My incredible Southern Africa adventure left me completely in love with this holiday destination. After a short 25-minute flight from Maun Airport I touched down at Xigera's private airstrip, where I was met with the fabulous team of guides who would be with me for the next three days. A quick 10-minute drive through the Okavango Deltra, as the water levels were still low, then brought me to Xigera Safari Lodge's
camp. As I arrived, I was greeted by the wonderfully warm and friendly in-house team with a welcome drink.
The twelve suites at Xigera Safari Lodge are an absolute dream, each with plenty of space and a unique interior due to the thoughtfully curated art collection. And let's not forget the expansive private decks that are the perfect setting for early morning yoga sessions (mats are provided in each suite), relaxing with a cup of coffee or cocktail, or just watching as elephants amble by in the warm afternoon sunshine.
As you may expect, game drives were a highlight, taking place in the early mornings and late afternoons. The top-class service was remarkable, with little touches like a hot water bottle (or bush babies) in your vehicle for when the air is chillier in the morning and keep cups for your coffee which is prepared and waiting for you when you meet in the main lounge. Our very first evening brought us an incredible sighting of a leopard, and our guide Lesh was fabulous, making the experience even better with his balance of knowledge and humour.
The culinary offering at Xigera Safari Lodge is something to behold! From the six-course tasting menu, inspired by fire and perfectly paired with award-winning wines, to the extensive breakfast spread, and of course, the all-important sundowners, each dining experience is a memorable one. But what truly makes it incredible is the fantastic team at Xigera Safari Lodge who expertly tie the whole experience together.
The next stop on my Southern Africa journey was Matetsi Victoria Falls
- a perfect complement to Xigera for a multi-centre stay as it was so easy to travel from one to the other. We went from Xigera airstrip straight to Kasane and then crossed the border into Zimbabwe by road transfer. From the ruggedness of Botswana, you can then unwind along the soothing banks of the Zambezi River. There is nothing quite as restorative as a sunset cruise where you can watch the burning red African sun set for the day.
Matetsi is a private game reserve stretching 55,000 hectares and is completely unfenced, so animals are able to traverse cross border. It's also common for the wildlife to be easily spotted in and around camp. Families of warthog and baboon will frequently be seen cooling off in shaded areas around the property or playing in front of your suite. Whilst I was here, I even witnessed an elephant strolling casually through the bar!
The Bush Dinner here is a really special experience - the team created a beautiful set-up and the food was exquisite. The menu at Matetsi changes daily so you will always have the chance to sample something new.
The cherry on top of this incredible stay was that Matetsi includes a trip to the mighty Victoria Falls, which is the stand-out adventure of the area and definitely a bucket-list experience to travel for. Matetsi strikes the perfect balance, offering a remarkable riverside experience within a reserve while still allowing you to explore the falls. And when you're ready to retreat, your sanctuary awaits-a modern, light, and airy suite adorned with local African touches.
My unforgettable Southern Africa journey was filled with awe-inspiring wildlife encounters, luxurious accommodation and the warmth of the African hospitality. Trust me, this is an adventure you don't want to miss!