1) Name of property: !Xaus Lodge - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (S.A. sector)
2) Website address: http://www.xauslodge.co.za/
3) Date of stay: 5th August 2016
4) Length of stay: 1 night
5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what?
Several reasons: first of all we decided to spend 3 nights in KTP but since we book late, all other camps were full. Secondly we would explore an "hidden" area of the park, since you can get there only if you sleep in the lodge. Last because we would have 1 night of comfort.
6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently?
Booked through an Italian Tour Operator (South African Dream). I had some questions about timing for picking up and they answered fast by email.
7) How many times have you been on Safari?
3 in 3 years
8) To which countries?
South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar
9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to?
Fish River Lodge, Red Dunes Lodge (both in Namibia).
The former because of the position, on the top of the dune (the canyon in Fish River case), the latter because of the environment (Kalahari)
10) Was the property fenced?
NO, the units are connected to the main building through a boardwalk (the director said once they found a leopard drinking at the swimming pool)
11) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private?
Number 1, which was the nearest to the main building. We could listen people chatting on the terrace but it was not a issue.
We had a really good view of the pan and the waterhole (even if not close). Probably chalet 2 or 3 have more privacy.
12) How comfortable was the bed - were suitable amounts of blankets/duvets/pillows provided?
Very comfortable, we had 2 pillows each and as much as blankets we would. We had the hot water bottle as well.
13) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why.
Yes, the food was good, but not memorable. Probably they should improve a bit. In partiular meat was not too tasty.
The breakfast was rich and good, but also in this case a luxury lodge should give "something more" or "something special" to give an upper level experience
14) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?)
We met a vegetarian guest and he told this to the director. So he had vegetarian food for dinner and breakfast as well. Not sure if there are vegan solutions...
The menu was fixed, so a starter, a main course and a dessert. There was a good (considering the situation) wine list.
15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining?
There are only 3 big tables, so basically can happen that you eat with other guests. Guides never eat at the same table.
16) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives?
We didn't have a morning/afternoon drive, so I don't know.
17) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible.
They have a landrover. It seems quite new.
18) How many guests per row?
3 guests per row
19) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken?
Morning/afternoon game drives are included only for guests who sleeps at least 4 nights. If not are arranged and paid separately. We didn't take part in daylight drives but I head by other guests that basically they explore the area around the lodge and the Aoub riverbed.
The night drive was around 1 hour/ 1 hour and half in the surroundings of the lodge.
20) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you?
I don't think so. The drives are scheduled (maybe can change of half an hour...)
21) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings?
!Xaus lodge is not famous for the wildlife around it. It is more related to the environment and landscapes. Anyway we sow:
- DAYLIGHT: Red hartebeests, mangoose, hyenas, ostriches, secretary birds, sprinboks, gemsboks, meerkats
- NIGHT: hyenas, jackals, Bat-eared foxes, Cape foxes, spring hares
22) How was the standard of guiding?
Guides were good considering the few wildlife there. They were good also in the morning walk explaining the plants and the environment of Kalahari.
23) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue?
No problems with guides
25) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs?
Yes, they were always open to our needs (we didn't ask much)
27) Any other pertinent details you wish to add:
As I wrote the day game drive is included only if you stay 4 nights. For less it is included the night drive, the morning walk and a visit to a bushmen village. This latter probably is the less interesting activity also because it is declared it is a fake experience. The point is that !Xaus Lodge lies on old motherland of San and Meir people. So they are actually the owners of the land and this "visit" is a way to help their culture.
In the night it is cold (in winter) like all the other camps in KTP, but here there is an heater and the hot water bottle.
Electricity is turned off at 22.00
The water comes from the pan in front of the lodge, so it is really salty! You can use it to wash or brush teeth, but not to drink. There is only a pitcher in every room with freshwater, so don't waste it!
To reach the lodge there is a meeting point at the Kamqua Picnic Site all the days at 14.30. You can follow the lodge vehicle by 4x4 or leave your car in a fenced private area (with shadow) and go with them. There is a 1h 30m - 2h drive through 90 red dunes. The coming back is more flexible, usually after breakfast, but you can negotiate it...
28) Please add your photographs of the property.
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