Game on for design-conscious travelers
Cape Town becomes the official World Design Capital in 2014, making South Africa’s Mother City a must-visit destination for chic travelers. Those looking to expand their city-break with a stylish Big Five safari will find that the five-star Gondwana Game Reserve ticks all the boxes for those looking for a design-led retreat.
At this easy-access reserve – just off the Garden Route, four hours from Cape Town, luxurious accommodation fuses contemporary design with organic African art and culture, topped off with fantastic food and an unforgettable Big Five safari adventure. Comprising 11,000 hectares of privately-owned land, this western cape game reserve takes its name from Gondwanaland, the prehistoric super-continent that was slowly carved and split by tectonic forces into the continents as we know them today.
Guests will love the African feel of the lodge and garden route accommodation. Inspired by the nomadic Khoi-San tribe, the original human populations in the Mossel Bay area, the architecture takes its cue from a traditional African village. At the heart is Kwena Lodge with a fine dining restaurant, a bar/ lounge, a swimming pool and an open-air boma. Utilizing materials from nature, worn paths and stone steps lead to 14 stand-alone Kwena suites – a modern take on the original Khoi-San mud hut dwelling. The round suites have a thatched roof with a round skylight in the centre.
The design of Kwena Lodge mixes traditional and modern influences, resulting in a warm, stylish environment, where the stresses of everyday life are left behind. All interiors were planned by local designer Lynne K Interiors together with Gondwana owner Wendy Rutherfoord. The décor concept is clean and organic with splashes of colour found in the surrounding indigenous Fynbos vegetation. The curvaceous interiors follow the rounded building forms with barely any straight edges in any of the buildings.
The décor in the restaurant and bar/lounge reflects the nomadic lifestyle of the Khoi-San, who were “Cape Herders” and followed the cattle. For example, stumps are used as bar stools with hides over them for comfort; and ‘found’ items, including bone, glass and feathers, were fashioned into a room-dividing screen. Large calabash chandeliers that hang in the dome-shaped roof accent the room and create a romantic and intimate feel.
The interiors of the 14 Kwena Suites follow the contemporary natural feel with colourful African accents throughout. Furnishings are custom-made or sourced in South Africa. Headboards are made of ostrich skin and side tables are stumps topped with African fish basket hanging lamps that shine lights out of sticks. Traditional clay pot fires and an Afro-chic collection of skins, lighting fixtures and artworks complete the authentic feel.
The focal point of the interiors is actually the Great Outdoors – the unique mountainous Fynbos landscape can be seen through floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows that give 180° views, allowing for game-spotting from the living room.