The rebuild of Wilderness Safaris’ flagship camps in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Mombo and Little Mombo, continues apace, with both camps set to open for guests at the end of January 2018. Whilst comprising the most appropriate and sustainable luxury required of such a leading destination, the new camps will remain rooted in an authentic bush-camp offering to ensure that the original Mombo experience is retained.
Wilderness Safaris has been privileged to witness three generations of Mombo Camp, undoubtedly one of Africa’s foremost wildlife and ecotourism destinations. The brief to the architectural and design teams, Nick Plewman Architects and Associates and Caline Williams-Wynn from Artichoke, was therefore to rebuild the camps in such a way as to maintain the Mombo traditions and history stretching back nearly 30 years, yet rebuilding to the highest and most innovative standards.
“In short, the new Mombo is a show stopper,” commented lead interior designer, Caline Williams-Wynn. “As the Rolls Royce of the Delta, we have combined traditional and vintage elements with a modern elegance that truly embraces the real essence of Mombo. We have used deconstructed furniture in classic styles, antique brass finishings, vintage leathers, copper lighting and copper-cladded fire places combined with marble and natural oak floors.”
A tonal colour palette has been used throughout to reiterate the longevity of the interior design. A mix of mismatched – yet complementary – wooden furniture all works together to feature a collection of pieces sourced over the years, resulting in a personalised feel. Other interior features include headboards and bed bases made of crackled leather with hand stitching on the seams, wooden and brass chandeliers and custom-made, hand-painted embroidered cushions.
“Space was also a key factor in creating the new design,” she added, “with each tented suite now comprising an expansive entrance, a sitting room with a bar unit, a separate bedroom and bathroom with a dressing area, indoor and outdoor showers and a bathtub that creates a sense of indulgence.” The view out in front of the floodplain is uninterrupted thanks to the use of wood sliding louvre shutters that can be open or shut completely as the guest would like and a sliding gauze second layer to allow for maximum air flow. Spacious decks are perfect for in-villa dining and private plunge pools and swing beds offer the perfect base for midday relaxation and siestas.
“Our emphasis in terms of luxury and service excellence has always been on sharing and honouring the amazing natural environment in which we operate,” said Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD, Kim Nixon. “Each tented suite has been built on exactly the same place as the previous one – with a slight increase in size out towards the floodplain to facilitate a pool deck. By remaining the same width, this has allowed all the vegetation – particularly the large trees that are in between the units – to remain, ensuring minimal impact to the environment. We even hosted a tree expert in camp to ensure that the trees were properly cared for and professionally pruned in a few areas that needed it and we did not cut a single root greater than 50 mm.”
“We have also taken the lessons we’ve learnt over the years and used innovative ideas to allow for natural temperature regulation; extended verandas are shaded with pergolas in front of the rooms, while the multi-layered, insulated roof design consists of a fabric layer that deals well with heat and UV rays and a cavity roof with insulation that allows air flow through and drops the temperature,” Nixon added. Walls and floors all have three layers each and of course, being raised off the ground aids in the flow of air, as well as allows for free animal movement beneath. There is also a good through flow from the front to the back of the suites, taking advantage of the gentle breeze off the floodplain.
World-renowned as “the Place of Plenty”, Mombo’s location on Chief’s Island within the Moremi Game Reserve attracts an enormous number and variety of animals, which makes it a hugely sought-after destination. Mombo is also deeply committed to the plight of the rhino and, since the turn of the century, has played the key primary role in rhino relocation through its Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project.
“We are proud of the progress we have made to date and look forward to sharing the magic of Mombo with our guests in 2018 – we have no doubt that Mombo will continue to exceed our guests’ expectations and remain a place of harmony: a balance between the camps, the environment and the people who stay here,” Nixon concluded.
The new Mombo and Little Mombo camps will open end January 2018. Please see additional notes below for further architectural and interior design details.