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“A slick operator, recommended”
Review of Camp Xakanaxa

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Camp Xakanaxa
Certificate of Excellence
UK
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A slick operator, recommended”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Xakanaxa is an excellent camp, professionally run and in a great setting. We stayed 2 nights after driving in (99% fly in) and were impressed by the level of service and luxury of the place. The camp has recently had a refurb and it shows, with a great little splash pool that is right out of some Condé Nast fantasy, and the dependence on hurricane lamps and candles was a big plus in the evenings (no horrible energy saving lightbulbs here!). The camp also has a 'proper' swimming pool (bigger than most) where you can comfortably while away the lazy afternoons.

I also felt the camp was excellent value for money - it looks like the camp does its best to keep occupancy levels high, offering discounts and the like to fill the tents. Also is was 100% Batswana run, no expat white-hunter types giving the orders, which for me was a positive.

Some negatives to keep in mind before you book - there is no electricity at night, hence no electric fan - so if booking November, December you may find it a bit sticky at night. The child policy (children over 6 are allowed) means you risk having noisy kids running about spoiling the tranquillity (no children in camp during our visit however). It is in the Moremi wildlife reserve, hence no walking safaris and no night drives. It is right next to another camp and down the road from a camp site, so you will run in to other vehicles on game drives.

Finally I'll say that I the slickness of the operation does make you realise that the camp, along with most in the Delta, are safari conveyor belts, with tourists flying in and flying out, and the staff doing the same thing day in day out, doing their best to make you comfortable and your trip memorable. Recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank jqg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Sales and Marketing at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, November 21, 2012
Dear jqg,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review on your recent stay with us. We are so happy to see that you enjoyed your time with us and that you would recommend us to future travelers.

Due to Xakanaxa’s long history, Wolfgang (owner of the camp), has simply tried to keep the true African safari feel to give guests a genuine and natural safari experience. With its rustic African style, Xakanaxa blends wonderfully into the surrounding environment. The original Meru tents allow the guests to experience unobstructed views over the Delta from the comfort of their beds during the day, and allow for the sounds of Africa to embrace them into blissful slumber at night.

A number of our staff have been with us for many years and we have a large amount of return guests, who often praise our friendly and helpful staff. We like to see ourselves as a family and try to make our guests feel as part of it when they are with us. As an example, Lettie Letsile has been with Moremi Safaris and Tours since 1982, when she started in housekeeping at Tsaro Lodge. Now she is a manager at Xakanaxa Camp and we are very honoured to still have her with us. a great number of the camp staff have been looking after guests at Xakanaxa for more than ten years.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.
Kind Regards,

The team at Xakanaxa Camp
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Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
42 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed October 27, 2012

This was my first trip to the Okavango Delta and the camp was a lovely way to experience both the land and water activities that are available. The camp is very well laid out with a fantastic open lounge/dining/pool area right on the river. The tents are very well-appointed and comfortable with a big fan for comfy naps on the hot afternoons. The vehicles for game viewing are good and strong as are the guides who are very knowledgeable. The food is good - not gourmet but more like Sunday dinner with the family. It's a set menu each day (so if you have fussy or 'discerning' eaters in your group, let them know) and everyone eats together around a communal table which was perfect for me as I was traveling alone. The open 'bar' in the dining/lounge area allows you to make a cup or tea or a gin/tonic at any time. No need to find a waiter - just help yourself. The family atmosphere is evident as everyone gathers for morning coffee/tea before the 6:30 am game drives or for a glass of wine after spending an afternoon on the delta channels. Everyone soon knows each other by name and the day's experiences are shared and new friends are made. Lettie, the camp manager, keeps everything running smoothly and the camp is spotless. I would highly recommend this camp!

Room Tip: All rooms face the river but the reeds/grass are very high so you can't see the water easily. I...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank IntlTeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Manager at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Dear IntlTeacher,

Thank you for your review on your recent stay with us.

We appreciate the time taken to post your thoughts on your recent stay with us at Xakanaxa Camp as well as some great tips for future visitors.

The owner, Mr Wolfgang Burre, is one of the founding fathers of Botswana's photographic safaris. Together with the staff of Xakanaxa Camp he has endeavoured to maintain the classic safari charm that makes any journey to Xakanaxa a memorable one. And we believe that it is largely due to this that you get that “Sunday dinner with the family” feeling.

We hope to welcome you back again in the future.

Kind Regards,
The Team at Xakanaxa Camp
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Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Xakanaxa for 4 nights in September. The camp was about 2/3 full every night – I think it has 13 tents, so “full” is still a small enough crowd to share meals together, and get to know all your fellow visitors. This stay was special enough that – after years of travel and using TripAdvisor – I am finally motivated to share my experience. Shame on me for waiting so long.

The Camp: Tents are a few meters away from the Khwai river, part of the Okavango Delta, and your private back porch offers views over an endless ocean of reeds. An open-air covered dining room and a lounge are built atop a wooden boardwalk on the river’s edge. There are several large patio areas next to the water, including a large circular porch on stilts out over the water. The porch is filled with comfy chairs and an iron fire pit in the middle, which blazes away before and after dinner, while the Milky Way pours stars in the river. One night, a hippo bobbed past just one meter beside and below us. There are two places to get wet during the day: a small infinity plunge pool looks over the river, but it looked too cold to experiment in mid-September. Instead, we swam every afternoon in the larger pool; cold at first but tolerable in the middle of the day and with room to exercise.

The Staff: I think guests are outnumbered 2:1 by camp staff; it takes a lot of people and organization to pamper you in such a remote location. Everybody we dealt with was friendly and relaxed – not obsequious and not neglectful. I think the Xakanaxa staff all follow the lead of the manager, Lettie, who gracefully greets guests as they return from game drives, or at meals. One evening before dinner, we were treated to a surprise 20-minute singing and dancing show. Most of the staff participated, and we were impressed.

Living with the Animals: The camp is full of wildlife, too. Several small bushbucks wander around all day and night, a water monitor paraded through camp around lunchtime every day, and a very small croc named Popcorn naps away the afternoon next to the lounge. Giant trees provide protection and food for foraging birds; I spotted several species inside the camp that we didn’t find on game drives. Barbets and chats try to raid the human lunch leftovers. Many trees in the camp have name tags, which I appreciated. I spotted a genet under our porch two different evenings.

The Tents: Our room was small, and tidy, with a comfortable bed, and an open-air shower. It was rustic, but full of carved and wicker furniture and some wood and iron handicrafts. There’s no heat or A/C; trees provide shade and a water-drip on the roof cools the room during afternoon siesta-time. You will likely need a siesta nap, since game drives start at dawn and dinner finishes around 10pm. During the day, tents are powered so we could recharge batteries. After dinner, the camp switches from electricity to torches, lanterns, and candles, but that adds to the romance…especially when the hippos come out to tiptoe through camp, hyenas are crying in the distance, and the delta frogs are clinking.

The Drives: Game drives were great, and there are two per day. For 2.5 days we had a vehicle and guide (Ollie) to ourselves; the other 2.5 days we shared a vehicle and guide (Ngande) with a family of 4. Both guides were very friendly and knowledgeable, told great stories, and seemed able to successfully spot while driving, and successfully drive while spotting. Xakanaxa Camp is next the public Moremi Game Reserve, so a handful of vehicles from other camps share the same roads. There are dozens of roads, and usually the vehicles would fan out to wander in isolation. Roads are bumpy and some have large bodies of water crossing them – adding to the fun. There are many types of terrain nearby, including dense forest, lagoons, forests of reeds, and dry mopane forest. Maybe once in every-other game drive, the radio would crackle, Ngande would chat with the guide on the other end, and then ask if we want to go see the lion perched in a tree as a huge herd of buffalo approached that another group had found. Yes, please!
The Boats: Boat trips out on the delta are a unique experience that most camp visitors try out on one of their afternoons at Xakanaxa. I think our guide was a little bored with the boat outing, since there aren’t many large animals to see. But there are plenty of birds (including a stork/heron/ibis rookery), and it was great fun to zip around through the labyrinthine waterways of the delta, and hope Ngande knows how to get back. There was a short mokoro ride, which felt more perfunctory than exciting (we weren’t allowed to row or touch the water).

The Animals: Other than the lions, and the leopard defending his impala catch from a female leopard while a hyena skulked around beneath the tree, we saw an endless parade of large animals, including giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, red lechwe, bushbuck, waterbuck, steenbok, kudu, elephants, hippos, and the ubiquitous impala. There were also honey badgers, striped mongoose, slender mongoose, crocs, water monitors, baboons, vervet monkeys, and warthogs. We saw too many bird species to list; my favorites were the stately ground hornbills, a Pel’s fishing owl, a giant eagle-owl, and a pied-kingfisher that had caught a fish larger than his head.

The Food: Breakfast was basic: coffee, tea, and several light offerings to munch on. I learned to enjoy what the guides ate: the porridge, cooked in a giant iron pot over the campfire. Lunch and dinner were both served at a communal table, where staff pour drinks but guests serve themselves buffet-style. The meals were mostly western-style dishes, sometimes with a Botswanan twist (e.g. Kudu steaks), but always delicious. The guides sit and dine with their guidees, which I enjoyed; this is how we heard some great stories about growing up in the Okavango Delta.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Matt K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Marketing at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Dear MattK,

Firstly we would like to thank you, not only for taking the time to write your wonderful, in-depth review of your recent stay with us, but also for sharing your beautiful photographs with everyone. We are extremely honoured that your first review was for our camp and we appreciate all your kind words.

Thank you for mentioning staff by name. As you noticed, Lettie is a true asset to our company; she has been with us for a very long time and definitely leads her team by example.

Your review provides both ourselves as well as staying at Xakanaxa Camp - thank you!

We hope to welcome you back to our camp again.

All the best, Lettie, Ollie, Ngande and the rest of the team at Xakanaxa Camp
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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2012

we stayed at Xakanaxa for 4 nights in late September 2012. First off, you must appreciate that the camp is in a publicly-accessible nature reserve which means you will need to share the reserve with other visitors. While we were there this wasn't really a problem since the campsites were not that busy, but we did come across other vehicles from time to time. No problem or issue for us, but if you demand absolute privacy then you may want to look into the private reserves (and pay a lot more for the privilege). We were also lucky that there were no kids in camp, and the one large tour group that were there largely kept to themselves. You should also understand that the camp is remote and do not expect 6-star levels of luxury. (And if you demand 6-star level of luxury and refuse to accept anything less, then perhaps you need to consider why you're traveling to the delta at all...) As far as we are concerned, everything was perfectly acceptable and we had no complaints regarding the facilities, service, food or activities. In fact the service stands out as particularly good, from Lettie (the camp manager's) friendly and helpful nature, the guides' knowledge, the kitchen staff's great food and the service staff's commitments. We had no issues or complaints about anyone working at Xanakaxa at all and only have praise for them. Even for the hippo tha visited us at 3am one morning. (Elephant are the only game that cannot enter the campsite, so you will need to be escorted by a staff member when it is dark. The resident animal population in the camp (bushbuck, hippo, genet cats, hyena and countless birds) all just add to the atmosphere.

Game drives were good overall, even if the driver is both driving and spotting. Baams is a genius and one of the best guides we have ever had - he tracked and found that elusive leopard for us. Timothy was OK, not as good since he is still a little inexperienced but we still saw some rare game with Timothy. We did feel that he got a little too close to the game for comfort and drove a little too fast though. The boat ride is good fun but don't expect to see much game (it's just the nature of the area they're in) and expect a short mokoro ride if you decide to have one. For us it was fine just to experience a mokoro for 20 minutes. The guides remembered each individual's preferences and would balance the requirements for the group on the game vehicle very well. (You will likely share the game drive vehicle with other guests staying at the camp, so it's best to make friends with them right from the start). Perhaps we were just lucky, but we would make a joke about ordering the animals we wanted to see before the drive started and somehow we checked them all off by the end of the drive. Great job, guys!

The staff were very accommodating regarding some requests we had. All in all, they made the last part of our honeymoon an unforgettable experience and we left feeling very sad, but knowing that we would return one day. We loved it here.

Oh, and if you want to try the local food, ask the kitchen staff if they would do some papa and stew for you (papa is the local porridge, also called "pap" and is similar to grits or polenta. they do it very well!)

Room Tip: Tents 12 and 13 is closest to the staff quarters, which is handy if you are of the nervous type but...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank neiljohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Sales and Marketing at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, October 22, 2012
Dear NeilJohn,

Thank you for your very detailed review. We appreciate the time taken to put your feedback together and feel you have given a very accurate summary of our camp. Your images submitted are beautiful – thank you.

We appreciate you mentioning staff by name and the extra lengths they went to to make your stay at Xakanaxa Camp even more special. I think I have mentioned this previously, but all the reviews posted are taken back to the staff and they are always eager to read them, learn from them and make the necessary changes to improve the experience for future clients. Please be assured that we will take all feedback, both positive and negative into consideration and work with the staff to improve on this.

Thank you for choosing to spend a portion of your honeymoon with us, we look forward to welcoming you back.

Kind regards,

The Team at Xakanaxa Camp
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Perth
Level Contributor
24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2012

To be honest, compared to other camps Xakanaxa felt a little commercialized.

This is going to sound horrible but here goes. Wildlife and young children don’t mix. Kids by nature get bored quickly and find it had to stay quite. This can be a little disappointing if your intention is to not scare everything away or have piece and quite. Other camps have age restrictions, I think this is wise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a child hater, I just wanted to enjoy the wildlife without feeling like I was in a kindergarten. People pay a lot of money for this type of experience.
The food was great.
The Jeeps have fixed roofs. I would much rather wear sun / weather protection clothing and dodge the branches than have a roof. It restricts so much of your view.
No spotter. The driver doubles as a spotter.
The camp is fully fenced. Don’t expect to have elephants roaming through.
My initial rating was going to be “average”, however I think operating in a National Park comes with certain restrictions outside the camps control. Camps operating on Private Reserves are able to offer more experiences including night drives and walking tours.
Most of the staff were fantastic.
I agree with other comments posted regarding being in such close proximity to other camps and public camping areas. At times it was surprisingly crowed on the paths / tracks (for a National Park). I also agree that this camp would be better suited to families and larger groups.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank ThrillAndChill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Sales and Marketing at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, October 21, 2012
Dear ThrillandChill,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us at Xakanaxa Camp.

I understand your concerns with regards to the children that happened to be in camp at the time of your booking. Please note that we do have an age restriction at Xakanaxa Camp, children over the age of 6 years are welcome to stay at the camp. When it comes to game drives, children aged between 6 – 12 years are allowed on game drives at the discretion of the manager of the camp and dependant on how many people are in camp at the time. Children 12 years and older are allowed on all game drives.

Of course, we try to accommodate each of our guests as best as we can and I am sorry that you felt the other guests impacted negatively on your stay with us. We will take your comments into consideration going forward and try to handle these situations better so that all in camp at the time can get the best out of their stay with us.

Thank you for your comments on our food, your feedback will be passed onto the kitchen staff who will be very grateful.

We have a one string fence around the camp and this is solely to keep the elephants out of the close proximity of the camp. As I am sure you can imagine, elephants can cause a lot of damage to the camp. Smaller animals can make their way under the fence and we often have hippos and general game strolling through the camp.

As you mentioned, we are situated within a National Game Reserve and although that does impose very strict regulations on our activities, the great benefit is the unsurpassed beauty of our location which includes ancient Mopane Forests, savannahs, floodplains and of course the Xakanaxa Lagoon and Khwai River. We usually recommend our clients combine a stay at Xakanaxa Camp with another camp within a Private Concession that can offer both night drives and walking safaris.

We would like to thank you once again for your feedback and we do hope to welcome you back in the future again.

Kind Regards,
The Team at Xakanaxa Camp
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Belmont, California
Level Contributor
114 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2012

Xakanaxa is in a beautiful location on the water. Electricity is only available in the afternoon which I expected to be a drawback, but the result is that dinner is lit by real candelabras which are lovely. In your room at night are battery powered lights and candles. It creates a very nice atmosphere. The bathroom is open to the air, so you have to keep your toiletries in your room to ensure that the baboons don’t get them. The rooms are nice, the food is good and the staff is wonderful.

The game drives are interesting with several wood bridges to cross. We saw most of the general game animals as well as a mother and father lion with their three 4-month old cubs. We also did two boat rides and saw both Speckled Necked Otter and Cape Clawless Otter as well as seeing about a hundred egrets come in to roost for the night. Our next camp was Kwara which worked out well because we took a boat from Xakanaxa to Kwara.

Xakanaxa is in a national park, so they aren’t allowed to drive off road and there are visitors in their rented vehicles driving around the park, but we did not find these limitations to be significant. If you are only going to one camp, I probably would not choose Xakanaxa due to these factors, but if you are going to multiple camps Xakanaxa is definitely a nice stop.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Kellie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Sales and Marketing at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, October 21, 2012
Dear Kellie M,

Thank you for your review on your recent stay with us at Xakanaxa.

Every review that is submitted throughTripAdvisor is shown to the staff at the camp, and they really appreciate the time taken by guests like yourself to write these. It sounds like you had a really wonderful stay and where lucky enough to see quite a lot of game.

As you mentioned, combining Kwara Camp and Xakanaxa is a great option as you are able to take a free boat transfer between the two camps. Xakanaxa is situated within a National Reserve and this means we are unable to do night game drives and walking safaris - another reason why combining a stay at Xakanaxa Camp with Kwara Camp is such a great idea. Kwara Camp is situated within a Private Concession so you are able to do these two addittional activities during your stay there.

Thank you once again for the time to give us your feedback. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Kind Regards,

The Team at Xakanaxa Camp
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Middle East
Level Contributor
38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

Terrific accommodation in a beautiful setting. Comfortable beds in well appointed tents. Great bathrooms with open air showers. Excellent common areas (lounge, dining room, boma). Delicious food, excellent guides (Ngandi was terrific), lovely setting on a lagoon. We'd readily return again. Stayed 3 nights.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank pdjtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xakanaxa M, Sales and Marketing at Camp Xakanaxa, responded to this review, October 21, 2012
Dear pdjtraveller,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us at Xakanaxa Camp. We are thrilled to see you enjoyed your stay with and we look forward to welcoming you back again in the future.

Kind Regards,

The Xakanaxa Camp Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Camp Xakanaxa

Property: Camp Xakanaxa
Address: Xakanaxa Region, Moremi Game Reserve | Private Bag 310, Maun, Botswana, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta > Moremi Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 27 Specialty Lodging in Moremi Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Camp Xakanaxa 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve, which is rated as being one of the finest game viewing areas in Africa, Camp Xakanaxa has one of the best locations in Botswana. Accommodation is in twelve tastefully furnished tents with twin or double beds and en-suite facilities with shower, hand basin and w.c. The tents are situated on the edge of the lagoon and from their private viewing deck, with comfortable loungers, one looks onto the reed fringes at the waters edge. The camp, with its eclectic mix of furnishings from all over Africa, has a dining room, lounge/bar area, fire deck and plunge pool all slightly raised on wooden platforms with spectacular views over the lagoon. The reception area boasts a curio shop. At night the camp looks stunning as it is lit by dozens of paraffin lamps and candles. The game drives in this sector of Moremi take one down winding tracks, through Mopane forests and across lush grasslands. The waterways are either forded by vehicles or crossed on rustic log bridges. The camp faces out over the Xakanaxa Lagoon on the Khwai River, where combined boat and mokoro (dug-out canoe) trips explore the sinuous channels and floodplains of the Delta, one of Africa’s greatest natural wonders. Birding in the area is excellent, especially in the spring and summer months when the migrants are breeding. To the north are the world famous heronries, which attract large numbers of breeding storks and herons. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Xakanaxa Camp, Botswana Hotel Moremi Game Reserve

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