at additional cost.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: '&Beyond' – which is the new name, launched in November 2008, for what used to be 'CC Africa' – and was formally known as 'The Conservation Corporation Africa'.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The quality and variety of food during our most recent stay at Xudum was of the same excellent standard we’ve enjoyed here previously. The interactive kitchen added a fun element to the meals and the chefs are happy to cater for any dietary requirements and private meals on request.

Before setting out on the morning activity, we were served a fulfilling breakfast of muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit; toast, cold meats and cheese; tea, coffee and juice; and our choice of eggs with bacon, cooked to order.

Lunch was a delicious selection of butternut bread with blue cheese dip, sticky grilled pork ribs, melanzane (aubergine, tomato, mozzarella and parmesan bake), salad greens with cashew nuts and grapefruit, and rice salad with tomato and kalamata olives.

Too tempting to miss, the assortment of goodies at afternoon tea included vegetable samosas, blue cheese on home-made crackers, chocolate and peanut brownies and fresh fruit. This was accompanied by iced tea and coffee.

Dinner was equally tasty, starting with minestrone soup and olive and rosemary focaccia bread. The main course was a choice of beef rump steak with sweet pepper sauce or guineafowl potjie (stew), served with mustard mashed potatoes, roasted red onions and broccoli. For dessert there was sticky ginger bread pudding and mint and pear sorbet, plus cheeses, truffles and strawberries. Yum!

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: There is a well-stocked bar and almost all the drinks are included in the price (bottled water, soft drinks, local beers, spirits and a selection of (generally) South African wines). Excluded are premium brand imported whiskies, French champagne and a selection of vintage wines.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Xudum Delta Lodge is situated on a private reserve in the Okavango Delta - a great place for enjoying the wilderness the Delta has to offer. Solo travellers will be happy to know that their stay here is without any single supplement.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Xudum.

Property’s age restrictions: For safety reasons, children aged 5 years and younger are not able to participate in the scheduled activities. At the manager's discretion, children aged 6 to 11 may join game drives and children aged 12 to 16 may participate in mokoro trips. Children under the age of 16 years are not able to join any walking activities. It may be possible to arrange a private vehicle for short drives with younger children on request.

Special activities & services: A child minder can be arranged when requested in advance and at an additional cost.

Equipment: A single bed can be added to create a triple room for a child to share with their parents. Only one triple room is permitted at the lodge at any one time.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: Usually the generator is run from one hour before guests get up until one hour after they go to bed, however it can be run overnight on request. A battery and inverter system supplies limited power (i.e. for lights) when the generator is off.

Communications: WiFi is available in the lodge’s main area for guests who have their own laptop or internet device. There isn’t a guest computer, though the lodge’s office computer can be used on request. There is no telephone or cellphone coverage. The lodge has a satellite phone to contact Maun in an emergency.

TV & radio: None

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Guides carry field kits on activities and a comprehensive first-aid kit is kept at the lodge. Both lodge managers and guides are first-aid trained. Medical evacuation to Maun can be arranged in case of an emergency.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: In case of potentially dangerous wildlife passing through this unfenced lodge, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. An alarm is provided in each room for use in case of an emergency.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each tent and in the common areas.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included.

Money: The lodge does not offer any money-exchanging facilities. Each room has a digital safe.

Accepted payment on location: MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted; Amex is not. Cash payments may be made in GB pounds, US dollars, euros, South African rand and Botswanan pula.