Interesting information: the continent of Africa has 54 countries with a seventh of the world’s population living there. But it has, and, this is an estimate, 2,000 distinct languages which is a third of the world’s languages. If, like me, Africa has always been on your bucket list, I have a suggestion of where to start: how about Botswana? The language spoken mostly there is Setswana, but there are few dialects – however, don’t worry English is one of the two official languages, and there are in fact 31 languages spoken throughout the country.
In Botswana in the heart of the Okavango Delta, you will find Xigera Safari Lodge which opened in January 2020. Under a canopy of indigenous trees, in the Moremi Game Reserve, the Tollman Family worked with the locals to build 12 suites, each individually designed, with sustainability and innovation in mind.
It is also a celebration of African art, creativity and culture, showcasing a collection of art and design by many of Africa’s most globally renowned designers, the first of its kind on the continent. Nearly all of the furniture and art are hand-made, making it the largest collection of African design in the world.
The Lodge is as environmentally and ecological friendly as it can be. It is 95% solar powered, with a state-of-the-art Energy Centre, the majority of their energy needs met by renewable solar and not diesel This saves them using about 73,000 litres (19,285 US gallons) of diesel, and stops the release of about 191 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually into the atmosphere.
The sewerage system is entirely above-ground Calcemite and uses biodegradable chemicals, so, once cleaned, the grey water is safe for irrigation use. All the water is purified in a reverse osmosis treatment plant, not really sure what that is, but it means that it is safe to drink the tap water! They also provide their own bottled water, in glass bottles. Hot water and air conditioning are via thermodynamic geysers, and SolarView tinted glass ensures temperature stability indoors. All the organic kitchen waste is processed in an on-site composter and then sent to the surrounding communities for compost for their kitchen gardens.
About a kilometre from the lodge is the Boabab Treehouse, inspired by a painting of a solitary baobad tree by one of South Africa’s master landscape artists, Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef. The treehouse has three levels which are accessed by a winding four metre staircase inside the trunk. The first level is the bathroom, second level the bedroom, both with canvas walls which can be opened totally or zipped closed, whichever you prefer. The top level has an open-air deck, the perfect treetop perch to view the magic of Africa at its best.
Land and Water safaris and experiences are offered to the guests, and a helicopter is a means of travel if you want. The Lodge monitors and keeps records of all flora and fauna, and during its construction an arborist was employed to ensure the protection of the mature trees on the site. They work with the Department of Wildlife and Nationals Parks to make sure that the lands they use are continually protected and kept as nature intended. They have, in this case, literally thought of everything.