A breakaway from traditional safari sleepouts, this is an architectural masterpiece in its own right, inspired by the iconic artwork of South African artist Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef

Rising 10 metres above the floodplain, the three-story baobab will offer thrilling 360-degree views, with wildlife calls drifting in through steel branches which will slowly rust over time, becoming one with the bush

The top-level deck offers a hidden, safe perch from which to witness the magic of the bush at dusk, or sleep under the stars in an open-air bed covered by a mosquito net. A remote, off-grid escape with no electricity, appealling to the daring, nature-loving spirit

12 November 2020: Opening in the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Xigera (“Kee-jera”) is a safari lodge set to  reinvent what it means to experience the African bush through inspired hospitality and design. Opening in January 2021, the Tollman family have handcrafted every aspect to beguile guests’ senses and stir their souls – from the evocative interiors to one-of-a-kind encounters, including the extraordinary baobab treehouse. This unique sleepout has been inspired by the ancient baobab tree, a symbol of Africa, and will be an architectural masterpiece created with extensive cantilevering branches – offering an entirely new experience of the African bush and a breakaway from traditional safari sleepouts.

Architecture & design

Situated a kilometre from the main lodge, the treehouse takes inspiration from the iconic painting of a solitary baobab by Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957), one of South Africa’s master landscape artists. Eight individually designed steel branches will radiate out from the central trunk, as would the branches of a natural baobab tree, and remain untreated. This will allow the branches to rust overtime, slowly becoming fully integrated into the natural environment.

The treehouse rises 10 metres above the floodplain, offering 360-degree views from each of its three levels. Inside the tree’s ‘trunk’ a spiral staircase rises four metres above ground, delivering guests to each of baobab’s three levels (featuring a bathroom, shower and bedroom with dining arrangements). Both the bedroom and bathroom spaces will have canvas walls that can open up entirely to the outside environment, or be zipped up for privacy. Sounds from the surrounding wildlife will drift in through the tree-like branches and screened windows. The drama truly unfolds on the third level, with an open-air deck for lounging and wildlife-watching. It’s a quiet, hidden and safe perch from which to witness the magic of the bush at dusk or sleep under the stars, should guests choose to spend the night in the open-air king-size bed covered by a mosquito net. The deck can accommodate a maximum of two adults and the sunrise / sunset views will be exceptional from its due-north positioning. With no electricity, the baobab will offer a breakaway from the experience at the main lodge, designed to appeal to the daring, nature-loving, adventurous spirit, immersing guests in the wilderness.

The Experience

The sleepout will be a completely personalised experience. When water-levels are high, guests can be taken via glass-bottom mokoro, gliding along the Okavango Delta’s waterways to arrive at the baobab for sundowners and supper. An extraordinary escape, the baobab is utterly remote and off-grid, yet still offering the same sumptuous comforts of the main lodge. On the open-air upper deck, guests will be treated to a a picnic-style supper delivered by a butler at dusk. In utter privacy and safety, guests can then elect to sleep on the upper deck under a silk-filled duvet with goose down pillows, under an endless ceiling of stars. Through the night, guests will be even more perceptive to night sounds due to the lack of human noise. They may hear lion, hyena and certainly owls and night birds, and will be treated to a beautiful display of stars, given there is no light pollution. A breakfast basket will be delivered the next morning.

HOW: Rates at Xigera Safari Lodge start from $2,320 (approx. £1,847) per adult per night sharing. This includes accommodation on a fully inclusive basis, park fees and all activities. The baobab experience is bookable at the camp for an added cost of $250 per night.