Skipper Mareja

Skipper Mareja

Lodge Manager at &Beyond’s Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge


My speciality – I have had the privilege of working at three of the &Beyond lodges in the Okavango Delta over the past six years. I was first employed as an assistant manager and swiftly worked my way up the ladder to a senior management position. I am currently based at the lovely &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge, where I work as a Lodge Manager. My core responsibility is focused around ensuring the smooth operations of the lodge. I provide an enabling environment and ensure the team is fully equipped with the necessary know-how and tools to be able to provide an extraordinary guest experience. A great challenge for me and something that I take extremely seriously is to transform any potential guest complaint into an opportunity, with a positive and pleasing outcome for all.

Why choose Botswana for an African Safari – Botswana is a very safe and politically stable country. If you are travelling on an organized and planned trip, staying at various lodges and camps, then safety problems are not an issue or are extremely rare. Botswana tourism owes its fame to an authentic diversity of incredible, untouched natural wildlife areas. Botswana shows leadership in low-impact and low density tourism but, at the same time, boasts highly professional and upmarket accommodation within the various lodges and camps. It also has a fantastic track record of eco-friendly tourism operations, which are also a major drawcard. The pristine Okavango Delta (a unique inland water system) is the top wilderness destination in Botswana, home to a diverse wildlife and bird population. This is an incredibly scenic and beautiful part of Botswana, incorporating a range of habitats to see and explore. The Delta has also recently been proclaimed a World Heritage Site, great news for the country and the Delta alike in terms of future tourism opportunities and the protection of such a unique area.

What do visitors enjoy about Botswana – In my view, guests enjoy the way the tourism industry is run in Botswana – the exclusive use of wildlife areas and the diversity that the industry has to offer in this amazing destination. To put it into better perspective, after her stay, one of our guests who travelled to Botswana shared the following humbling message about the country and its people.

Botswana was beautiful, wild, warm and trueStaying at several Botswana lodges was one of the most transformative journeys I have ever made. (And I have travelled). The Delta has a sense of immensity that is humbling and awe-inspiring. The guide was truly learned and local: A dedicated naturalist not a tour guide. And all the staff was amazing. Warm, knowledgeable, friendly, and excellent cooks given the remoteness of the place. The wildlife – What can you say? I was perpetually transfixed, even when rooted to the spot with terror (a face-off with a bull elephant and lions come to mind). The cats (the big draw card for me) were astounding. At night we saw small cats, so incredibly hard to spot and very high on my list. And I was surprised by the quality of the wildlife there, too. Botswana is a country that will sear images onto your retina and memories into your mind and these things conspire over the years to produce a kind of soul-magic not easily found in other places. They call you back to Botswana, Africa….”