November 2017

First site visit by Anton De Kock, Michael Tollman, Mike and Marian Myers. Anton was able to gain a sense of the place and two things immediately influenced his work; birds in flight and water lilies.

January 2018

The Tollman family visit the site for the first time with architect Anton de Kock and project manager Philip Fourie.

November 2018

The build begins. The old staff village is dismantled and the material is used to build the construction of the village on the main guest island. Containers of equipment are brought onto site at Xigera.

February 2019 

The building continues with the start of the staff village and the steel foundation for the main kitchen.

Dismantling the old site of the main area.

We had endless site planning meetings which took place twice a month. Everything was planned and discussed to the last detail.

The animals on site made things interesting, such as the lions which decided to sleep underneath the kitchen or in the parking area. The photo below is when an elephant interrupted the morning construction meeting.

As the year progressed, so did the building work. From July, we had nearly 300 construction workers on-site at Xigera. It was a mammoth task.

By mid-2019, steel for the suites was being delivered to Xigera on trucks. It was the year of the worst drought in the Okavango. However, this helped the build as trucks were able to move freely to the site.

July 2019

By the middle of July, the main area at Xigera had been set out and the steel was in place to start this vital part of the build.

November 2019

The work was advancing on the suites.

Sisilia and the cubs checking on the progress.

We then began on spa treatment rooms, the yoga deck and gym. This was the last of the main area structures to be built.

December 2019

All of our services were installed, the water treatment plant, the sewerage treatment plant and the Tesla Energy Centre. The lodge has run solely on solar energy since then.

January 2020

At the beginning of January, we were on track to complete the build of Xigera by the end of June. However, the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in delays. By the end of March, the borders were closed and moving material into the site became very difficult. We also had fewer construction workers on-site and work could only progress with what was already on site. However, we continued to build throughout this period.

An amazing feature of the build was that all the wildlife remained around the lodge site, despite the ongoing building work.

March 2020

The new safari vehicles arrived on site. 

Doctors were on-site for the arrival of the specialist artisans. This below meeting was to ensure everyone was aware of what was necessary during the time the new arrivals would be in quarantine.

Trucks brought FF&E to site and all staff had to assist in moving it to where it needed to be for the Installation Team to fit throughout the whole lodge. This was a mighty job.

Our Housekeepers dressed to collect the laundry while the Installation Team were out of their rooms.

Our first team that completed the final finishes on the lodge.

The team from Southern Guild that fitted out the whole lodge, in order for it to be ready for the arrival of Toni Tollman on site.

October 2020

Xigera was completed at the end of October, with staff on-site to begin running the lodge. The contractor, Lodge Builders in Botswana will use November to move their equipment off-site and dismantle the final construction buildings.