I am blessed with a job that allows me to travel looking at hotels, photographing and writing about their design. Perhaps I should blog too about the experiences I enjoy, but there are only so many minutes in a day, aren’t there? To look at an hotel properly takes two nights. The first you enjoy the impressions, the second you look beyond them and at the functionality of the design as well as how it works with the operation.On my first autumn visit to Bushmans Kloof I fell in love with the mix of the local vernacular with very European concepts of luxury. Condé Nast shared my enthusiasm and the next year they made it their favourite hotel in the world. Since then I have been back in the winter to look at the new spa developments, and really enjoyed the visit. In the depths of the South African winter temperatures in the Cederberg get very low, and there is snow on the mountain tops, so the 19 rooms of Bushmans Kloof as they are in the heart of the Cederberg Wilderness are not exactly high on South Africans mid week break listing.
What a good decision it was to end weeks of work by looking again at BK. We had the choice of rooms and were treated like royalty! As the only people on the bush drives our guide Zenobia (Zettie from here on in) was ours to command. The winter is not a good time to see game because there is so much water available in the bush that they don’t all trek to the waterhole as they do in late summer. However the bush blooms with wild flowers and blossoms and there is plenty of bird life, and Zettie was expert at finding the elusive bucks. We were delighted to be getting the best of both worlds, then. A beautifully designed room, great service in a beautiful location.
Bushmans Kloof was set up to help save the Cape Zebra from extinction That now well on the way to being achieved, supported by funds from the Tollman family (owners of Red Carnation hotels), the reserve is now helping with the research into the sustainability of the Cape Leopard population. The reserves 16,000 hectares are surrounded by active farms, not noted for tolerance of predators, so it is an uphill task. Guests are encouraged to join the game drives at the times best suited to seeing (and photographing) game, which is early morning and early evening. That first evening we were promised something special.
But as page two will show, we had far more than we expected.