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“The best of the three camps we visited.”

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Xugana Island Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
538 reviews
137 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 440 helpful votes
“The best of the three camps we visited.”
Reviewed September 5, 2011

Xugana was so different from Chobe and Savute, that it is difficult to compare the three. But we enjoyed immensely the boat trips through the Okavango Delta and the knowledgeable guides who led us on the trips. The highlight of our entire trip to Africa was a half day walk across one of the islands, where we encountered dozens of wild game and learned more than the rest of the trip combined. It was a sort of hands on experience, learning about and touching everything from "elephant chewing gum" to the fruit and nuts of the marula tree. And the beautiful and wildly varied bird life! Good thing digital cameras were invented, or we would have had to take two suitcases full of film for the photos we made during our stay here.

Landing on the grass airstrip, we were immediately taken to a waiting small motorboat and transported to the lodge, which faces a large expanse of water and is maintained perfectly. Eating out on the open deck three meals a day, we could enjoy the bird life close up and enjoy the company of the other visitors. Eating with the staff at the table gave us a chance to ask all the questions we had forgotten about during the daily tours, and the ambiance sitting around the fire pit in the evening was outstanding.

Rooms were very nice, and the supply of hot water this far out was amazing. We would return here in a minute.

We had made our reservations through a firm called Siyabona, with which we had a significant dispute over conversion rates that was finally settled to our satisfaction. We encourage you to get your tour priced in South African rand if you use them (and perhaps any other firm, as well), so that will not be an issue.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Charlie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kiah
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2011

We stayed 2 nights at Xugana Lodge and couldn't fault it. Everything was fantastic from the moment we were picked up from the airstrip by our lovely guide and taken to the lodge through the delta on a boat. The rooms are beautiful, service wonderful, food and wine lovely. The atmosphere is relaxed, it's clean and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting round the fire on the deck which overlooks the water, enjoying drinks and chats with the others. The staff put on an amazing singing and dancing performance which we all joined in with - it was just exceptional. The tour guide was great - knowledgeable and laid back and we had great tours both on boat and land.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank JennyKiah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2011

On a sabbatical from my journalism job, I volunteered in Botswana in 2008, and one of my posts aside from teaching at the University of Botswana was volunteering in the bush at several lodges owned by Desert and Delta. I loved Xugana from the start for its tranquility and authenticity, but as a recent returning, paying vacationer I saw that Xugana has been upgraded, having been refurbished, redecorated, re-thatched and renewed. Its furnishings are new, simple but with a dash of safari chic from the leather trunks at the foot of the beds to the colonial-style dressing stands, black/white photos of safaris of yore and new sinks/cabinetry/lighting in the bathrooms. From the large glass windows in the shower, one still sees the lagoon and the lesser-striped swallows building nests in full view. The bellow of the hippo nicknamed Fred still erupts through the night. Also refurbished are the bar, dining area (both indoor and out), open-air lounge and the large deck that runs from the boat dock to the main building.

The staff consists of Botswana residents from the Okavango Delta region; they know the environs and make sure guests are cared for with genuine warmth and spontaneity, not corporate sterility.

The lodge's walking safaris distinguish this stop in Botswana. While one might (or might not, depending on the day) see large mammals on the morning island walk, one can be assured of being close to nature for three hours on foot with a guide and a tracker, on a quest to learn about sausage trees, African fish eagles, hyenas' ecological cleanup duty, termite mounds, animal tracks and spoor. It's nice to land here in Xugana after de rigueur visits at lodges where game driving is the rule -- and the reward. But this tiny island dotted by eight thatched bungalows has its own rewards. It lies hidden among fig trees and delta greenery as a refuge for the safari-goer to take a breath, savor sunsets over the lagoon, catch a glimpse of otters playing in the water in front of the lodge, glide in boats past papyrus and crocodiles and listen to the night song of the staff choir (accompanied at surprising intervals by Fred). There is no cell phone reception, no fax, no Internet. Here, one is at long last unplugged.

Xugana offers a water camp for those in search of serenity, a peaceful finale or an intermission for those who want to combine boating and island walks with their game drives elsewhere in Botswana. I always regarded Xugana as a paradise. Now it's even better.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank boteti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
foxworth
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2009

This was the second leg in our safari having stayed at Savute. This is a good lodge and the staff and the food were excellent. The rooms were good if you like to be in touch with nature. They have no windows only mozzie nets and blinds. This was fine but in July it was kind of cold! The staff were very good however and provided us with hot water bottles. It was our honeymoon so the staff layed on a private dinner for us. This was incredible as was on a floating platform and we had our own waitress and Fred the Hippo was also circling in the water at times close by. The activities were good, and included a kayak cruise, a visit to the hippo pool as well as a safari walk. It was gentle paced so not as hectic as the agenda at the other camp (we were fine with a morning by the pool rather than another safari walk - the staff were fine with this). Our guide was friendly and nice and knew his stuff. I probably wouldnt go back only because I think once you have experienced the area it's not somewhere like the game safari's where wildlife is as prominent. Having said that however we saw hippos, elephants, a crocodile and many birds including an eagle and an owl!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank foxworth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2009

Different from a "dry" camp, this place has excellent staff and exce,,ent facilities. But your safaris are by boat, not jeep. So the place has a slower pace - which actually was nice after a hectic camp at Sabi Sands. Less big game wildlife and more intimate sightings - especially birds. But hippos, crocs and "hoof" stock were plentiful. A real "get away from it all" feeling. And the local staff could not have been friendlier or more helpful. A true "pleasure."

Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank LVTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
München
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 26, 2009

We stayed at Xugana Island Lodge and it was great. The whole area is so beautiful. And the sunset over the little lagoon in front was so beautiful. The rooms were nice, we had a great view on the lagoon (even from the shower) and the service was just amazing. At night you could hear the hippos which also come in the camp at night. The arrival was very welcome and we felt very comfortable. The meals were great with so much attention to detail and the cookies and cakes they make theirselves were just amazing. We enjoyed the activities a lot, the guides were very fiendly and knew the flora and fauna very well. And there were always some homemade snacks and plenty of drinks available during the activities. During our trip we also stayed in other camps which were supposed to be higher standard but we could not really see a difference. We will definately come back some time.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Weltenbummler22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, WA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2009

Exceptionally disappointed. Dirty, dated/old, no basic services, no game and most importantly the lodge manager has a major attitude problem. We received our money back for what was a very bad experience. We couldn't wait to get out of there.
This would hardly garner a 2 star rating let alone the professed 4/5 (depending on what you read!)

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank MCPD166
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Xugana Island Lodge

Property: Xugana Island Lodge
Address: Xugana Lagoon, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 72 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Hotel Class:4 star — Xugana Island Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Xugana Island Lodge, situated on the shaded fringe of the island, accommodates just 16 guests in reed and thatch lagoon-facing en-suite chalets with private viewing decks. Xugana Island has one of the most spectacular views of the Okavango Delta as its location on the edge of the Xugana Lagoon adds value to this setting. Accommodation at Xugana Island Lodge is on a fully inclusive basis. All meals, beverages and guided activities are included in the cost of your stay. Experience the heart of the Okavango Delta on guided boat, mokoro and walking activities. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Xugana Island Hotel Okavango Delta
Xugana Island Lodge Botswana/Okavango Delta

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