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“Returning Home to Africa”
Review of !Xaus Lodge

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!Xaus Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 October 2016

Guiding a number of groups over the last few years to !Xaus, I'm yet to be disappointed. The food has always been good, the accommodation clean and comfortable and the atmosphere pleasant. Game drives in the immediate area can be a little on the quiet side if you're used to the likes of the Kruger National Park, so I would recommend staying a few nights and arranging a day drive back in the Auob River on one of the days. Night drives are great for some nocturnal species, such as, Aardwolf, African Wild Cat, Cape Fox, Bat-eared Fox, Brown Hyaena and a number of awesome native rat, mice and gerbil species. Staff have always been very friendly and helpful to my clients needs and I've only ever received positive feedback from clients about their experience there. If you want to experience that strange but incredibly powerful pull to return home to Africa, it's definitely worth a visit!

  • Stayed: April 2016, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank AboutNatureTours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 October 2016

This Lodge is about one and half hours from the main trail in the Park. The Lodge facilities are comfortable and clean. Limited menu due to its remote location. We stayed one night which was enough for us. It is a quiet, peaceful location. People were friendly and welcoming.The journey to and from the Lodge is rough terrain so be prepared to be bounced around. It is located right up by the Namibian border. The area is run for the financial benefit of local Bush Tribes. Interesting place to visit but not for us.

Room Tip: Rooms allocated before you arrive. Limited number of rooms.
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  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Nigeltd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 October 2016

We loved this place, one of the few places one can go and be truly far from cities, noise, constant bombardment from electronic input. We loved the dazzling night sky, sitting for hours just looking at the landscape, listening to the hyenas outside our chalet at night, watching the animals coming to the waterhole. One afternoon a steenbok sat beside our deck for two hours while we did drawings and watercolors of her.

The food was interesting and delicious, especially the dinners, (corn frittatas, gazpacho, kudu steak) and the room was comfortable and cosy, with wonderful warm blankets. Showering in salt water had a different, rather soapy, feel to it, but using the water available makes perfect sense. We found not having electricity constantly was fine and added to the restful ambience.

We had a couple of game drives a day and our guide, Koos, was very capable and well-informed; he invariably spotted many interesting animals and plants on every trip. Once he even jumped out of the jeep and ran out to pick up an ostrich egg he had spotted far out in the field. Aside from him, though, other guides we had briefly, were largely silent on the drives, which was disappointing.

The issue of how to manage a community-owned place like this is complex. The lodge is managed by a white couple from elsewhere in the country, whom we found friendly without being intrusive. The local people do not at present have the skills and experience to do the management themselves, and we hope that ongoing training is happening, although we did not see evidence of this. It is also complex to figure out how to represent the now-vanished traditional life of the Bushmen. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle is no longer possible and, according to the admittedly limited sample of Bushmen we talked to, not necessarily desired. Yet, without some acting, as is done here in the "fake" village, there is not even a chance to meet and talk with Bushmen about how things used to be done. It is hard to say how to best address the gaps between the socioeconomic groups here but, again, we would like to see intensive training so that local people can gradually take over the entire management. We wish the best for everyone involved at !Xaus and hope to return.

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
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1  Thank Nancy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2016

!Xaus Lodge

Luxury Lodge this is not! Not sure how it is graded 4 star by Tourism Grading council. The rooms are very basic with canvas and mosquito nets covering the window holes which on a night of cold howling winds rustled together making a great din, let in the freezing air, and generally kept the occupants awake, which maybe some peoples idea of heaven if they are into camping, but at £1150 for three nights we found it unacceptable. To be fair the lovely Brenda, temporary manager, did ponder the problem of how to reduce the noise and the following evening we were given hot water bottles and the staff put on gas heaters while we were at dinner.

Food, in the main is good though it took a couple of days before my gluten free diet and somebody else's vegetarian diet was understood by the kitchen, again this was at the intervention of Brenda.

Unfortunately the guide for the game drives seemed completely out of his depth and offered little more than driving skills. It was predominately the guests who spotted any birds or animals, if there were any to be seen as they were very thin on the ground. A skilled guide should have been aware of the territorial areas of many animal and what times of the day to find them there. Apart from the pan, which has its moments at different times of the day due to the light and visiting animals, the landscape in this part of the park becomes very monotones after three days.

I do appreciate that this is a community venture and that the community may not have the appropriate skills to satisfy the needs of many travellers but this project is 'managed' by an outside agency and I think they are doing the community a disservice by not managing it properly.

If it wasnt marketed as 'luxury' there wouldnt be an expectation of such. Clearly some people will love the place, for us it was the worse place we stayed in our 3-1/2 week SA trip.

  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank jabjaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2016 via mobile

We stayed in !Xaus Lodge for 3 nights in August. It is situated miles from anywhere, wonderful open empty spaces. We had 2 rooms: a double and a family room. These rooms sit overlooking a dry salt pan with a small water hole with the occasional animal (hyena, gemsbok, hartebeest, etc.).
Being a game lodge there was the usual pattern of game drives and bush walks. This area of the Kgalagadi does not have a huge number of animals, part of the pleasure in the game drives was travelling slowly across desert areas. Wonderful sunsets. We did see meerkats (several times much to the pleasure of our youngest member), lions close up, jackals, hyena, squirrels, golden mongoose and several sorts of buck.
In the lodge there is a small swimming pool (very cold in August!) which kept the children happily occupied, without it they would have been bored.
Water is scarce, in the showers etc. a very saline bore hole product which took some getting used to. And electricity from a generator run for about 6 hours a day.
Set meals, fine without being exciting.
This lodge is owned by the local people both Bushmen and a coloured group, however it is run by an external organisation. We were disappointed not to see more local involvement.
Overall we enjoyed the experience. Some of us would certainly return for a second visit. We definitely recommend it to other travellers.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
2  Thank HasHout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about !Xaus Lodge

Address: Dune 91 | Off the Auob River Road, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park 8814, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Northern Cape > Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Free Breakfast Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Price Range: R 8 015 - R 9 287 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — !Xaus Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
!Xaus Lodge is a private Safari Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Set in an isolated corner of the Kalahari Desert, this eco-lodge is owned by the local Khomani San and Mier communities, and commercially managed. Guests stay on a full-board basis, with all meals, activities and game drives included in the tariff. Activities include wilderness walks with local Khomani San trackers, a visit to the craft village to meet local crafters, game drives and an opportunity to listen to the sunset. Night-sky star-gazing is a highlight of the evening.!Xaus Lodge is an isolated, desert destination where the emphasis is on experiencing this unique part of the world. Guests stay in chalets on the edge of a large salt-pan and can view game at the waterhole from their private viewing deck. Wilderness walks provide an opportunity to see the smaller details, and give an opportunity to learn about desert life.The local community owners, the Khomani San and Mier, make up the majority of the staff, and their influences dominate the aesthetics and culinary experience. !Xaus Lodge is a place to experience, and not just observe. ... more   less 
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