On the weekend of May 17 and 18, a bushfire broke out in one of &Beyond’s concessions in the Okavango Delta, burning its way through Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge.
Teams from &Beyond and neighbouring lodges attempted to control the fire, which broke out on the evening of May 17, but the prolonged drought in Botswana and the resulting dry conditions drove the spread of the fire which, on the afternoon of May 18, jumped the fire breaks and moved through Xudum Lodge, destroying the guest areas, all nine guest suites and the staff village.
All guests and staff were evacuated safely and are unhurt.
However, as the lodge has been rendered unusable, alternative arrangements have been made at surrounding lodges or in Maun for guests staying on the premises at the time of the fire. &Beyond will be contacting affected future bookings to discuss options in the next few days.
Regional Director of Xudum, Jason King, commented: “We are devastated at the loss of one of our all-time favourite lodges in the Okavango Delta. However, we are also grateful for the support that we have received in our ongoing attempts to fight the fire, which is still blazing. Our staff have showed incredible spirit and have dedicated so much effort and energy in fighting the blaze, putting our guests’ safety and wellbeing first at all times, even in the face of much personal loss and destruction. We would also like to thank our neighbours, who have come together without a moment’s hesitation to help us during such a critical time.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed.