Reviews of Xakanaxa
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Sister camp to Moremi - 10 minutes drive. Situated on the banks of the lagoon with far reaching views of the savannah. Comfortable lodge. Same area used as Moremi for game drives and water trip. As with all D&DS camps, same friendly and welcoming attitude of staff. While there it was Mary's Birthday which I had previously mentioned to our guide and so at dinner a huge cake was presented with all the staff singing Happy Birthday - a real treat - much appreciated!
D&DS will be refurbishing some of the chalets and have mentioned 3 items for consideration -
1) the space between the chalets is on the small side and there are existing tall wooden side screens but they don' extend far enough; from your own veranda you can see the decks of your neighbours which is not the case of other camps so the screening needs to be extended.
2) The shower/washing/toilet area has very poor lighting (a small bank of LED's) which is badly positioned (above the entrance door) and totally obscured when the door is closed!
3) Also unlike other camps there is no tea making facility.
Excellent birdwatching opportunities, none of big 5 seen.
Accommodation very comfortable and food good. On the last evening we were treated to a private table and had a musical introduction to the meal and a celebration cake. That was a lovely gesture.
We would have rated the camp average to good had it not been for the following:
Our guide Ken drove over a log on the path and it flew up and hit me on the forehead. It bled profusely and thanks to the advice of a fellow Italian guest ice was applied and after cleaning the wound with Betadine liquid the guide put a bandage on it. When we returned to the camp the management team had little idea of how to proceed. The wound had stopped bleeding and they applied some Betadine cream to some gauze which they assured me would prevent the dressing sticking and bandaged it again. The only plasters that were available were finger sized strips which were too small.
In the late afternoon we went back to remove the bandage. The gauze had stuck to the wound and in removing it it bled again. The Italian guest came to help and had a colloidal silver spray which he expertly used to stop the bleeding. Being concerned as it was a head injury we would have liked some medical advice from a trained person but the camp seemed unable/unwilling to provide this.
That evening Bruce contacted Expert Africa by email as we could not contact our insurers for lack of phone signal. Then the next day the camp management were in touch with a doctor who asked them to measure my blood pressure. They were unfamiliar with the equipment and only got a reading with the help of another of the Italian guests! The staff should be better trained in first aid and should have access to better resources.
Expert Africa comments
Both Expert Africa and the camp owners were very sorry to hear about the accident at the camp and that these travellers didn't feel confident in the medical abilities of the team at the camp.
The camp has assured us that they were in regular radio contact with the company doctor throughout. Clearly, though, this wasn't communicated to the traveller, who at the time didn't have great confidence in the in the team's first aid abilities. The camp are very sorry indeed about this, because they take such situations very seriously. They tell us that after the accident, they offered to fly the traveller to Maun to see a doctor, but the offer was declined. The traveller doesn't recall this offer, so we've made it clear to the camp that this needed to be communicated better. That's also why Expert Africa was pleased that the travellers got in touch with us straight away. We were able to assist with arranging for a medical professional to visit the traveller at their next camp, and make sure everything was ok.
The camp has taken this situation and feedback very seriously. As a direct result, the camp operator has assured us that they have made physical visits to Camp Xakanaxa post the accident. They've done a full stock take on the equipment, liased with their company doctor, acquired full and detailed feedback, and they have carried out a full audit on the first aid qualifications of the camp managers.
Another fine lodge, and different which is of course why we are moving around.
Our guide Baams was particularly delightful. We learned about his work to overcome and invasive weed in the water. In these large, sparsely populated areas, the skill of the guide is paramount in your experience.
The "tent" is in fact quite comfortable. There are baboons wandering in the camp which is great fun.
Xakanaxa Camp-Arrived by Boat
We arrived from Kwara by water transfer, which was a unique experience. The setting was inviting and our room comfortable.
Our guide, Water, was an experienced hand. As we were in a Reserve, he had no tracker. On our first drive he heard an impala give a warning cry and followed that up by finding a lion in the grass. Amazing.
On a boating trip, we were with four very serious photographers. We found ourselves in the way. We don't think they expected joiners. We were also part of their group the following morning. We did cramp their style. I think allowances could be made. Our Guide did the best he could.
Other than that glitch, we did enjoy our experience at Xakanaxa Camp and left with fond memories.
We loved Xakanaxa although we could never properly pronounce it. The location is beautiful and the facilities are amazing. Lettie manages it all with a natural grace and style that made us feel right at home.
We loved the addition of water activities on top of the game drives, and particularly found the visit to the roosting spot of the herons and cormorants to be fascinating. Only the marabou storks were nesting since it was early in the year but it was still great to see all the birds flying in for the night.
Our guide Water was amazing. We came upon a group of trucks that had seen two lions go into the tall grass but hadn't seen them come out. While the other trucks were driving around to the other side of the grassy area Water turned off our truck and just listened. He heard the lions in the grass and backed up the truck and...there they were!! I never heard a thing.
great location and views. Excellent games drives and guideRead more about the whole safari
There is one thing I would like to bring to your attention and to understand. There was a leopard sighting on our last day. At least 3 and possibly 4 vehicles arrived on the scene. I felt uncomfortable because at one point the animal was boxed in by vehicles on three sides with only one side open and I felt the animal was stressed. I would have thought that frightened and cornered animals are more likely to attack and I wondered what the official view would be on the situation I have described.
We were very happy with the way our driver handled a large aggressive male elephant blocking our path on the road back to Maun. When the animal came right up to our vehicle the driver turned off the engine. We waited in silence for a few minutes and when he turned it back on again the elephant showed signs of backing off slightly the driver then drove towards him and the elephant then turned around and ran off. Scarey but the driver seemed to know how to handle the situation.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa responded to these travellers and included the following comment: We are sorry that you were put in a situation that you werent comfortable with during the leopard sighting from Xakanaxa Camp. We certainly do not condone any activity that puts wildlife under stress from humans; in fact we are actively against operations that dont show respect to wildlife. In our experience the safari guides from the safari camps that we recommend are excellent at reading the body language of animals, and ensuring that the animals they are viewing are not put under any unnecessary stress. The wildlife in safari areas which see regular visitors are usually very habituated to vehicles, and tend to ignore them as nothing more than the occasional nuisance. There are more vehicles allowed in Botswanas national parks, such as Moremi Game Reserve, than in the countrys private reserves and so it can be harder for the park rangers to police drivers conduct, especially the conduct of self-drivers or visiting tour operators that arent based at any safari camps located in the area. But again its been our experience that the safari guides from the camps we recommend have a passion for the conservation of the area they operate in, and if they find others abusing the area or the wildlife they are quick to pull them up on it, or report the situation to the park rangers.
I loved the furniture and lighting (gas lamps and candles) which blended in with the natural surroundings.
The food was excellent and plentiful, staff friendly and I loved the communal dinner in the evenings with interesting conversation with people from all over the world.
We were also delighted with the amount of wildlife we encountered.
Xakanaxa is lovely lodge with beautifully landscaped grounds located on a waterway in the Delta.
However, I felt the staff was not as friendly as in the other camps I stayed in. My first guide Ollie was not very informative. Luckily, I was put with another guide named Water on the second day, as the other four people I was with decided not to go out the next day on a game drive. The food was great.
All in all I would not return to this camp if I ever come back.
Xakanaxa Camp experience
This experience was moderately good. Our guide was not at the same level as the guides we had in other locations. I was a bit disappointed that we did not get to see the same number and variety of animals that we saw in other places. However, we did see lions and a leopard, which we had not seen previously, so that was really wonderful. Our guide was not the one to locate these animals, but was able to take us to see them when other guides located them. We did quite a lot of driving with limited observation of much beyond elephants. He also did not every try to identify any of the birds we were seeing.
The camp itself was very luxurious. It was larger than any of the other places we stayed with more guests and staff. With that many people it was difficult to develop relationships. The camp staff might have been able to help by introducing the visitors to each other. In addition, I did not know what most of the staff did. We were not introduced to most of the them.
It was very exciting to see all the baboons that ranged the camp, including the one that came into our bathroom and played with and stole one of the towels. We also had other animals come through the camp including a hippo hiding in the bushes one evening. And we could hear the hippos and other animals during the night, which was very exciting.