In the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Xigera (“Kee-jera”) is a safari lodge which reinvents what it means to experience the African bush through inspired hospitality and design.
Having opened in January 2021, the Tollman family have handcrafted every aspect to beguile guests’ senses and stir their souls – from the evocative interiors to one-of-a-kind encounters. Alongside some of the most spectacular game viewing in Botswana, Xigera elevates the guest experience by offering a range of extraordinary wildlife, cultural, culinary and wellness experiences.
From exploring the Delta on a glass-bottomed canoe to overnighting in a luxurious off-grid treehouse, these experiences have been designed to immerse guests into the wilderness and to forge a close connection with the surrounding landscape.
THE BAOBAB TREEHOUSE
An under the stars sleepout experience like no other
A breakaway from traditional safari sleepouts, this unique sleepout is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. Its design has been inspired by the ancient baobab tree, a symbol of Africa, and the iconic artwork of South African artist Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef. Rising 10 meters above the floodplain, this three-story baobab offers thrilling 360-degree views, with wildlife calls drifting in through steel branches, which will slowly rust over time, becoming one with the bush. The top-level deck offers a hidden, safe perch from which to witness the magic of the bush at dusk, or sleep under the stars in an open-air bed covered by a mosquito net. Sleeping two adults, this remote off-grid escape, with no electricity, is designed to appeal to the daring, nature-loving spirit and immerse guests into the wilderness. The sleepout can be a completely personalized experience. When water-levels are high, guests can be taken via glass-bottom mokoro, gliding along the Okavango Delta’s waterways to arrive at the baobab for sundowners and supper. The baobab offers the same sumptuous comforts of the main lodge. The bedroom and bathroom spaces have canvas walls that can open up entirely to the outside environment or be zipped up for privacy. On the open-air upper deck, guests can be treated to a picnic-style supper delivered by a butler at dusk. A breakfast basket is delivered the next morning.
DISCOVER TRAILS LESS TRAVELED ON A GLASS-BOTTOM MOKORO
A unique boat experience for the Okavango – view the vibrant wildlife above and under the water
An experience unique to the Delta is a morning spent gliding along flooded channels by mokoro, the dugout canoe used by generations for transport in a region where there are many more rivers than roads. Though traditionally carved from a single tree trunk, at Xigera, the innovative glass-bottom mokoro is constructed from sturdy fiberglass, allowing for incredible views of the Delta both above and below. Pushed along silently by experienced polers, the mokoro provide the opportunity to discover the wilderness from an entirely new perspective. They are perfect for discovering the filigree of smaller channels in this vast aquatic ecosystem and catching fleeting glimpses of African pike or bright green nembwe fish. Xigera also offer motorboat excursions that allow for deeper exploration of deeper rivers and lagoons, which are home to crocodile and large pods of hippo. For keen anglers, catch-and-release fishing is also available (seasonally) just outside the Moremi Game Reserve.
THE ART & DESIGN TOUR
A living art gallery showcasing the best of African talent
Guests are able to take an immersive and insightful tour of the incredible Xigera Design Collection, conceptualized by Toni Tollman, Philip Fourie and Anton de Kock, in collaboration with award-winning South African gallery Southern Guild. It is a collection that is bold in vision and ground-breaking in its scope, the first of its kind on the continent. From the bar to the boma, the public spaces of Xigera are a living art gallery, showcasing some of Africa’s most exciting artists and artisans. Many of the pieces have been commissioned exclusively for the lodge by some of the most recognizable names in African art from Andile Dyalvane, Madoda Fani, Cecil Skotnes, Porky Hefer, Otto du Plessis and Stanislaw Trzebinski among many others. On this tour, the Xigera team will share the background and interesting stories behind some of the 76 eminent artists and craftspeople whose work is on display. Each collectible piece in this unique collection that celebrates the best in African art, culture and creativity.
Enjoy storytelling and stargazing around a totemic fire-pit sculpture
by artist-blacksmith Conrad Hicks
The deep cushions in front of the roaring campfire on Xigera’s lookout deck is the place to relax after dark to indulge in some incredible stargazing. With little or no light pollution, the clear skies above Xigera make for sensational viewing of the stars, Milky Way and planets in the expansive sky high above. Xigera’s guides are equipped with laser pointers to help point out interesting features as they share their in-depth knowledge with guests of Botswana’s stars and skies.
HELICOPTER GAME SAFARIS
Take to the skies for a birds-eye view and incredible aerial photographic opportunities
Take off directly outside the lodge on a helicopter safari to have a unique birds-eye view over the Okavango and the extraordinary flora, fauna, and wildlife that surrounds Xigera. Guests are given a headset connecting directly with the pilot, giving the unique opportunity to ask questions as guests soar over the bush or request to fly over places of interest to guarantee incredible wildlife and landscape photography shots taken from above.
Embark on a culinary adventure of different outdoor dining experiences
At Xigera, the chefs adopt an ‘anything, anytime approach’, allowing guests the flexibility to create and curate their own memorable dining experiences. Whether it’s a bush breakfast, wild picnic or ‘feet in the water’ sundowners, guests can choose what they would like to eat and when they would like to enjoy it. At the very heart of Xigera is The Boma – Blacksmith Conrad Hicks’ totemic sculpture Structure of Self. This al-fresco centerpiece is the focus point of the lodge where guests can soak up unforgettable Okavango views from the terrace. Executive Chef, Ziyaad Brown, oversees a talented team of chefs from an interactive open kitchen-dining room, creating daily menus, which take inspiration from authentic African ingredients, local traditions and signature dishes from across The Red Carnation Hotel Collection. There is a focus on balancing indulgence with lighter health-focused plates, including flavor packed vegetarian and vegan dishes. From the well-stocked wine cellar, an impressive selection of award-winning wines from across the globe are served alongside these dishes. Xigera’s extensive wine list even includes a range of vintages from Bouchard Finlayson, The Red Carnation’s own wine label from Cape Town in South Africa.
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