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 Post subject: !Xaus lodge and bushmen
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 9:08 pm
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Location: Switzerland
We've recently stayed at !Xaus Lodge, in KTP, and spent a little time with the bushmen. There's not much to be found in the forum about them and the lodge - so let me share some thoughts.

!Xaus lodge: A special place that will probably appeal more to Kalahari afficionados who have fell in love with the Kalahari before, than to "newcomers"... The chance for wildlife sightings is much higher in Nossob and Aoub valleys, and the animals there are much more used to cars. So !Xaus lodge is rather about the quiet tunes in the Kalahari song, about the smaller flora and fauna of the Kalahari dunes, and about the solitude of the Kalahari. There are major advantages even to the SANPark wilderness camps: you can walk around with a bit more freedom; there are flexible and customised activities with knowledgeable guides in small groups (walks, drives); the experience is much more personal; and of course they cook for you :-) The downside for many is above all the price. I think that most people don't stay longer than 3 or so nights, but the experience is very atmospheric and relaxing.

The bushmen: There are most probably no more bushmen left in this world who live their traditional hunter and gatherer lifestyle - even if some of them would like to! The bushmen staying at the lodge are there on a voluntary basis, and come and go as they like. For the older bushmen it means that they can actually be in the park, "the place of their ancestors", which important to them. For the younger it's maybe a chance to get in contact with tourists. They are paid a modest sustenance just for being there; most of them spend their days at the lodge with the creation of crafts (necklaces etc. similar to those you can also buy along the Askham-Twee Rivieren road), and some of them work as trackers - but an important aspect is to just spend time with their friends and family. They dress as they like - sometimes in springbok skin and sometimes in western clothes. Yet they stay in the staff quarters, not in the "Bushmen village". The latter is only their crafts workshop. No romantic illusions here...

So you can visit the bushmen, talk to them (speaking Afrikaans is an advantage), buy crafts - just be there with them. And of course you will be guided by one of the bushmen trackers, during walks and drives - a good opportunity for foreigners to chat, since the trackers speak some English. Yet the community's experience with tourists is limited; there are no self-driven activities (yet) like joining women in going out in the veld to collect plants, or meeting a healer (in case one is present), or even join a hunt (in case any of us actually had the stamina to do this...).

Piet, the lodge's host, seems to have a genuine interest in their well-being; he is serious about not turning it into a people viewing show with "dance & trance on order" for camera-touting tourists; he is also very knowledgeable about their history. He might consider making such activities available to interested visitors, but they will very much depend on the bushmen community's interest in sharing their knowledge with visitors.

So summarising my experience: it is not the place to experience a full immersion into bushmen culture and traditions, it's rather a cautious approach to meet fellow humans with an entirely different background. I have read a bit about bushmen, as well as their medicinal and food use of plants, prior to this visit, and a lot of it remains theoretical knowledge even after the visit. Yet I was not at all disappointed, and enjoyed meeting them; meeting some of them on a more personal level would require more time. !Xaus is a good place for First Contact...

A bit more info is in my diary, you find it here:
http://www.pangolin.li/index.php?id=214

Evi

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Website: www.pangolin.li - including diaries of our visits to Kgalagadi and Krueger
Last visit: KTP in March 2009


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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge and bushmen
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:53 pm 
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Thanks Evi, very useful information here
i always wondered if they had many tourists. Was it full when you were there?

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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge and bushmen
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 9:08 pm
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Location: Switzerland
Hi Pikasso,
No, not full - four of the ten or twelve guest chalets were occupied. But these were weekdays, and the weekend is busier.

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Website: www.pangolin.li - including diaries of our visits to Kgalagadi and Krueger
Last visit: KTP in March 2009


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: !Xaus Lodge
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:48 am
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Honestly speaking, I don't have any idea about xaus lodge but I wanted to help and the and the only thing I can do is to research so I did my own research about this Lodge. Xaus Lodge provides luxury accommodation in the Kgalagadi TFP for eco-tourists and visitors to the Kalahari. The complex comprises a central lodge building and 12 individual chalets, each with its own deck overlooking a vast saltpan and waterhole fed with fresh water.


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: !Xaus Lodge
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:49 pm
Posts: 172
Location: Cape Town
I think one reason there's not much about it in the forums is that the cost has kept most South African forumites out. Many can't afford to go there, though for foreigners paying in Euros or pounds, etc, it's more affordable. As far as I can remember the prices are more like Namibian Wildlife Resorts' upgraded Etosha prices than our usual Sanparks prices, because it's a private concession, though it does include all meals as well. Something like R1500-1700 per person per night is what I remember seeing, but I stand to be corrected.


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: !Xaus Lodge
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:59 pm 
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Briefly (I'll write in more detail later when I have time), I recently spent two nights at !Xaus Lodge. It is a very different experience from the KTP camps, focusing more on the smaller things and the Khomani San culture than on large(r) mammals. There are special discounts for South Africans and others should also ask about special considerations, you never know. And remember that the cost covers everything -- three delicious meals, drives, walks, cultural talks, so IMO it is real value for money. The only extras are wine and other liquor and soft drinks.

I particularly wanted to do the walking in the dunes with bushmen trackers and I had a brilliant time and learned an amazing amount. The sunset and night drives I joined were also fun, as was the visit to the bushmen cultural village, just a group of local bushmen who spend the day working on various crafts projects. These crafts are sold both at the village and in the lodge shop. The lodge staff are all drawn from the local San and Mier communities and are wonderfully welcoming hosts. You really do feel that you're among friends!

The setting of the lodge, on a salt pan more than a kilometer across, is breathtaking, very different from KielieKrankie. There is a small waterhole in front on the ledge, but there wasn't much activity there during my stay. Rather, we saw gemsbok and red hartebees far across the pan. But the light changes constantly so just observing those changes is most rewarding. I enjoyed considerable time just relaxing on my deck.

I can definitely recommend a stay at !Xaus as part of a KTP trip. You are collected at Kamqua picnic spot and esxcorted 30km across the dunes. If you drive a 4x4 you are allowed to drive your own vehicle in with the escort and to drive back out on your own. For me, with a sedan, parking is provided close to the !Xaus (no entry) turn off, and you are transported to/from the lodge, usually in an OSV. The drive through the dunes can also be rewarding in many ways and the scenery is stunning!!

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 Post subject: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:39 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:33 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Pretoria
Hi everybody,
Has anyone been to the !Xaus logde recently, It'll be my big 50 :roll: :wall: bday in June and thinking of treating myself and 2 daughters there. It is quite costly but if you take into consideration you get 3 meals, walks and drives included, it isn't to bad. You only get 50 once :wink:
Any info will be appreciated.
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
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Location: another national park.. in England
Hi pajero4us,
There is some info here not very recent I am afraid Just wondered if you had read it. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:00 pm 
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There was a recent program broadcast on UK Channel 5 that featured the lodge, Charley Boorman's South African Adventure. He stayed there and went lion tracking with a couple of the rangers and the park manager. Very interesting but only a brief glimpse of the lodge.

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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:27 am 
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Posts: 271
Location: Stellenbosch
Hi, it will be difficult
I spoke to some one, sorry can't give you a reference, we were sitting on a terrace having some wine and because of the word Kalahari we talked more.
He was in the lodge with his children and found it a special experience, the tracking with the ranger, the set up, nothing negative, but...... after that he stayed in KTC and as honest as children can be they liked that more because they could make their own fire and food! He was glad he did both.


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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
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Location: another national park.. in England
A link to some more info Xaus Lodge

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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:33 pm
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Location: Pretoria
Thanks everyone,
Jonkers yes that is true about the children but fortunately they are 14 and 17 and we have been coming to the Kgalagadi since 1988 and have camped numerous times in Rooiputs etc. I thought of !xaus lodge for a special treat and I wondering if any formumites have stayed there and experienced it.
:D


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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Did you look at the comments in the first link that Dotty provided? It includes my comments on my visit to !Xaus. It's very different from KTP but I found it most worthwhile.

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20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling


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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:33 pm
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Location: Pretoria
yes I did Arks thanks, I was just wondering for a more recent vistit :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: !Xaus lodge
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:58 pm
Posts: 271
Location: Stellenbosch
just do it! special birthday, special place
and enjoy every minute of it, no matter what other people experienced


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