Alongside marking the close of another year, December 2022 marked the two-year anniversary of Xigera Safari Lodge's opening. The last 24 months have seen an abundance of spectacular moments; the time spent with our guests and the wildlife sightings we have shared have proven unforgettable. To mark this anniversary, and to offer a moment of reflection upon the year past, we have collated our guides’ favourite moments from our safari journeys.

Fishing in the flood

"My best moment in 2022 occurred when taking two of our guests on a boat cruise to go fishing in the delta’s waters. On our way to the fishing spot, we saw the Western lion pride swimming across the channel with their cubs. To see the pride work in such unity and harmony whilst crossing the waters was magical, and the cubs’ concentration as they bobbed across the surface was endearing as well as impressive.

When we arrived at the fishing spot, we taught the guests how to cast their rods. One of them appeared to have a catch instantly; one that pulled like a big fish. We rushed to help her and successfully pulled in the line, only to find that her great catch was a fishing rod that we lost two days before with a previous guest. A great deal of laughter emerged from the group, and the couple continued to remark and joke about this moment for the entirety of their stay. They did manage to catch a large catfish before the fishing trip ended, which inspired great cheer among them. It was a day of great joy and humour, and one that we continue to reminisce about here at camp."

- Genious

The beauty of mother nature

"One of the unique features of Xigera and its ever-changing landscape is our access to both land and water. My highlight for 2022 was afforded by the latter. We were on the mokoros with guests one afternoon and as we got into them, we spotted some lions sitting amidst the waters. They weren’t lions from the prides that we know or are familiar with here in our concession. They were new to the area and looked towards us with hesitant eyes. We decided to turn around and head down the channel.

After about 200 meters we came across a lone hippo enjoying the delta’s cooling waters. Caught between the lions and the hippo, and fulfilled by the excitement of the afternoon, we decided to return to camp. Whilst driving back, we were then gifted with a sighting of the Eastern pride’s females - a pride that has long resided here at Xigera. They were following the flood plains towards camp, traveling the very route that we were driving. It was an afternoon that reminded us of the beauty of mother nature and made us feel very grateful."

- Tsile

Lion's play

"My favourite moment from 2022 was inspired by a guest’s request ahead of one of their safaris, I asked the family if there was anything that they were hoping to see during their excursion. They responded that they had seen pictures taken on a previous safari by our guide Des of lions crossing the channel by the spa in front of the lodge and of the Western Pride crossing at the Mmaditedu crossing. Inspired by these photos, they also yearned to see lions crossing the beautiful waters surrounding our camp.

As we headed into the bush and scanned the plains of the Delta, we came across two Xigera males crossing the southern part of our channel at the lodge. However, we got there just moments too late and watched them coming out the other side. I drove to the next channel to try and capture this remarkable moment again, but we suffered the same fate. I proceeded towards the Xigera trails crossing towards Jwandane and finally succeeded in getting there before the lions. We saw them cross and swim through the water. The guests were elated and took many pictures. Their joy in having their dream moment fulfilled on one of our safari tours was special and unforgettable."

- Ikalaheng Mogalakwe

Exceptional reptiles

"A standout moment for me in 2022 occurred as I was driving on the south side of the Xigera concession. Whilst leading the game drive, we came across a python lingering in the grass. It was the first I had seen in the area since 2011 and made for a truly extraordinary moment. Upon closer inspection, it also became clear that the python was also approximately three metres in length, making the sighting even more remarkable."

- Kaycee

The first cheetah

"One of my highlights from 2022 was on an evening safari with guests. As we travelled across the reserve, we came across a cheetah - the first we had seen that year! It was stalking its prey – baby lechwe poised just beyond in the grasslands. The cheetah, with great stealth and agility, managed to successfully capture the lechwe. Seeing the cheetah in full action and the burst of speed that it displayed was incredible, and perfectly encapsulated the magic of the area."

- Oratile Gotshajwang

Family joy

"For me, there have been two standout moments from 2022. One morning I was radioed to say that the wild dogs had just come through camp and that they were on the hunt. I got up and ran to public areas. As I stood on the deck overlooking the channel an impala darted past me, shortly followed by the wild dogs. Within seconds, they had cornered and taken down the impala. Wild dogs are an incredibly rare sighting, so to catch a glimpse of the pack at camp as well as a hunt ending in a kill was truly incredible. It was a very memorable experience for all of us at Xigera.

My second, and probably most treasured moment, was a recent one that occurred when taking my family out for a drive one afternoon. My youngest had been asking to see an Aardwolf (part of the hyena family) for most of the year. These creatures are nocturnal and very shy, making the chances of seeing them even rarer than the wild dogs. We searched many times without success; however, Ike (our head guide) told me that he had recently seen a female in the area. We had all but given up that afternoon when we came across a little figure near a den. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be an Aardwolf pup. The joy and excitement on my son’s face was incredible; he did not stop talking about the sighting for the entire week. It is moments like these - when our guides see the joy that this brings our guests - that make these sightings so incredibly special."

- Ben Seager, General Manager