Xakanaxa: Our full report
In the north east of the public area of Moremi Game Reserve, Xakanaxa is a traditional-style camp located ...... in one of the most beautiful areas of the Okavango Delta. The whole camp is shaded by Kigelia and leadwood trees overlooking the Xakanaxa Lagoon. The game viewing in this area has historically been very good.
From the reception area at the entrance to Xakanaxa, where there is a small curio shop, a short pathway leads around a well-maintained lawn to the camp’s main area. Constructed of local timber, reed and thatch, this is raised on stilts to maximise the views over the lagoon in front. The lounge area, decorated in deep reds, has a couple of seating areas with very comfortable chairs, a small library and a help-yourself bar. The front opens onto an expansive deck which in turn leads to an open-sided dining area. Here you'll dine at one of two long tables beneath an impressive lantern-lit chandelier.
Jutting out over the lagoon is a central fireplace, shaded by a giant jackalberry tree and surrounded by very comfortable deckchairs. This is a great place to relax during the afternoons or enjoy a couple of pre- or post-dinner drinks.
There are watery views from a small plunge pool, too, set on the edge of the lagoon with a shaded sala and a number of loungers. While this can't be beaten for location, those in search of exercise might be drawn instead to the much larger swimming pool at the side of the main reception area. Xakanaxa has 12 traditional Meru-style tents, which were rebuild in early 2020, and all stand on raised wooden decks with verandas overlooking the lagoon. They're fairly close together, so it is sometimes possible to hear your neighbours, but a reed fence between each ensures that you won't be able to see them. Each tent is themed with an animal found in or around the Okavango Delta and has a colour scheme to match; on our last stay, prior to the room rebuild, there was an iron sculpture of a crocodile outside our tent, and matching crocodile fittings in the bathroom. Large, sliding mesh doors lead inside, revealing wooden floors with a large oriental rug, mesh windows with roll-down flaps, and twin beds or a double with brown leather headboards. A couple of suede ottomans are at the foot of the beds. There's a writing desk (with a flask of fresh water and ice) and some lounge chairs. Every tent also has a free-standing fan and an electronic safe, and hot-water bottles are provided on cold nights between May and July. Beside the bed there are battery-operated reading lights and a plug point for charging electrical equipment.
At the back of each tent through a connecting door is a large en-suite bathroom with a hot shower, a stone bowl basin and a flushing toilet – all partially open to the elements. Dressing gowns, soaps, shampoo and body lotion are provided, and there is a hairdryer in every tent. Activities at Xakanaxa include game drives during the day in open 4WD safari vehicles, and boat cruises to the lagoons. Mokoro trips, however, have been suspended indefinitely in all of the camps along the Moremi Game Reserve’s Mopane Tongue area, as we learned on our last visit in September 2016.
Motorboat trips are an ideal way to explore the large, adjacent Xakanaxa Lagoon and its surrounding channels – an area that is especially good for birding in the spring and summer months, when the migrants are breeding.
Both game viewing and birding are very good in the Moremi Game Reserve, though unlike in the private concessions of the Delta, night drives and walking safaris are not allowed, and game vehicles may not drive off the tracks – even if interesting game is spotted further away. This is particularly irksome in the green season, when the grass is still quite high. Do also be aware that you are likely to see other vehicles while on a game drive.
On a previous visit to Xakanaxa in May, the game seen in camp was nearly as worthy of comment as the game outside. A bushbuck had taken up semi-residence in camp, taking advantage of the juicy grass and relative safety from the many lion in the area. Hippo could be seen in the lagoon and were frequent visitors around the camp at night. Within the reserve, it was rutting season at the time, and we watched some male impala who were fighting amongst themselves for control of the females. The birdlife around Xakanaxa both from the boat and on land was superb, and we managed to track down a female leopard, too.
Xakanaxa aims to have no more than six guests per game-drive vehicle, but when the camp is busy they can take up to nine. Private vehicles and specialist guides can be arranged, subject to availability and for an additional charge.
This makes Xakanaxa a very good option, particularly for those wanting a friendly, well-established camp with a less restrictive price tag then many of the camps in Botswana during the ‘peak’ dry season.
Although we're always slightly hesitant about using camps within the national parks because of the number of self-drive vehicles around, and the restrictive park rules, Xakanaxa is an old favourite of ours and very well run. As long as you accept that there are likely to be more vehicles within the park than in one of the Okavango Delta’s private reserves, it is a great option for high densities of wildlife – particularly during the dry season.
- Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- Two to three nights are ideal at Xakanaxa.
- The flight by light aircraft to Xakanaxa airstrip takes around 25 minutes from Maun or an hour from Kasane, followed by a 10–15-minute transfer by game vehicle to camp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We were unable to eat at Xakanaxa Camp on our last visit in September 2016, but on our previous stay in 2014 the food overall was good. With advance notice, the camp can cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements.
Before heading out on the morning activities, a light breakfast of cereal, yoghurt, french toast and fresh fruit is served, alongside tea, coffee and a selection of juice.
You’ll return from the morning activities to brunch. During our stay this consisted of delicious fish cakes, a vegetable casserole, broccoli and mixed walnut salad, red-cabbage salad, and a hot breakfast of bacon, sausages and mushrooms with eggs cooked to order, plus freshly baked cinnamon bread, fresh fruit and a cheese platter.
For afternoon tea, just before the start of the afternoon activity, we were offered homemade lemonade and iced tea, together with mini tomato-and-cheese pizza slices and a chocolate and coffee cake. For a guest who was gluten intolerant the camp had made a savoury gluten-free muffin and there was fresh cut fruit.
Dinner is served after the afternoon activity. We enjoyed an unusual but very tasty tuna triangle starter with freshly baked bread. For the main course, there was a choice of lamb shank or butter chicken, with cauliflower cheese, couscous, roast potatoes and stuffed peppers. To finish there was a chocolate mousse, which was a little disappointing, and a cheese platter.
- Wildlife safaris
- Xakanaxa Camp is right in the middle of the Xakanaxa area of the Moremi Game Reserve, one of the best areas for wildlife safaris in Botswana. With excellent densities of game and birdlife, the only drawback is that you will often have to share game sightings with other vehicles.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Xakanaxa welcomes families with children of six years and older, who are allowed on game activities.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Minimum age six
- Special activities & services
- Xakanaxa does not have a family tent, but for children aged 5–12, an extra bed can be put into a double room. A triple room for adults is not permitted.
- Generally recommended for children
- While there are no special activities to keep children entertained, the camp has a friendly, laid-back feel, so could be a great option for those travelling with teenagers, provided that they have a genuine interest in wildlife and nature.
- Xakanaxa is on the water's edge and is very open, with dangerous big game wandering through regularly, so parents must take full responsibility for supervision of their children at all times.
- Power supply notes
- Each tent has a plug point for charging electrical equipment.
- There is no phone coverage or internet access at Xakanaxa. All communication by the camp is done by radio to Maun. The camp has a satellite phone for emergency use only.
- TV & radio
- There is no television or radio at Xakanaxa.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The camp uses a reverse osmosis machine to filter the water from the Delta. All the tents have plumbed hot and cold running water for showers, and flushing toilets.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest doctor is in Maun. Management and guides are first-aid trained and medical evacuation is available in case of emergencies. In addition to this, a mobile clinic frequents the area, provided by the government.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests are escorted to their tents after dark as dangerous wildlife is known to wander through the camp. 'Fog horns' are provided in the tents, to summon help in case of emergency.
There is a three-strand electric fence around the back of the camp. This is designed purely to keep elephants out of the camp as they can be destructive to the trees as well as dangerous.
- Fire safety
- Each tent has a fire extinguisher.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full complimentary laundry service is included.
- No exchange facilities are offered at Xakanaxa. There are small safes in all the tents.
- Accepted payment on location
- MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted (with a surcharge); Diners and Amex are not. Cash payments may be made in the form of South African rand, GB sterling, US dollars, euros and Botswana pula.
Other lodges in Moremi Game Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.