Nxamaseri Lodge

Nxamaseri Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
7 rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (93%) From 73 reviews
Children
Best for age 8+
Open
Mar-Dec

Nxamaseri Island Lodge stanstands on an island in the Okavango Panhandle, north of the Delta – about 19km north of Sepupa, or over 37km south of Shakawe. As a top fishing destination that is also excellent for birdwatching, it offers a real experience of a deep-water Okavango area. However, as with the rest of the Panhandle, this is not a prime game-viewing area. You may catch glimpses of a sitatunga or the odd lechwe, and you're almost bound to see hippo and crocodile, but other big game is scarce.

Nxamaseri's seven brick-and-thatch chalets are built within a wonderful thick and tropical patch of riverine vegetation, which keeps them lovely and cool in the hot summer months. The bedrooms are spacious with large twin or double beds, made up with crisp white linen and down duvets, and enveloped with mosquito nets. Very comfortable!

Each chalet has an open-plan en-suite bathroom at the back of the bedroom, with a large shower behind a white organza shower curtain. The toilet is behind the wall which separates the bedroom – but there's no door so some may find this a little uncomfortable.

The chalets are open at the front, with a waist-high wall, and lead onto a wooden deck above the river. A rainproof screen can be rolled down at night, or during the day to keep the monkeys out when you're not around.

One of Nxamaseri's rooms, a little bit further away from the rest of the chalets, has the feel of a tree house. An open wooden and canvas structure, it is built on a platform amongst the trees, though as it’s an extension of the wooden walkway that runs above the island, it’s not excessively high, and access is not by ladder! The front and side of the tree house are completely open, with no railings, so you should take care and children should be supervised.

All the chalets are linked to the main area by teak platforms raised above the river, which in high-water season flows beneath.

The lounge and dining area iis a semi-circular, open-plan thatched structure. The front of the building is completely open, and has been built around a stand of jackalberry trees. In the lounge, where there’s plenty of seating space, the furniture has been handcrafted locally and the earthy décor is scattered in Botswana artwork. It's by no means ornate, but it is comfortable and offers beautiful views over the river.

Group meals are served at a beautiful long wooden table, which also has open views onto the river.
There's also a small library, complimentary tea and coffee, and a welcoming bar – although bear in mind that, unlike most Botswana camps, Nxamaseri does not include drinks in the rates.

Outside, a firepit for post-dinner drinks under the stars is set on a large patio, which in turn leads down to the wooden jetty where guests arrive by boat. Depending on water levels, you'll either have to climb out onto a muddy riverbank, or step out / climb a few steps up onto the jetty. Either way is fairly easy, and there's always a helping hand to stabilise you.

On our most recent visit in September 2013, there were plans for a swimming pool, to be completed early in 2014.

Nxamaseri's activities include boat trips, mokoro excursions, birdwatching and – especially – fishing. Tiger-fishing here is particularly good, the best time of year being August–November. Bream is best from March to June. Note, however, that fishing in the channels during the first three months of the year can be challenging, as the combination of rain and new floodwaters is said to disturb the fish, which move out to the floodplains.

The lodge also offers fly-fishing and lure/spinning fishing with top-quality equipment year round, under expert guidance at every level. Like most Okavango lodges, Nxamaseri operates a catch-and-release policy – except for the occasion bream for the dinner table. They have two large flat-bottom boats – which are stable for several people and ideal for photography.

Nxamaseri isn't a lodge for big-game safaris, but the channel is a super waterway for birdwatching. It's home to a tremendous variety of waterbirds; with rarities like skimmers, as well as a host of egrets, storks, kingfishers and warblers. On previous trips, our sightings have included jacanas, herons, fish eagles, cormorants, darters, bee-eaters and kingfishers. We have also seen a colony of nesting skimmers on the sandy bank of the river.

Quite a bit further upstream of the lodge, on the main Okavango River, there's a colony of carmine bee-eaters at a location known locally as “the red cliffs”. This is occupied from around early September to the end of December, but is probably at its best in late-September/early-October (the best time for most migrant species here).

Mokoro excursions are also possible when the water levels are high and there are suitable areas of shallow water nearby.

Away from the lodge, Nxamaseri also offers day trips to the Tsodilo Hills, Botswana's only World Heritage Site. These rise 400m above the Kalahari bush, and archaeologists say that they have been sporadically inhabited for about 30,000 years – which makes this one of the world's oldest historical sites. Exploring the marked trails to search out the paintings can take three or four hours, although a longer stay would be better.

Our view

There are several camps in the Panhandle area, but we regard Nxamaseri as by far the best of them. It is a relatively offbeat Okavango Delta lodge, where we were well looked after and made to feel very welcome. The lodge offers a good standard of accommodation and food. We recommend it to keen fisherman, birdwatchers, self-drivers, and those who want to get to the Tsodilo Hills with their exceptional collection of San rock art.

Neither Nxamaseri's creature comforts nor its game densities quite match those of most of the fly-in lodges in the Okavango Delta – but neither do its prices, which are definitely more affordable.

Geographics

Location: North-west Kalahari & Panhandle, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights here is ideal. A stay of three nights would make the Tsodilo Hills excursion possible.

Directions: Nxamaseri is approx 60km south of the Namibian border, taking around 1hr (including the border crossing time). It lies on the Shakawe–Sehitwa road, some 40km south of the town of Shakawe. We will pre-arrange a pick-up time at the signposted turn-off to the lodge, where you will leave your car (guarded) for the duration of your stay. You will then be transferred by road and boat to the camp.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: On our most recent visit to Nxamaseri, in September 2013, we found the food to be both very fresh and tasty. Breakfast is a selection of breads, cereals, fruits, and tea and coffee, as well as eggs cooked to order. Lunch is light – maybe a salad and fruit or a quiche. For dinner we tucked in to butternut soup, followed by kudu stew with mashed potatoes and lentils, and finished by a chocolate mousse; it was all delicious!

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are not included, except for tea and coffee.

Further dining info: Room service is not possible due to the presence of cheeky monkeys.

Special interests

Birdwatching: Nxamaseri's deep channel is a super waterway for birdwatching. It's home to a tremendous variety of waterbirds; with rarities like African skimmers and Lesser Jacana, as well as a host of egrets, storks, kingfishers and warblers.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana

Cultural experiences: Botswana’s only World Heritage Site, the Tsodilo Hills, are easily accessible from Nxamaseri Lodge, which offers guided and catered day trips here. Get a taste for this ancient culture, see the amazing density of historic San rock paintings and take in the stunning views.

See more ideas for Cultural experiences in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children: Nxamaseri accepts children of all ages, but children must be sensible and well behaved. Parents need to supervise their children, and childminders are not available.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.

Special activities & services: The lodge doesn't offer any activities for children.

Equipment: There are some board games in camp, and the guides can teach older children the difficult task of controlling a mokoro.

Notes: Children should be supervised at all times by their parents.

Infrastructure

Power supply notes: There is a charging station in the main area for camera batteries etc, with power 6–9.00pm when the generator is running.

Communications: There is no cellphone reception or WiFi available here.

TV & radio: None – the camp is very remote.

Sustainability

Relationships for a lifetime

Relationships for a lifetimeSituated in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Nxamaseri Lodge prides itself on its dedication to the local community. The tranquil surroundings of the indigenous forest combined with the calming river allow guests to enjoy true relaxation. This exclusive lodge features seven chalets, granting guests the opportunity to create strong bonds with the lodge staff whilst relishing in the luxury it provides.

Since its launch, the lodge’s main aim has been to protect “a living culture” and to support the local community and traditions. Projects such as the adoption of Nxamaseri Village Junior School allows the next generation to benefit from the lodge. Donations, along with visits to the school, help support the project and provide visitors with an insight into the local culture. Guests can also purchase local handcrafts in the curio shop, bestowing them a memory from a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The hiring of local people at the lodge has encouraged skill development within the Nxamaseri communities, allowing them to benefit both financially and socially. The local staff offer guests the chance to learn about their lifestyles and socialise with those of a different culture.

Other activities guests can enjoy include fly-fishing, boating, birdwatching and mokoro trips, making Nxamaseri Lodge the perfect place to discover the real Botswana.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The camp has a first-aid kit and staff are first-aid trained. Please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are no guards because the camp is very remote. Elephants and hippos sometimes come through camp.

Fire safety: The main area has fire extinguishers.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included.

Money: The lodge cannot change Namibian dollars, Zimbabwe dollars or kwacha, but other currencies are accepted (see below).

Accepted payment on location: Nxamaseri accepts cash in Botswana pula, US dollars, GB pounds and euros, plus Visa and Mastercard. No Amex or Diner’s Club cards are accepted.

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