The redesigned and partially reconstructed lodge celebrates the African wilderness. It has become a tented retreat infused with the romance of a bush camp where guests can discover and connect with the natural world. To bring new soul to the lodge by drawing on location, culture and heritage and to provide a luxury escape with design that honours provenance, embraces all the senses and is sustainable. Belmond’s brand principles of timeless, understated, inspiring and genuine, layered with quirkiness, drama, comfort and craftsmanship, were the basis of the design brief.
Working on this project has been a real passion, an honour and a huge responsibility. We believe that the natural world is something we need to cherish and protect, and the design not only creates spaces where people can discover and embrace the experience but does this with the greatest of care for the environment. The design weaves in and out of its natural landscape and the rooms are full of old objects re-purposed into things with new meaning, as well as curiosities from nature. Simple places offer the luxury of gathering with family and fellow travellers in conviviality, or of relaxing in quiet contemplation.
The design is all about integration with the environment so that guests can completely engage with the wilderness around them. Views are carefully framed, materials are local, fabrics are natural and the colour palette belongs to tones of the landscape as well as the hues of locally produced items. And, there is a very special viewing hide where guests can sit and watch the wildlife at eye-level as they gather to drink in the watering hole.
All structural materials were purchased from local communities and all the FF&E was regionally sourced. This included: poles inspired by the carved sticks once used by the nomadic people, lights inspired by local clay pots, pods and plants, rattan furniture produced by the Blind Society of South Africa and handmade pottery basins in the bathrooms.