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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Botswana

Xugana Island Lodge: a haven in the heart of the Okavango Delta

You arrive by motorboat, skimming across the lagoon to see our staff singing and dancing on the jetty to welcome you…

By Collen Molefe
Guide at Xugana Island Lodge

Set on its own island above a deep-water lagoon, Xugana is one of the oldest camps in the Okavango Delta, having begun life as a hunting camp in the 1960s.

We’re a small lodge with eight suites, and although I might be biased, we’re often said to have the best location in the delta! The lodge is located on a private concession and offers beautiful views over the lagoon and forest, with most of our suites facing the water.

We try to offer guests a personal, friendly service from the start. You arrive by motorboat, skimming across the lagoon to see our staff singing and dancing on the jetty to welcome you.

The lodge is rustic in design; the suites have reed walls, thatched rooves and private wooden decks with tables and chairs overlooking the lagoon. Guests can sometimes see hippos bobbing above the water or crocodiles lazing on the surface. Elephants, zebras, lions, giraffes and many different species of antelope all call the area home too, as well as lots of different birds.

There’s a swimming pool in the gardens, as well as an open lounge, bar area and outdoor dining deck under a shady tree canopy. But the highlight for many guests is our floating deck, where you’re taken out in a boat to a pontoon that hovers above the water for a candle-lit dinner. It’s really peaceful, with the sounds of nature surrounding you and the water stretching out all around.

In addition to the floating deck dinners, we serve a continental breakfast on the deck every morning with cereal, toast, muffins, cheese and cold meats, then hot brunch with wine and beer, and high tea around 3pm. For dinner, everyone eats together on one big table while sharing stories from the day, tucking into a three-course meal with different menu options.

The activities are of course a big part of what we do. In the mornings, we take guests out on a motorboat, passing hippos and sometimes crocodiles to reach an island where we head out on a walking safari. Guests love this because they get to stop and look at the small things, learning about the medicinal qualities of plants and tasting marula fruit in summer.

We also do game drives in the delta, exploring the private concession surrounding the lodge by 4×4. But my favourite activity has to be the mokoro trips. We go out in a wooden boat, poling through reeds and waterlilies to spot elephants and other creatures like the painted reed frog, which is beautiful and changes colour depending on the heat. It’s an incredibly serene and relaxing way to see the delta, and I love sharing my knowledge with people who haven’t experienced this extraordinary region before – seeing their reactions as they explore its waterways is always priceless.


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Alfred & Collen Molefe

Collen grew up in the village of Mochudi, in the southeast of Botswana, and has been a guide at Xugana Island Lodge for four years. He takes guests out on game drives, walking safaris and mokoro trips around the delta, and enjoys sharing his love of nature and conservation with visitors.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Louise, who's travelled extensively in Botswana. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife in Chobe, the village chiefs who'll give you an insight into local life and the helicopter pilots who can land you on an island in the Delta never visited by humans before.

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