Set to open in January, Xigera Safari Lodge is said to be the culmination of a lifelong dream of South African-born hoteliers, the Tollman family, and their love letter to the African bush.
Xigera, pronounced ‘kee-jera’ and named after the endemic Pied Kingfisher, is a member of the Tollman-owned group, Red Carnation Hotels, which includes 15 hotels across the globe and three in South Africa – Bushmanskloof Hotel and the Twelve Apostles in the Cape, and The Oyster Box in Umhlanga.
The Xigera property lies on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and, judging from the photos, looks certain to beguile guests’ senses and stir their souls.
The lodge sleeps a maximum of 24 guests in 12 individually designed suites, including one two-bedroom family suite situated on two islands, bridged together with an extraordinary bronze lily centrepiece. Elegant, comfortable and intimate, the suites are designed to reflect the outside, each with a deck that includes an outdoor daybed with uninterrupted views over the floodplain. Design is an unusually important feature of the lodge – hand-crafted bronze elements, local artwork and artisan furniture made from natural materials blend African authenticity and high design.
The Xigera Family Suite has two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, dressing area and outdoor shower, great for travellers with children (from 12 years of age), and friends travelling together.
A strong emphasis on African art means guests will effectively stay in a ‘living gallery’ of bespoke works commissioned from Africa's most exciting young artists and craftspeople, including Adam Birch, Madoda Fani, Otto du Plessis, Stanislaw Trzebinski, and more. “Quietly surprising touches are everywhere, like the human-sized woven nests by renowned South African artist Porky Hefer, resting on decks for guests to nestle in. The pièce de résistance is a totemic firepit sculpture by blacksmith artist Conrad Hicks, holding the fire as a boma centrepiece and offering a contemporary take on the traditional boma setting,” says a release.
Dining will be from African-inspired menus, by experienced Red Carnation executive chefs, complemented by a premium list of Champagnes and wines, including hand-crafted wines from Xigera’s sister-vineyard, Bouchard Finlayson, in the Cape.
Activities include glass-bottom mokoro excursions gliding across the Delta’s waterways, a unique sleepout experience in a baobab treehouse a kilometre from the camp, spa treatments by cult-status brand Tata Harper (exclusive in Africa) and enriching game drives taking in the rich diversity of the area’s wildlife. Led by managers, bush veterans Mike and Marian Myers, a team of the most experienced guides in Botswana ensure an experience like no other.