A NEW luxury safari lodge in Botswana is offering a treehouse sleepout with a difference – in the branches of a baobab tree like no other.
This remarkable treehouse is one of the stars of the show at the new Xigera Safari Lodge, which opens in January 2021.
Amid a stand of indigenous Croton trees, the striking steel structure – built in the shape of a baobab tree – towers nearly 10 metres above the floodplain, offering panoramic views from each of its three levels.
Inside the tree’s ‘trunk’, a winding staircase delivers guests to the spacious bathroom on the first level.
The bedroom is on the second level, beautifully appointed with carved timber furniture, and both bedroom and bathroom spaces have canvas walls that can open up entirely to the outside environment, or be zipped closed to allow for privacy and protection from the elements.
Sounds from the surrounding bird-life, animals and insects drift through the tree-like branches and screened windows into the tented treehouse.
At the top, there’s an open-air deck for lounging, reading and watching wildlife pass undisturbed below. Or perhaps spend the night in the open-air king-size bed, watching the stars of the southern sky.
The lodge, which opens in January 2021, nestles in the Okavango Delta, on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve.
It’s said to be the culmination of a lifelong dream of South African hoteliers, the Tollman family, and their love letter to the African bush.
Xigera (it’s pronounced ‘kee-jera’), has been named for the Pied Kingfisher that makes its home amid the watery channels of the Moremi reserve.
The lodge sleeps a maximum of 24 guests in 12 individually designed suites, including one two-bedroom family suite situated on two islands, bridged together with an extraordinary bronze lily centrepiece.
Each suite reflects the outside environment, with a deck that extends to include an outdoor daybed with uninterrupted views over the floodplain.
Design notes include the jewel-like layering of materials and texture, among them timber and bronze. Local artwork and artisan furniture blend African authenticity and contemporary chic with a sense of place.
Guests will stay in a ‘living gallery’ of bespoke works commissioned exclusively for the property by Africa’s most exciting young artists and craftspeople, including Adam Birch, Madoda Fani, Porky Hefer, Otto du Plessis, Stanislaw Trzebinski and many more.
The bespoke collection has taken 18 months to produce with each item hand-made – and there are surprises round every corner.
Human-sized woven nests by Hefer rest on decks for guests to nestle in; there’s a totemic firepit sculpture by blacksmith artist Conrad Hicks; the lounge fireplace is made out of hand-beaten copper in the form of a lily – a recurring motif which represents the lodge.
Dining majors on dishes inspired by the Delta, using the best fresh and local ingredients. African-inspired menus, designed by experienced Red Carnation Executive Chefs, are complemented by signature recipes inspired by Bea Tollman’s own legendary dishes.
The cellar showcases a premium list of the best Champagnes and wines, including hand-crafted wines from Xigera’s sister vineyard Bouchard Finlayson in South Africa.
As well as the treehouse sleepout, extra-special experiences on offer will include glass-bottomed mokoro excursions along the Delta’s waterways, spa treatments by Tata Harper and game drives led by bush veterans Mike and Marian Myers with a team of the most experienced guides in Botswana.
Rates at Xigera Safari Lodge start from around £1,850 per adult per night sharing, including accommodation on a fully inclusive basis, park fees and all activities, although spa treatments are additional. For more see www.xigera.com