Elevated on stilts above the waterways that are home to hippos, painted reed frogs and adorable spotted-necked otters, Xigera Camp is an idyllic 10-tent retreat in the Moremi Game Reserve built on Paradise Island in the midst of the lush Okavango Delta. Because it is surrounded by deep channels and dense riverine vegetation it is not home to much large game but instead is the playground of a thrilling collection of smaller mammals and bird species. Twitchers should keep their binoculars to hand to spot saddle-billed storks, goliath herons and pygmy kingfishers flying among the treetops to join slaty egrets, wattled cranes, Pel’s fishing owl and African skimpers.
Activities at Xigera (pronounced ‘Kee-jera’) are predominantly water-based: glide silently through the reeds on a mokoro (a dugout canoe) or nurse a sundowners on a motorboat cruise. If the water levels subside sufficiently during the dry season – generally from September to October – then 4x4 game drives in search of red lechwe, hippos and the elusive Delta-dwelling sitatunga antelope can be extremely rewarding.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Xigera Camp is the ‘morning newspaper’: because the only way onto Paradise Island for predators is via a manmade bridge, staff have constructed a sand pit at the end of the bridge that captures their spoor. In the mornings, join them as they ‘read’ who decided to visit camp overnight!