Reconstruction and refurbishment projects are in full swing at a number of luxury safari camps and lodges owned by leading experiential travel company &Beyond as part of a planned investment of ZAR 230 million that commenced in 2013.
Drawing their inspiration directly from nature, the suites at &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge are being elevated above their surroundings, gazing out onto the winding channels and lush floodplains of the Delta. Uncluttered and elegant, the lodge will feature a copper palette, with natural rusty tones. Copper-clad mekoro, sculpted wooden tables and intricate baskets will celebrate the very best of Botswana craft. At night, the rooms will become private cocoons, with fireplaces providing warmth and light in winter.
The lodge is now fully closed in order to allow for heavy construction work, which will continue until July. The entire lodge will be comprehensively remodelled during this time, with the latest in alternative energy sources installed in line with &Beyond’s core ethos of Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People.
Eight completely revamped guest suites, each raised high above the papyrus beds of the Delta and boasting a private plunge pool, will reopen on 1 July 2014, as will the freshly re-designed guest area. Work will continue in areas of the lodge blocked off to guests post the re-opening, with an additional four suites due to open by 1 September and a further three planned thereafter.
A quintessential safari camp rich in history, &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, situated in a private concession within the famed Masai Mara, is undergoing an extensive rebuild designed to enhance the camp’s rich history. Building on its history of classical African safari, &Beyond Kichwa Tembo is being redesigned to celebrate its signature elements of romance and nostalgia, as well as to showcase the panoramic Mara views. Boasting interiors that are Maasai-inspired, simple yet contemporary, the suites will enhance the guests’ sense of privacy complemented by enduring and timeless style.
A total of 28 classic tents have been removed to make space for the same number of superior tents, although the camp’s 12 luxury tents, which look out onto the Sabaringo River, remain open throughout the rebuild period. The camp’s swimming pool has also been closed to undergo construction. A separate guest area has been set up on a temporary basis to accommodate these tents, allowing guests to enjoy the intimacy of a far smaller camp. Guests staying in the luxury tents are also currently enjoying the use of their own private check-in areas, as well as a selection of beautiful private dining locations.
“The innovative design of &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge is driven by nature and reflects the sustainable footprint of the lodge while remaining warm and intimate. A classical safari camp with a contemporary twist, &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp will be a private oasis of warmth and elegance in the midst of the Masai Mara,” says Joss Kent, &Beyond’s CEO.
&Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, set in the far north of Tanzania’s famous Serengeti National Park, is also undergoing rejuvenation. Inspired by the Great Migration, &Beyond Grumeti is in the process of receiving a brand new look that combines hues of wildebeest grey with natural stone and bone, as well as bleached cypress.
The ten contemporary guest tents are being rebuilt to include a small butler’s lobby for discrete service and privacy and bathrooms are being reconfigured with al fresco shower towers made of natural stone and open to the sun and stars. Guest areas are being updated and restyled, with a new extended deck creating more space for outdoor dining and the dining room opened up to the traditional African boma, or outdoor cooking area. Rustic yet sophisticated, the overall effect will be a simple and elegant combination of textures that constantly reminds guests of the camp’s incredible location.
Three rooms have been closed until 26 February and, once they have been reopened, another five rooms will be blocked off till 18 March. The entire camp will be closed from that date until the end of April, when building work will be completed and the camp will re-open, although the installation of décor and furniture will continue in phases until October.
&Beyond also has grand plans for &Beyond Benguerra Island, freshly acquired by the company in November 2013 and situated in Mozambique’s tropical Bazaruto Archipelago. The lodge is due to receive a brand new look this May, with further refurbishment scheduled for early in 2015. Since taking over management, &Beyond has imprinted its unique brand of warm hospitality at the lodge, ensuring that guests experience the very best of this magnificent island destination, with its spectacular sea views.
Phase one of the refurbishment project planned for &Beyond Benguerra Island will commence in May and will include upgrades to the guest rooms, lodge infrastructure and vehicles. One of the existing casitas will be refurbished to showcase the lodge’s planned new look and will feature a generous plunge pool, spacious private deck and completely revamped interior design. The lodge’s new theme will showcase the natural beauty of the Bazaruto Archipelago, focusing on the spectacular sea views and the simplicity of island life. This part of the refurbishment project will be completed by June 2014 and will involve the closure of three rooms. All work will be carried out with guest comfort as the top priority and will have minimum impact on the guest experience.
The second phase of the project will be rolled out early in 2015, when the entire lodge will be closed to allow for the comprehensive refurbishment of the remaining casitas and cabanas, as well as the family villa. During this time the lodge’s main areas will be scaled back to create a more intimate space with new furniture and fittings.