When it’s time to savour the delectable pan-African cuisine at Gondwana – the Southern Cape’s award-winning big-five game reserve – you can now drink in dramatic views of the ancient landscape in which the lodge rests from every table in the house, including the new spectacular alfresco dining veranda and expanded breakfast boma.
The luxurious Kwena Lodge now offers an expansive indoor-outdoor space, perfectly situated to offer breathtaking views over the fynbos-covered mountains, gorges, plains and valleys that once formed part of the ancient landmass known as Gondwanaland. “There is big sky, magnificent rolling hills blanketed in Fynbos and mountains everywhere you look as well as passing wildlife of course,” says owner Wendy Rutherfoord, who oversaw the addition together with interior designer Lynette Kuhn of Urban Jungle.
Flexibility is key, says Wendy: “As the seasons change, this space can be opened up completely or enclosed if the weather is playing up and has three fireplaces which provide a lovely ambiance and keep guests cozy.” The covered verandah is utilized for lunches to keep out of the hot midday sun that is frequent in both summer and winter days while still enjoying the outdoors. It is also lovely for elegant lodge dinners during the many warm evenings on the reserve with everything completely open. The custom furnishings provide the same plush and Afro chic feel of the existing indoor dining room with locally crafted solid oak tables and upholstered chairs mixed with cane armchairs for comfort and casual African dining.
The inviting décor scheme of Kwena Lodge offers a sophisticated and modern take on the rustic Khoi San dwellings of the original inhabitants of this ancient landscape, The Cape Herders. These nomadic herders followed available grazing for their cattle and so built mud huts with grass roofs using easily available found materials such as tree stumps and reed matts for doors. Gondwana Game Reserve interiors are luxurious and supremely easy on the eye: five-star comfort is guaranteed but in a delightfully natural, organic and subtle way.
“Because we’re located in a fynbos landscape that is saturated with rich colour, we don’t hold back with hues – our bright accents play off the colourful landscape and is very fitting and at home here,” says Wendy. Equally, the basket lights, handcrafted wooden furniture and natural organic textures are a modern reflection of the lodge’s ancient setting.
At the same time the existing boma, beautifully situated near the infinity pool, was enlarged to seat the growing number of guests. “We’ve expanded it and opened it up on the mountain side onto a new deck area that enjoys spectacular views over the valley and waterhole frequented by elephant. Year round, there is no better way to start the day after an exhilarating morning game drive than with a hearty ranger’s breakfast here.” In keeping with its wonderfully rustic ambience, on warm summer evenings the Boma is used for African braais with home-cooked potjies and generous buffet spreads, which is quite distinct from the more sophisticated à la carte counterpart offered in the lodge dining room.
With their spectacular outdoor aspects, these two delightful new eating experiences maximize your experience of Gondwana Game Reserve’s awe-inspiring natural setting – and increase your chance of spotting one of the big-five while you are treated to the most delicious cuisine imaginable.