Reviews of Xigera
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great experience but felt substantially more "corporate" than the other places we visited. Fantastic location and very good facilities with beautiful "tents" and excellent food. The best part of the stay however was attributable to our fabulous guide, Wyse, who was exceptionally knowledgeable, skilled and provided exceptional experiences in the delta.
Actually enjoyed the Boma - really enjoyable without being kitsch!
(Found the singing from staff as we arrived rather embarrassing.)
Although game drives were available while we were at Xigera, we had chosen it so that we could focus on water based activities and it proved a wonderful and tranquil contrast to the land based and slightly more frenetic activities we had enjoyed at Little Kwara and Lebala.
Our guide Dips was unfailingly patient and accommodating of our (extremely amateurish) attempts to photograph at least some of the prolific birdlife we encountered, and thanks to him we were also lucky enough to see a sitatunga during one of our excursions.
The setting and decor of the camp was lovely and the whole operation very polished; one occasionally had the sense of being completely surrounded by staff eager to help and make one feel welcome, but on the whole this wasn't necessarily a very bad thing!
Great place for a wet safari
Lovely setting, great people and they've obviously got things running fluidly here. From the airstrip pickup and subsequent boat ride to the lodge, to the food and rooms themselves, it all was top quality and went to plan. Our room was wonderful; a treehouse chalet overlooking the lagoon complete with all mod cons as well as nightly turn downs etc. There's a swimming pool too, lovely place with sun loungers overlooking the river.
Food was plentiful, lovely and in a very scenic restaurant overlooking the small channel. Three course evening meals including local specialities such as Kudu as well as brunches and high tea. Boat trips and Makoros are what it's all about - enjoyed the Okavango and its scenery, it's tiny frogs and wonderful birdlife. With guides Des and Keem we were able to find Pel's Fishjng Owl and they both knew the wildlife and the history of the data very well.
We loved it. The cabin was comfortable, and we saw lots of birds, and some game from our back porch.
The staff were very nice, and guides were excellent.
The outdoor Boma dinner our last night was fabulous. Singing and dancing were marvelous.
Mokoro rides at Xigera
Surprisingly low water levels as the summer rainfall was very sparse, resulted in no boat rides however the mokoros could still get through the waterways so a partial water camp.
Must be an excellent location when the waters are high, the wildlife was excellent and we saw the elusive Pell’s fishing owl. I would consider returning to see the lodge in it’s watery version.
Expert Africa comments
It does indeed seem that Botswana is in for a particularly interesting year in 2015. As this traveller experienced, there has been significantly lower than average rainfall which has certainly meant that wildlife viewing has been very mixed in some areas. Places where we would expect it to be great at this time of year, aren’t seeing as much as we would expect, and others, where we possibly wouldn’t expect it, seem to be producing some interesting sightings. The camps in the Delta are certainly struggling with very low water levels in the early part of 2015. Hopefully as the flood waters arrive from the Angolan highlands, which are said to have been good this year, unlike Botswana's rain fall, the water levels will hopefully pick up somewhat making these more watery areas more true to form!
Delightful camp , feels deep in the delta ! Staff all welcoming and friendly and working well as a team . The cultural evening held on Mondays was a joyous musical memorable time in the boma. They all love singing and dancing . I know they do it every Monday but they really seemed to enjoy doing it .
Tents very comfortable and we enjoyed our walkway to it . Food delicious and again the chefs took pride in their work. Tables all looked so attractive in the evenings with lots of effort put in the the napkin designs which we all loved
Our guide Onks was delightful , patient , knowledge and good fun . We loved our mokoro trips with him and Brendan the poler. We were very lucky with a leopard sighting and also many birds . We knew it was not an area for lots of big mammals.
Re water levels , although we were there in the rainy season the big rains that fall in Angola and take many months to reach the further reaches of the delta had not arrived so water levels were still low . ie the huge lagoon I front of our tent was totally dry .
There was enough for the mokoros but not the boats. We therefore had the majority of the game viewing in the jeeps .
Because Xigera is advertised as a water camp we probably expected more water based activities. Having said that I know water levels /climate can be unpredictable. We chatted lots to the guides about the best times to come for a truly water experience and it's June July time .
Having made the mistake / misunderstanding 2 yrs ago when we stayed at Sandibe and there was no water for mokoros at all then and we were a bit disappointed we had hoped to get it right this time . I think it would be really helpful in your literature if you explained clearly the different seasons and what you can expect in each one . My mistake this time was assuming that the rainy season would mean masses of water, but actually it all fills up later on.
No problem really , we will just have to return later in the season for the really water experience!!
Thought Kanana was excellent but this was even better. First class management and all staff. Great fun with excellent guides. Great food and wine. Sundowner experience in the bush was superb!
Xigera Visit 3
Another of our firm favourites in the Delta, Xigera manages to overcome most of the disadvantages of a large camp by being stunningly beautiful and a feast of birds. We had not been there at this time of year before and were disappointed that the water levels were too low to allow the usual all day boat cruise to Chief's Island or to visit some of the more remote lagoons and narrow channels.
Rather like the new Tubu, the management presence was rather confusing with a general manager and a number of deputies who seemed to carry out shifts of front of house duties. However, the camp runs reasonably well despite the odd failure to replace a missing wash basin plug or to carry out requests to light anti mosquito coils at turn down.
Our guide Dips was delightful and clearly a mover and shaker in the camp entertainment programme. A highlight was the discovery of an adult Pels Fishing owl plus juvenile in camp and photographable. A 12 year mission fulfilled! In contrast to the Tubu private group we coincided with a party of 6 Australian guests with their private birding guide. They were charming, joined in and made no negative impact whatsoever.
Interestingly, the general manager Johann told us that he was asking Wilderness to reduce the number of rooms at the camp as he feels the current 10 is 2 too many! We had a wonderful time at Xigera which included exuberant Independence Day celebrations. Huge fun and we are sure to return.
I thought it was excellent.
As a birdwatcher I had the opportunity to see two endangered species and many bird species that were totally new to me.
Chilling out at Xigera
Megan (Expert Africa) suggested Xigera as our last camp and how glad we were to have taken her advice. The only thing we would have changed was to have stayed an extra night!
After two weeks of 'African Massages' driving over rutted sandy tracks the smooth and tranquil boat trips were a blessing and the magnificent scenery a joy to behold. Malachite Kingfishers & African Fish Eagles abound, African & Lesser Jacanas, Long-toed Lapwings, Goliath Herons and not forgetting the majestic Pel's Fishing Owl. Dips, our private guide, kept a watch out for this beautiful bird and on our final morning we were rewarded with a perfect sighting (in camp), out in the open in glorious light by tent 9. Photos galore! Thank you Dips for your patience, your company and your expertise in giving us wonderful photo/viewing opportunities of all the birds above ( plus many more), chilling out with hippos and stunning sunsets as a backdrop to our nightly sundowners. Alas, the elusive sitatunga eluded us ........... yet another reason to return!
We did experience a short mekoro ride poled by perfectly balanced Solly but unfortunately the low down seating arrangement put too much strain on my husband's back after his recent injury. We did however, get close and personal with an exquisite painted reed frog so we were not disappointed.
Our room (no.8) was about a 4 to 5 minute walk along the raised boardwalk, close enough to numbers 9 & 10 to check out the Pel's Fishing Owl 's favourite perch, and far enough away from the main camp to make an interesting walk watching out for the resident elephants - a welcome road block. The camp was very well laid out and we particularly liked the 'star deck'.
The management and staff at Xigera were a credit to Wilderness Safaris - always helpful, efficient and friendly - with special mentions to Claudine, Rose and Kenny. Cheers Kenny for making the best margaritas in the whole of Botswana! Food was delicious with the most choice of all the camps we visited, the traditional night in the boma a lot of fun and our romantic meal by the pool a wonderful surprise.
A fitting end to a fantastic holiday and yet again a camp/company we would highly recommend and would return to at a moment's notice.