Botswana Reopens And At This New Luxe Resort You Can Sleep In A Treehouse
by Johanna Read
The southern African country famous for its Okavango River Delta, Kalahari Desert, and more than 120,00 elephants has begun its phased reopening. A brand new safari lodge will give you incredible views of the country’s wildlife from your suite on a small island and even from a treehouse.
Botswana’s phased reopening
Botswana reopened its borders on November 9, including its three main airports in Gaborone, Kasane, and Maun. On December 1, the southern African country opens to international air travel and begins opening its key land border crossings. This country of more than two million people has had just 7,835 Covid cases and 27 deaths as of November 9.
To enter Botswana, all travelers will need to have a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure. They also need to provide contact information for their first 14 days in-country and monitor their symptoms. Passengers are screened for Covid symptoms on arrival and, if symptomatic, may be subject to additional testing and quarantine.
As before the pandemic, U.S. citizens and the citizens of most Commonwealth and European countries do not require a visa for stays under 90 days. If you’re also visiting other African countries, you may need a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
Xigera Safari Lodge
Officially opening in January 2021 is Xigera Safari Lodge, part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. The exquisite lodge on Paradise Island is a unique place for wildlife watching in luxury.
Xigera is in the Okavango Delta on the western side of Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve, which is known as the “last Eden” because of its rich wetlands. Elephants, black and white rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles favor the wetlands, especially in the cooler months. Antelopes, giraffes, zebras, baboons, warthogs, and more all make their home here, and try to avoid being prey for lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyenas.
Designed by architect Anton de Kock, Xigera Safari Lodge’s twelve suites are located on two small islands. Choose the 1,120-square-foot regular suites or the two-bedroom 1808-square-foot family suite. Decor is handmade in bronze and wood and original art by 76 African artists is featured throughout the property. Each suite has an immense shaded deck upon which you can relax and watch wildlife wade by through the papyrus swamps or walk along the floodplains. Xigera will arrange land and water safaris, including a trip aboard a glass-bottomed mokoro.
The exquisite suites would be reason alone to come to Xigera, but the lodge also has a three-level treehouse which guests can book for a dinner or a sleepover. The treehouse looks like a baobab tree. Inside is a winding staircase that leads to a spacious washroom on the first floor, the second-floor bedroom, and the third-floor deck, which can be turned into an open-air bedroom. At the deck level, you’re ten yards above the floodplain and a further four yards above the head of the tallest giraffes.
The lodge is 100% solar powered and can host just 24 guests. Xigera’s 105 staff ensure they’re extremely well taken care of. The lodge is most easily reached via a two-hour flight from Johannesburg to the northern Botswanan city of Maun, followed by a 25-minute connection to the Xigera airstrip.