Okavango Delta’s Xugana Island

Departing Camp Okavango was an exceptional experience, with the relaxing, operatic Mokoro float, the sandbar and the motorboat run to our floating barge — fully stocked for indulgence and a beautiful sunset on the lagoon — awe I wish I were there now.  As we sat in the midst of this body of water, we could see our newest island retreat across the glassy lagoon surface of Xugana Island Lodge and what a beauty she was.  We docked on Xugana the with camp staff to greet us with their now all too familiar warmth and song as we stepped onto the island grinning from ear to ear.  We now felt a bit euphoric if I can speak for the group.

A water-based camp — Xugana offers a unique and yes, authentic experience. If you are planning a trip to Botswana and want to visit Xugana Island, it would behoove you to see it in the middle of or end of your journey. People come to Africa to see the big game and Xugana may not be for you as the first destination. There’s so much to enjoy though; it’s up to you. One can eat dessert before the main course.  Trust me; there is a lot to eat here.  You are not going to go hungry and make sure you have extra notches in your belt!

As we are escorted to our beautiful chalets, we were encouraged to get back outside to the warmth of the fire on the deck and enjoy serenity now and make room for another beautiful feast.

“The lodge accommodates only sixteen guests in large, raised, reed and thatch lagoon-facing chalets, with en-suite facilities and private viewing decks optimally placed on the shaded fringe of the island.”


We emerged from our chalets and made our way back to the lounge area onto the deck with a built-in fire pit encircled by comfortable deck chairs under a mangosteen and ebony canopy of trees. This was a beautiful place just to relax and enjoy the space. Andrew briefed us with another event; we just had to wait and see.   All guests of the lodge loaded into 2 Land Cruisers for a ride out in the bush. We approached a fire and then saw a long table adorned with a white tablecloth — this where our dinner is served. The pleasant surprise evening event included more wonderful dancing and singing by staff.  The meals are always what people are pleasantly surprised about on safari.  With full bellies, like lions after a night out on the town, we waddled to the fire and gazed at the stars — a superb night.

Susann’s snapshot

Breakfast in the morning was on the water of course, who would think otherwise? We watched the sunrise appear over the papyrus with coffee in hand. As we snacked, we were briefed on our next venture. We were to boat with our guide Slade through the channels to Sausage Island for a genuine Walking Safari. No vehicle, just our feet. Slade and another safari guide took the beautiful channels of the Okavango as we spied birds of all colors and feathers.

Sausage Island
Walking Safari with Slade

After our feet were on terra firma again amidst the tall grass that is high as an elephants eye, Slade briefed us on the proper manner in which to move and communicate as we walk single file behind him. The second guide would be caboose for us as we’re now one cohesive quiet locomotive unit. We were much like David Livingstone, minus the porters, minus the madness, looking for the source of the Nile. Wait, did not Livingstone go mad and die from malaria? What a beautiful place and the sausage trees were as ubiquitous as were the birds around us. We learned the medicinal properties of the sausage fruit, and almost immediately we saw a bull elephant moving toward the place where we are making a beeline. I can not speak for everyone, but I felt safe, and as we enjoyed the wildlife on foot, I felt so close to what I felt the first time I was in such a pristine place in 1990. There was not another soul on this island just us, on foot, in paradise.  We had a great experience although we must move on. The time for us to us was now, and we prepared to push on to our next destination.  Chobe Safari Lodge in Kasane.

“Xugana Lagoon is widely recognised as the most spectacular permanent water site in the entire Okavango Delta, which itself is Africa’s largest and most awe-inspiring oasis. The Okavango River rises in the highlands of Angola yet never reaches the sea; instead its immense waters empty over the sands of the Kalahari, where the great thirst of the desert is quenched in a wilderness of freshwater lagoons, channels and islands.”

sausage island
Walking Safari

About Author

William Dewan Burns
Owner and Manager of Dewan Adventure Travel


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