Reviews of Nxamaseri Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Nxamaseri Lodge review
This was an excellent spot for river activities - mainly fishing and birding. You have to drive into Botswana from Namibia and it would help if Expert Africa gave some better directions to get through the various road junctions just inside Botswana (the map shows a straight road). The staff at the border crossing were great - its little used so they like to chat to visitors! We were the 10th car that day when we left Botswana at about 2pm.
You are met at the roadside by your ranger ("Fish" in our case). You park your car in a nearby village and pay the local people to look after it. The ranger drives you and your baggage several Km to the waters edge, then you transfer to a boat which takes about half an hour to get you through dense reed beds to the island/lodge - quite an adventure in itself.
The river trips are lovely - the only disappointment is that "Fish" caught two Tiger Fish and I didn't catch any - but I can excuse him for that. For one morning we went off in a makora traditional canoe - its a bit like punting and Fish did all the work - and it was very enjoyable. Plenty of birds and hippos. I understand there are otters but we didn't see them. Fish and the lodge staff were all very helpful and friendly.
The manager (Tianne) was frankly so laid-back as to be almost horizontal. He omitted to mention the risk of the monkeys getting into the bungalow so it came as a bit of a shock to find they'd been through absolutely everything - and we found the folder that had once contained our travel documents down by the waters edge - guarded by a fairly big crocodile. When we told the manager about this - and the monkey excrement in the bathroom, he explained that "yes the monkeys are becoming a bit of a nuisance and maybe we'll try to make the room more monkey-proof". Then he yawned and wandered off.
Advice: If you visit Nxamaseri, put absolutely everything in cupboards or in zipped up suitcases. Don't let the risk of monkey-trouble put you off.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa forwarded these travellers comments to Nxamaseri Lodge, who responded with the following:
We sincerely apologise for the problems experienced by these travellers and we will ensure they are dealt with. The monkeys on the island occasionally do become as problematic as this, but it is very seldom. Please note that we do have safes in the rooms and in the office for safe-keeping of valuables and documents.
Civilisation in the middle of the swamps
Nxamaseri is located on an island so a matter of slight concern for us was to ensure we arrived at the pickup point where we were to leave our vehicle within the specified time slot. As it happened the roads are so good that travel time is predictable even from some distance away if you know the relevant distances and we arrived bang on schedule. Our vehicle was parked in a small village off the road where it was looked after. We were then taken in one of the Lodge's 4x4s to the Okavango River were we transferred with our baggage to a small boat with a wonderful introduction to the area of a 30 minute boat trip to the Lodge which is discreetly hidden among the trees on a small island.
The accommodation was amazingly luxurious for such a remote place. Food and facilities were equally attractive.
Staff were charming and our guide - called "Fish" (in English) who said he is a River Bushman was excellent and extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of the wildlife, birds, plants and animals.
Nxamaseri is especially notable for bird watchers - we saw 34 species in a day of cruising up and down the waterways between verdant islands. With hindsight this was one of the highlights of a trip involving stays at eighteen different places.
Nxamaseri : the Okavango itself !
We left Nkasa Lupala (Namibia) at 07:30 AM and reached the Nxamaseri meeting point at 13:30 on the Botswana side. The Mohembo border cross procedure was straightforward and we paid a total of 150,00 Pula for the short term permit and road safety levy fee.The drive itself was calm and easy. Although tarred, the A35 that connects Mohembo to Sehithwa is severely potholed at some stages, and as in any road in Botswana, the presence of livestock on the roads should increase our attention while driving.
At the meeting point our guide for the next two days, Adam, was already waiting for us, as we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We left our vehicle on the Nxamaseri village, which was perfectly looked after. The transfer to the lodge, was done by 4WD and boat, and was done under 20 minutes. On the way we crossed the dry channel beds, that after the rainy season are completely flooded. We could immediately sense the profusion of bird life.
The lodge itself is a water based activity lodge, on the banks of the Nxamaseri channel , a tributary of the main Okavango river. Both waterbodies are awesome to be explored. The bird life is incredible. A game drive on the dry channel beds, neighboring the Nxamaseri island is, as well, worth to explore, as we can witness the everyday rural life of the "river people" while checking for wildlife.
Although we have not seen "big game" on this part of the Okavango (we were not in the flatter Delta), we felt once again, privileged, to visit this part of the Okavango, as we had the river just for ourselves. We thank Theo and Adam for being so hospitable and for making our stay unforgettable.
Nxamaseri Lodge review
Would have been better as a one night stay probably. There is not enough activity to justify a two day stay. Breakfast is a disaster with a choice of two cereals followed up with bread or toast (if you are lucky) and instant coffee. Midday meal is pretty basic - evening meals are better. They basically cater for fisherman who go out early in the morning and return for the evening meal. They didn't seem to know what to do if you didn't want to fish. Condition of the room was pretty poor.Read more about the whole trip
Expert Africa comments
We forwarded this review to Justine, Nxamaseri's owner, who was very concerned. Justine explained that their usual front of house person was away; it seems that the stand-in did not keep on top of the breakfasts. There is usually a better spread on offer, including filter coffee.
We also chatted with this traveller to find out about the room complaints ... and the only issue that they could put their finger on was that they were not happy with a two-inch gap under the door to the chalet.
Justine apologised that this travellers' stay coincided with a group of very keen fishermen, who took up a lot of staff time and attention. She admits that none of this is an excuse for the poor breakfast, and as a result of this feedback they now have two front-of-house staff on permanently.
Nxamaseri Lodge review
Loved the river trips; interesting trip to Tsodilo hills (a long way though!). Good to eat at one big table with the rest of the guests - interesting conversations.
Our designated guide, Small, worked hard for us. Transfers to and from the lodge were an adventure in themselves. Only thing was, your directions are now somewhat out of date - there is no longer a striped pole indicating the pick-up point, but a new sign advertising the lodge about 5kms from the turn-off to Tsodilo!
Barbel Run Spectacular
Amazing journey to get here - the'jetty' for the last part of the trip just a few planks at the edge of a flooded field. We felt as if we were on an adventure - which of course we were.
Our guide 'Mr P' was brilliant - knew loads of facts, strong enough to push us through the drying river on a makoro and confident enough to suggest what we needed to see, patient enough for us to get good photos of some of the birds who were a bit too quick for us.
One suggestion - they have lovely bread at lunch and dinner so get rid of the soggy rubbery toast at breakfast and serve bread instead.
A place of refuge
Nxamaseri was a most wonderful place. We were both sorry we had not booked three nights. We were the only guests so had the undivided attention of the staff.
After all the activity of the wedding and traveling with a large group, this was a perfect place to begin our safari experience. Our guide, "Small", was wonderful, very knowledgeable, we loved being in his company. We spent two days on the river, birding and fishing, looking for other water wildlife. We saw many beautiful new birds and the fishing was good.
This lodge did sustain damage in the floods of 2010, I believe, and unless there is some attention to repair in the near future, this camp will suffer. It is something to inquire about. We did share these observations with our host.
Nxamaseri Lodge review
Perhaps the most beautiful location we stayed in during our three week trip. The papyrus, waterlillies and reedshas not been based by massess or tourists as in other places we stayed.
Adam was a great guide for our boat trips.
The only suggestion I would make, would be for a small box with some childrens books or toys eg snakes and ladders would go a long way, expecially as there is no pool etc.
Nxamaseri Lodge review
Fantastic location on an island in the Okavango panhandle. The trip from the tar road to the camp is even scenic and interesting.
We liked having a personal guide (Phoraki Ngoro "Mr. P") for the 3 days we spent here. If you missed a photo from the right angle with the right lighting (eagle plucking up a fish, for example), he will ensure that you get a second chance at the shot, including finding another fish! Great guide!
No big animals here, but plenty of birds, crocs and fish.
Communal dining makes it easy to talk to other guests, however the lodge owner does not live on site, so you have to interact with managers who tend to have a "commercial" attitude. The day trip to the Tsodilo hills was expensive and disappointing: the rock paintings are not as good as in e.g. Namibia, the bushman village is a disaster and the drive takes forever.
Nxamaseri is still an excellent place to get a feel for the Okavango delta while easily accessible by car.
We were very fortunate to meet and speak with Brad Bestling whose family retook ownership of the lodge. He is a diver and at the time was working with a film crew. A three-year research is underway studying crocodiles; it was a wonderful experience to hear tidbits about the work. You can watch a video about the research online: "Sixty Minutes: Deadly Encounter
Monday, July 16, 2012; interviewer: Liz Hayes"
Nxamaseri lodge - relax and enjoy!!
This is a fantastic place to stay. We were made to feel welcome and were looked after from the first minute to the last. We saw numerous birds (all identified for us), hippos, crocodiles and a variety of plants (with explanations of their use); we learnt to fish and gained a brief insight into the life style of people on the delta. The guide was brilliant. The mokoro trip was a fantastic experience, one of the highlights of our holiday, culminating in a close encounter with a family of hippos.
The hosts were great, the food was good, all the staff were friendly and helpful. Our nut allergy was responded to by taking nuts off the menu during our stay - much appreciated.
The rooms had enough space both inside and on the decking outside and a view different enough from the common area to provide a choice.
A great location with plenty to see and to do. Strongly recommended. This is an excellent place to explore the wide open space in and to experience the emptiness of the delta.
One small detail - the totem pole is not what you might expect if you've seen one in North America and the distance from the town to the south was not quite what the instructions said. We found the guide as much by chance.