Hermanus, Western Cape
Cradled amid the hills of the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) valley,
Bouchard Finlayson is widely acclaimed as one of South Africa’s leading boutique wine cellars.
With a terroir defined by both ancient soils and a cool maritime climate, the vineyards of Bouchard Finlayson are famous for producing award-winning
Pinot Noir, elegant Chardonnay and terroir-driven Sauvignon Blanc, while inspired blends showcase the depth of skill and innovation in our winemaking team.
The Bouchard Finlayson cellar is conveniently located a scenic 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, close to the world-famous whale-watching centre of Hermanus.
I was born in Africa, and that has been the greatest gift I could ever have received. From the youngest age I can remember being at peace in wild places. I have been a safari guide for the Tollman family for more than 20 years, and on our safaris together we often discussed the idea of building a beautiful lodge. This dream has became a reality. At last, my journey has come full circle: I am back in the Okavango, and I look forward to making your dream safari experience a reality.
Working together with Mike, as the management couple looking after Xigera, is the opportunity of a lifetime. Each day we get to live and work in one of the most beautiful areas of the Okavango Delta, in the midst of people who are so enriching to work with. Xigera Safari Lodge is perfectly poised to showcase to the world the beauty of Botswana, the Okavango Delta and her people. If I can personally do anything to make your experience even more special, please do let me know.
I am proudly following in my mother's footsteps with my passion for the hotel business and our guests, and I work alongside our Marketing, Sales and PR teams to share the Red Carnation story. It is an honour to welcome Xigera Safari Lodge to our collection. It has been a life-long dream of my family to create a safari lodge in Botswana, inspired by the beauty of the wilderness, the people and the wildlife, and it will be my privilege to share this experience with our guests and teams.
We have handcrafted every aspect, from the evocative interiors to one-of-a-kind encounters such as the Baobab Treehouse, and every piece has been inspired by the incredible natural surroundings. It has been truly inspiring to be a part of the team bringing this spectacular, pioneering safari lodge to life, and to partner with Southern Guild, alongside some of the most compelling artistic talents in Africa, to create an exceptional design collection at Xigera.
In my career I have risen through the ranks, and I believe that passion, vision and self-drive explains my successful path. I’ve been given the rare opportunity to work at Xigera Safari Lodge, and this has truly opened my eyes to international standards of travel, accommodation and food services of an unmatched standard. Seeing the new lodge being built from scratch under my watch is a great honour, and I am looking forward to managing it.
I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Xigera Safari Lodge team. Before joining the safari industry, I achieved an international hotel management degree in Mauritius, followed by internships at hotels in Mauritius and Dubai. A career in hospitality has granted me the chance to meet incredible guests and colleagues, both leaving an indelible mark on me and allowing continuous room for growth.
I work as an Administration and Human Resources Manager at Great Explorations, the parent company to Xigera Safari Lodge. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations, and a Diploma in Accounting and Business Studies. I am passionate about studying for both leisure, and also self-development and career advancement. My role at Xigera is to oversee staff relations, and work with all of our staff in developing their own careers.
In my career I have been fortunate to have worked in a number of Africa's finest boutique hotels and safari lodges. From the Garden Route to Cape Town and the Greater Kruger National Park, I have experienced the best of African hospitality. Being a part of Xigera and Red Carnation Hotels has given me the opportunity to take my career to new heights.
Growing up in Durban I had the privilege of exploring South Africa and its neighbouring countries throughout my childhood. During a gap year I travelled widely abroad, only to realise that I was not done exploring my home continent. My passion for the bush was calling, and it was during a camping trip through Botswana and Zimbabwe in 2011 that I realised I needed to make African travel my career.
I was born in Maun, on the edge of the Okavango Delta. After completing my studies, I began my career in the tourism industry, working my way through the ranks to reach Assistant Camp Manager. I am excited to join Xigera Safari Lodge as Head Guide, and to take on the challenge of building a team and delivering the very best safari experience for all our guests.
I am Golesedi Baisitse, but people call me ’Lesh’. I am from Kanye village, the centre of the Bangwaketse tribe in the south of Botswana. I have been employed as a guide at Xigera since 2014, and I’ve developed a tremendous love for the area’s uniqueness, especially the bird life.
My name is Phodiso Obusitswe, but I’m also known as Genius. I was born and raised in the Okavango Delta, surrounded by wildlife. From when I was a child I was intrigued by the bush, and began to nurture the knowledge and experience I received from my parents. I then decided that guiding would be my profession. All of these experiences have led to a lifetime of stories. I am thrilled to now be a part of Xigera Safari Lodge.
I am originally from a village in Gambule, in the north-east of Botswana, and joined Xigera Safari Lodge as a professional safari guide in 2020. My first safari experience was actually at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, USA, where I was a part of Disney’s International Cultural programme from 2009 to 2010. Along with guiding I am also writing articles for the Xigera blog; exploring topics such as our wildlife species and our green initiatives.
People call me Des. I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Maun, where I developed a deep appreciation for the natural world. I did a Guiding Basics course at Botswana Wildlife Training Institute, where I learned the fundamentals of guiding, before developing my skills in the bush over the last six years, working for a number of different safari companies. I love the Delta; it’s where I had my first guiding experience, and it’s where I first fell in love with photography.