Shinde, Xugana & Camp O
This concession is relatively small by Botswana’s standards, but shares a long southern boundary with Moremi Reserve, and is entirely devoted to photographic safaris. To the north NG21 adjoins the Kwara and Vumbura concessions.
Within the reserve, the activities are primarily water-based, although Shinde also offers game drives and a programme of walking safaris from fly-camps.Getting there and getting away
All the camps have their own nearby airstrips. Camp Okavango’s airstrip (GPS: CAMPOA 19°07.720’S; 23°05.930’E) is a short walk behind the camp, and from the air you’ll realise that this takes up most of the very small island on which the camp is situated!
Shinde’s airstrip (GPS: SHINDA 19°07.070’S; 23°09.180’E) is a short drive, less than 3km, northeast of the camp. Xugana’s airstrip (GPS: XUGAIR 19°02.200’S; 23°05.710’E) is slightly closer and northwest of the camp.
All guests pre-arrange their trips here, and most fly into the camps. However, because Camp Okavango and Xugana have a sister-camp, Camp Moremi, on the tip of the Moremi Tongue there are a number of boat transfers between these camps. It’s quite common, for example, to fly into Camp Moremi for a few days of game activities, then transfer by boat to Camp Okavango for water activities, before flying out.When to visit
Whilst game viewing under the clouds of the green season can be quite rewarding, the attraction of sitting on a boat or a mokoro is more elusive. To appreciate the magic of boating through the Okavango, most people need at least dryness and preferably a blue sky and tropical sun.
Last time I visited Camp Moremi during the green season, the weather one morning was glorious. This prompted the enthusiastic manager to ask me why Sunvil Africa
sends relatively few visitors to the Okavango between January and March. ‘It’s almost empty of visitors and often the weather’s superb,’ he beamed. Later that day the clouds drew in and it rained on and off for 36 hours, foiling any ideas I had about photography for the rest of my stay. Hence I’d advise that water-based camps like Xugana and Camp Okavango are best visited during the dry season.What to see and do
Xugana and Camp Okavango both operate motorboat excursions to explore the lagoons, plus mokoro trips to visit the areas of shallower water nearby. Often the mokoro trips are combined with walking on the islands, though these are usually led by an unarmed poler, so read my comments on walking before you depart. Note that if you’re keen to visit Gcodikwe Lagoon then Camp Okavango or Shinde are much nearer to it than Xugana.
Both water activities are primarily for birdwatching and to learn about the general environment rather than for game viewing, though it’s also possible to go fishing (for bream and tiger fish normally) from the motor boats.
In addition to these water activities, Shinde also has permanent access to dry land and so can offer 4WD game drives and night drives (a maximum of seven guests per vehicle) and walks accompanied by an armed ranger. However, those serious about walking would be better to spend a few nights on Shinde’s Footsteps fly-camps.Where to stay
Of the three camps in this area, the two water-camps, Camp Okavango and Xugana, are both owned and marketed by Desert & Delta Safaris. The third camp, Shinde, is run by Ker & Downey.