Tourism Ireland

Experience a Sustainable Safari With !Xaus Lodge

by Holly Godbey

Sep 9, 2015

!Xaus Lodge, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa © South African Tourism | Flickr


While the worries about the sustainability of safaris and safari lodges and their impact on the surrounding communities may seem novel to some travelers, the trend toward safari sustainability is not a new one.


Cheetah, !Xaus Lodge, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa © South African Tourism | Flickr

© South African Tourism | Flickr


!Xaus Lodge is located within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa and is owned by the local Khomani San and Mier communities, two groups who had been at a disadvantage for years due to their differing claims to the area’s land. The creation of the lodge was a part of the settlement of their land dispute in 2002. !Xaus empowers the two communities economically, both by providing an overall portion of the profits to community members, as well as providing employment to the communities’ impoverished populations. The lodge also works to receive funding from donors to provide health, agricultural and educational resources.


!Xaus Lodge, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa © Eleanor Muller | Flickr

© Eleanor Muller | Flickr


The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park’s game reserve is home to several antelope species and almost 20 carnivores, including the black-maned lion. The lodge offers game drives for visitors looking to spot the native wildlife, but that’s not the activity the lodge pushes the most. Guided walks and visits to the cultural village are more closely aligned with the lodge’s focus on supporting the Khomani San and Mier communities. Guided walks begin at dawn with Bushman trackers who teach guests to identify birds and plant life, as well as how to use the native plant life medicinally. The cultural village is where guests can watch local craftsmen at work and purchase their wares while learning about community traditions. !Xaus Lodge is also working toward recognition as one of the world’s few International Dark Sky Parks and the first International Dark Sky Park in Africa, free from light pollution and home to exceptionally dark skies.




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