Slated to open early October 2020, the rebuilt Xigera (say “Kee-jera”) in the Moremi Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango Delta plans to break from the traditional game-lodge experience timeline.
Twelve fully air-conditioned suites are built on two islands with each designed to maximise the views, the idea is that simply being in residence will provide remarkable wildlife experiences. And, for those who knew the previous incarnation, the good news is that the sand-pit walkway to highlight which animals have visited during the night will also be a feature in the new build.
The concession, entrusted by the Botswana government to Red Carnation Hotels, will exceed that country’s already stiff environmental expectations and restrictions on lodge operators. Botswana sets the high-bar for conservation in Southern and Eastern Africa.
For the Tollman family, custodians of the Travel Corporation and Red Carnation Hotels, this lodge represents a life-long dream to have their own safari lodge. Speaking via webinar recently, Vicki Tollman said “We have a passion for the wilderness. We were early investors in Wilderness Safaris and when my father first visited Xigera it left an impression as one of the most beautiful places. We have spent all our passion, life and hospitality experiences in making this unique,” she says.
Helmed by veteran pilot, wilderness and game management expert, Mike Myers, Xigera will provide tailored experiences for guests 12-months of the year on both land and water. And, different from the usual, will not run the early-morning wake-up, game drive, brunch, afternoon game-drive-dinner sequence but rather focus on a more gentle, guest-centric routine.
Although spa and fitness centres are standard at top-end lodges, there is a special focus here and purpose-designed wellness facility architected by Anton de Kock, who headed the design for the lodge, with treatments designed to Calm, Purify and Restore.
Significant investment in energy and waste management includes solar, Tesla batteries and above-ground water-treatment plant that will sanitise wastewater and make it suitable for irrigation. Lodge tap water will be good to drink although they will also have their own glass-bottled water and continue the company’s focus on avoiding single-use plastic. Along with their own B/Africa amenities range, the lodge will use Tata Harper’s farm-to-face range.
Guests staying three days and more will be able to access the Baobab – an eight-meter platform designed for meals and even outdoor sleep-outs, high above the floodplains.
Water-based experiences include the traditional mokoro but with glass-bottoms and boats with swivel chairs for 360-degree views above and below.
Seven game-drive vehicles, four of which are four-seaters, will be used for land-exploration. Walking safaris, fishing trips outside the reserve, photographic and star-gazing opportunities will be offered.
The Oyster Box exec chef Kevin Joseph promises cuisine, “focussed on flavour and not fuss with traditional African dishes and Braai (BBQ) nightly.”
Red Carnation’s Southern African chief, Michael Nel will oversee the lodge along with The 12 Apostles, Bushmans Kloof and The Oyster Box properties.
For more details please visit Xigera