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Experience true Kalahari wilderness at this desert lodge in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, spanning the borders of South africa and Botswana. Owned by the local Khomani San and Mier communities, !Xaus Lodge offers a rare opportunity to experience their culture, crafts and traditions, as well as the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the Kalahari Desert.Pronounced ‘kaus’, this eco stay has 12 cosy thatched chalets, each with a private deck overlooking a waterhole and salt pan plus communal lounge and swimming pool. A stay here is all about switching off and detoxing from tech. There is no electricity in the chalets, but solar-powered lamps and candles create a cosy atmosphere at night. Instead, there are game drives, bush walks with local San bushmen and cultural visits to local villages. The area has been awarded Dark Sky status, so expect nights to be spent gawping at the stars. !Xaus Lodge is owned by two communities from one of South Africa’s poorest areas, the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities.
What to know
- !Xaus Lodge is isolated and can only be reached by a 4×4 vehicle or a shuttle service from Twee Rivieren
- There is no electricity in the chalets, but solar-powered lamps and candles are provided
- There is no WiFi or phone signal at the lodge, but there is a satellite phone for emergencies
- The lodge is open all year round, but the best time to visit is from April to October, when the weather is cooler and the animals are more active
Owned by two local communities.
Benefits flow to the poor.
Won multiple responsible travel awards for poverty reduction.
Fair trade certified.
Uses purified water in refillable bottles.
!Xaus Lodge is committed to sustainability and social responsibility. The lodge is powered by solar energy and uses water from a borehole. The waste is recycled or composted, and the organic vegetable garden provides fresh produce for the kitchen. The lodge also supports the conservation of the Kgalagadi ecosystem and the empowerment of the Khomani San and Mier communities. By staying at !Xaus Lodge, you are contributing to their livelihoods and preserving their heritage.
Our favourite rooms
All 12 chalets are similar in size and style, but we recommend choosing one with a view of the salt pan
The chalets are cosy and comfortable, with beds, linen, en-suite bathrooms and private decks
The chalets are decorated with local crafts and fabrics, creating an authentic atmosphere
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a variety of dishes made from fresh and local ingredients
The food is delicious and varied, with local dishes such as springbok stew and rooibos tea
The lounge has a bar where you can order drinks and snacks
The lodge offers a range of activities to explore the desert environment and learn about its inhabitants. You can join guided walks with Khomani San trackers, who will share their knowledge of plants, animals and survival skills. You can also visit their craft village, where you can buy handmade jewellery, pottery and paintings. Game drives are another highlight, as you can spot lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, giraffes, antelopes and more. The lodge also organises sunset drives to admire the changing colours of the dunes, and night drives to see nocturnal creatures. For a more relaxing option, you can simply watch the wildlife from your deck or the pool, or enjoy a massage in your chalet.
!Xaus Lodge is a great place for families who want to experience the Kalahari desert and its wildlife, as well as the culture and crafts of the local Khomani San and Mier communities. The lodge welcomes children of all ages, but parents should be aware that the lodge and the swimming pool are not fenced, and that there are no special facilities or activities for children. Children should be supervised at all times, especially during game drives and walks. The lodge offers family rooms that can accommodate up to four people, and children under 12 pay half price. Children can enjoy spotting animals at the salt pan, learning about desert survival skills from the Khomani San trackers, and visiting the craft village to see how they make jewellery, pottery and paintings.
!Xaus Lodge is located on the 91st dune off the Auob River Road in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The park is about 3 hours’ drive from Upington Airport in South Africa, or 5 hours’ drive from Gaborone Airport in Botswana. The lodge offers free transfers from Twee Rivieren Rest Camp, which is about 70km away.
- Actively reduces consumption
- Employs local people
- Promotes local businesses
- Preservation of cultural heritage
- Community led or owned
- Respect for culture
- Up to 2
- Up to 4