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Botswana

Mombo, Botswana

Introducing first look of the new Mombo, Botswana

1000 562 Daniel Fountain

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.

www.wilderness-safaris.com

Qorokwe Camp, Botswana

Project Spotlight: Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp, Botswana

769 400 Daniel Fountain

Wilderness Safaris is delighted to announce the opening of its new Classic Camp, Qorokwe, situated in the private, wildlife-rich 26 180-hectare (64 692-acre) Qorokwe Concession, bordering Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Meaning “the place where the buffalo broke through the bush into the water”, Qorokwe comprises nine elegant tented suites, one of which is a spacious family unit with its own splash pool, as well as a dining area, lounge, library, bar and infinity swimming pool, all situated along the banks of a beautiful lagoon. An example of authentic, responsible luxury, the camp was built using innovative techniques and operates on 100% solar power, thus keeping as light an eco-footprint as possible in one of the Delta’s untouched wilderness areas – one that has been unutilised for the past four years.

“In our continuous quest for operating camps – and making a difference – in the best wildlife areas in Africa, the exclusive Qorokwe Concession has earned a well-deserved place in our ranks”, commented Kim Nixon, Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD. “We are proud to have welcomed our first guests to Qorokwe, in partnership with Cobus Calitz and Jil Gérard-Calitz, and are looking forward to revealing this contemporary, land-based camp and highly-productive wilderness concession to the world”.

Architect, Joy Brasler on Qorokwe:

  • The concept for Qorokwe grew out of a response to the landscape – the site lies next to a lagoon and the tented suites are raised off the ground to see over the vegetation growing at the lagoon’s edge, as well as providing a sense of safety in the wilderness.
  • The suites and main camp area were laid out by the team in response to the trees and views available on site. There are a number of large canopy trees which inspired the idea of a fairly cannellated ceiling to the unit which mimics the bark of the trees and canopy overhead. The rest of the unit is predominantly clad in canvas to the rear, and mosquito netting on the view side, with interior blinds/shutters that act as both curtains and environmental control.
  • In our practice, we had been pursuing the idea of a mechano m/s steel unit which would limit the construction time on site and the variations that typically arise out of building in the bush. Materials were therefore chosen for rapid construction with a steel frame with infill panels of either mesh or canvas, timber decks and the detailed timber ceilings perforated with light.Project Spotlight: Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp, Botswana
  • The tented suites are spacious and include a large deck. Given that the temperatures are fairly benign and that the thrill of being out in this wild landscape is paramount, much of the main camp features are open and cascading towards the watercourse. The rear of the camp enhances the experience of traversing the various vegetation typologies as you move towards the water – open landscape, vegetated edge, and open view – the entrance sequence is treated as a series of “walls” in the landscape, ascent and view. The ceiling travels over these diverse features and is gently graduated with light.
  • Views are framed and isolated to elevate the visual experience of this photographic environment, water is used to bring the Delta into the camp, both to connect the experience of being in the landscape and to deal with the practical issues of keeping guests away from the edges.
  • References are made to the cycle of decay at the edge of the Okavango Delta through the use of “rusted” finishes in conjunction with lightweight tented construction infill methodology. Colours and imagery from both the landscape above ground and beneath the water are brought into the interiors.
  • The language of the infrastructure is seen as an elemental and contemporary response to an insertion in this landscape – the interiors are a response to the colours and activities of Africa, with the emotive use of materials, colour and form.

Owing to its location on the border of Moremi Game Reserve and its diverse habitat types – from scattered acacia and mopane woodlands, open seasonal and permanent floodplains fringed on either side by the picturesque channels and islands along the Gomoti and Santantadibe Channels – Qorokwe offers an abundance of wildlife. Game drives, walks, boating and mokoro present life-changing opportunities of viewing and photographing the variety of life here, including lion, spotted hyaena, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, elephant and buffalo, to name a few, as well as the myriad birds that are attracted to such pristine surrounds.

Interior designer, Michelle Throssell on Qorokwe:  

  • Sharing a similar design philosophy to Joy Brasler Architects, Michelle Throssell was thrilled to be introduced to the Qorokwe team by Joy Brasler in order to propose an interior design solution for the camp. According to Michelle, “Working off Joy’s canvas is always a pleasure and so our interior design concept grew very much from her inspiration. The selection of interior architecture finishes, various timbers, ceiling details, lighting, shopfitting and fixtures was a collaborative effort and we tried to involve the Qorokwe team in every decision to give them something that reflected their vision for the camp and also their passion for the bush. The palette of colours and materials was inspired by the Botswana landscape as well as by Joy’s strong architectural concept, resulting in a rich mix of bleached timbers, darker stains and accents of rust and burnt orange. By introducing a combination of organic shapes and textural diversity from live-edged timber to steel and canvas, we have created a warm, enveloping space providing comfort and luxury in an understated way”.

According to lead architect, Joy Brasler, and interior designer, Michelle Throssell, the design inspiration for Qorokwe came from the natural setting of the Botswana landscape, resulting in a rich mix of bleached timbers, darker stains and accents of rust and burnt orange.

Project Spotlight: Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp, BotswanaThe materials chosen to build the camp include steel frames with infill panels to insulate against heat and cold, canvas and timber decks. Detailed timber ceilings are perforated with light to mimic the experience of being beneath the trees at the side of the lagoon, so that the entire camp experience blends in with its beautiful natural surroundings.

www.wilderness-safaris.com/camps/qorokwe-camp

AVANI Gaborone Resort & Casino Reopens Following Renovation

AVANI Gaborone Resort & Casino reopens following renovation

850 495 Daniel Fountain

AVANI Gaborone Resort & Casino is celebrating the completion of an extensive renovation, representing an investment of $7.5 million (£5.6 million) by Minor Hotels, the parent company.

All 156 guest rooms and public spaces including the main entrance and porte cochere have been renovated with the aim of introducing AVANI’s signature design hallmarks. The new contemporary design and technological enhancements make for a modern, functional and relaxing experience.

The open plan, design for living lobby blends reception, lounge, eateries and chill out spaces. The interior is spacious and natural light has been used to great effect, allowing for a communal space where guests can relax, meet and eat. The Pantry offers fresh, quick bites for life on the move, comfort food, fresh fruit juices, barista coffees and more.

The Conservatory, located in the centre of the lobby, provides an informal, communal eatery. Design elements include a leafy graphic design wall, ceiling punkah fans, wicker seating and parquet flooring. The menu features sandwiches, hamburgers, salads and pasta dishes and delivers on AVANI’s promise of honest food, using freshly sourced local ingredients as well as naturally raised poultry and sustainable meat and seafood.

The layout of the guest bedrooms and bathrooms has been redesigned to ensure the best use of space. The design is functional, modern and comfortable.

Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp – Luxury Eco-Chic in the Heart of the Delta

Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp to open in December

595 268 Daniel Fountain

Qorokwe Camp, a new Wilderness Safaris Classic Camp due to open in the private, wildlife-rich 26,180-hectare (64,692-acre) Qorokwe Concession in Botswana in December 2017, will offer the perfect blend of luxury eco-chic within a beautiful Okavango Delta setting.

Designed by lead architect, Joy Brasler and interior designer, Michelle Throssell, Qorokwe Camp is situated along the banks of a beautiful kidney-shaped lagoon. The nine elegant tented suites, one of which is a spacious family suite with its own splash pool, and the main area, which comprises a dining area, lounge, library, bar and infinity swimming pool, are built on raised decked platforms (about two metres/six feet off the ground). This not only provides spectacular views of the lagoon and surrounding bushveld, but also enables the vegetation to thrive underneath the suites – a unique environmental advantage as most rooms create ‘dead’ space beneath.

According to Joy Brasler, materials chosen to build the camp include steel frames with infill panels to insulate against heat and cold, canvas and timber decks. Detailed timber ceilings are perforated with light to mimic the experience of being beneath the trees at the side of the lagoon so that the entire camp experience blends in with its beautiful natural surroundings. “The language of the infrastructure is seen as an elemental and contemporary response to an insertion in this landscape – the interiors are a response to the colours and activities of Africa, with the emotive use of materials, colour and form,” she said.

Michelle Throssel reiterated that their combined inspiration came from the natural setting, stating that the palette of colours and materials was motivated by the Botswana landscape, resulting in a rich mix of bleached timbers, darker stains and accents of rust and burnt orange. “By introducing a combination of organic shapes and textural diversity from live-edged timber to steel and canvas, we have created a warm, enveloping space providing comfort and luxury in an understated way,” Michelle added.

In line with Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to operating with as light an eco-footprint as possible, Qorokwe will be 100% solar-powered and all water will be heated by means of thermodynamic solar geysers, further helping to mitigate the camp’s carbon emissions. “We are also excited to have used a new building technique for the Delta, one that comprises an entirely steel sub-structure,“ said Qorokwe GM, Daniel Crous. “Although this is more expensive than building with wood, we believe that it is a more environmentally and economically sound method in the long run – requiring less ‘reconstructions’, as well as being easier to remove, thus leaving less of an environmental footprint. In addition, using steel removes the threat of termites and therefore there is no need to put chemically treated wood into the ground where it may affect the immediate environment.”

Owned by the Maun-based Calitz family, the Qorokwe (meaning “the place where the buffalo broke through the bush into the water”) Concession is a spectacular and highly productive mix of fertile Okavango habitats. Qorokwe’s diverse landscape includes scattered acacia and mopane woodlands, open seasonal and permanent floodplains and is fringed on either side by the picturesque channels and islands along the Gomoti and Santantadibe Channels. Guests can explore the exclusive concession on day and night game drives and nature walks led by highly-skilled guides, as well as enjoy mokoro and boating activities, depending on the water levels.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Calitz family to reveal this exclusive new land-based camp and private concession – a highly-productive game-viewing area that has been unutilised for the past four years. The beauty of the landscape and our experiences in the Qorokwe Concession to date are such that we know our guests can look forward to exceptional wildlife experiences, in addition to a world-class and original camp offering,” said Kim Nixon, Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD.

Wilderness Safaris Relaunches Little Vumbura

Wilderness Safaris relaunches Little Vumbura in Botswana

699 466 Daniel Fountain

After an extensive refurbishment and partial rebuild, Little Vumbura Camp has reopened in Wilderness Safaris’ private Vumbura Concession in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. With only six intimate tented suites, the camp offers a true Delta-island experience, complete with an array of both land and water-based safari activities.

“We are thrilled about Little Vumbura’s refreshed look and feel, with the tents now boasting spacious rooms that lead onto a lounge area, having increased in size by 30%. They also feature large windows that bring the feel of the outdoors within so that guests can enjoy the beauty of the bush whilst also relaxing in their suite. The family tent has also increased by 30% and the intimate nature of the camp remains the perfect choice for exclusive family safaris”, said Vumbura Concession Manager, Nick Leuenberger.

Wilderness Safaris Relaunches Little VumburaOther improvements to the camp include the extension of the bar area, which now includes a circular bar with a lot more space for guests to enjoy a range of cocktails or their favourite drink whilst watching the sunset. The new shaded pergola, situated between the dining and lounge area, is ideal for afternoon tea or midday relaxation and also provides another scenic venue choice for communal dining. The main dining area now features new decking and free-standing furniture. The new fire deck will be used for pre-dinner drinks, offering the most incredible 360-degree views of the concession.

“One of the things that makes Little Vumbura special is the unique arrival into camp by boat which can only be experienced in a true year-round water camp in the Okavango Delta”, added Leuenberger. “Little Vumbura really does tick all the boxes in terms of exceptional wildlife viewing in addition to tranquil water experiences. You can begin your day by floating serenely through the waterlilies on a silent mokoro and end it on an expertly-guided game drive, watching a herd of 1000 buffalo against a golden African sunset”.

Wilderness Safaris Relaunches Little VumburaThe rebuild of Little Vumbura follows the extensive refurbishment of the main area of Vumbura South Camp in October last year. North Camp, South Camp and Little Vumbura all provide the perfect base from which to explore the diverse Vumbura Concession, renowned for its variety of activities on offer – on land, on water and by air! “It is a “hybrid” concession with the best of both worlds – permanent swamps, dry woodland and everything in between. It is the only Wilderness concession in Botswana that offers hot-air ballooning safaris – an absolute must-do bucket list experience”, Leuenberger concluded.

Botswana's Chobe Water Villas to open in July

Botswana’s Chobe Water Villas to open in July

896 544 Daniel Fountain

Opening on 1 July 2016, Chobe Water Villas is an exclusive and intimate lodge, accommodating guests in 16 raised villas in the 150km² Namibian Kasika Conservancy. All the villas are situated directly on the edge of a lagoon, enjoying direct views of Sedudu Island, Chobe National Park and the Safari Town of Kasane in Botswana.

Chobe Water Villas will host a maximum of 32 guests in its uniquely positioned villas, lounges, bar, restaurant, infinity pool, pool desk and African “Boma”, a shielded area once used to protect both man and livestock, but now a traditional place to enjoy a “Braai” (BBQ) and camp fire while on safari.

Opening on 1 July 2016, Chobe Water Villas is an exclusive and intimate lodge, accommodating guests in 16 raised villas
The luxurious water villas have 85m² of living space, including lounge and bedroom areas, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors which fold back completely, opening up to the 19m² front terrace with built in day-bed and views of the Chobe River. Every villa also has a 12m² rear terrace which faces the natural bush and is the perfect spot to enjoy spectacular evening sunsets.

Opening on 1 July 2016, Chobe Water Villas is an exclusive and intimate lodge, accommodating guests in 16 raised villas
Under thatch and partially open to the gardens, the Main Lodge building overlooks the spectacular infinity pool and pool deck, blessed with unobstructed views of the neighbouring rivers and national parks. The Main Lodge features a 36-seat restaurant, cosy cocktail bar and library lounge with complimentary all day butler station.

www.chobewatervillas.com