The power of design can either make or break one’s experience of a place: whether it is your own home, a New York boutique or a safari spot in the middle of the most remote nowhere. I’m sure you can immediately call to mind a space that made you feel safe and cozy, or irrevocably awe-enchanted. And let’s not go down that road where harsh fluorescent lighting, claustrophobic ergonomics and emotionally sterile spaces left you feeling an urgent need to escape!
If you think about it, decor isn’t simply the color splashed across the walls, the placement of knick-knacks on a shelf or paintings on a wall. Decor is, like personalities are to human beings, the very heart and soul of a space.
For example, the same shade of red lipstick on one person’s face can be a bold statement of uniquely audacious style, on another, it comes across as a garish attempt at slavishly parroting magazine-dictated fashion. And so, too, decor is an enigmatic conjuring of artfully curated layers, chosen to express – in their individualistically specific combinations – the very essence of a space: it’s heritage, its story, its values and its intentions.
Let’s look at another example: a bedroom is a bedroom by any other name, right? But when a bedroom is specially created for a traveler on a particular kind of journey, then every aspect of what constitutes ‘decor’ must be thoughtfully pondered and pulled together: from how the light filters through the room between dusk and dawn, the fluid ease of ergonomic movement through and between the room’s functional elements – entryway, bed, en-suite bathroom, curtains, lighting, right down to the decorative details which can often sing more profoundly than, for instance, high-tech gadgetry and expensive mattresses.
As you can imagine, we’ve come to deeply appreciate the impact that decor has on those who embark on adventures they’ve deliberately designed to escape the physical and cognitive confines of la vie quotidienne with the express desire to discover brand new sensualities and explore utterly unknown cultures.
This is why we thought you’d love these three distinctly unique interior wonderlands which will take you from urban-chic Cape Town luxury to spectacular, sustainably stylish safari spots in the Kruger National Park, South Africa and Botswana’s divine Delta.
Saseka Tented Camp
A Truly Beautiful, Brand New Tented Camp in Thornybush Private Reserve
Saseka, the Tsonga word for ‘beautiful’, rests beneath a welcoming umbrella of ancient indigenous trees on the voluptuous curve of the Monwana River as it sweeps through the untouched private wilderness of Thornybush Game Reserve in the greater Kruger National Park – a Big Five and game-abundant paradise.
We were overjoyed to finally feast our eyes on renowned design team, Silvio Rech and Lesley Carsten’s newest decor artistry at Saseka, whose stylish savoir vivre plays out in an intimate decor game between ecologically inspired color palettes, history-infused botanical motifs, sophisticated contemporary audacity and the sepia romance of Hemingway-esque tented safaris. Smart repurposing and a definitively green design philosophy makes this one of 2020’s most sustainably beautiful camps in Africa!
We looked at the indigenous landscape – the flora and fauna,” says Lesley. “The camp is adjacent to a natural watercourse. The surrounding vegetation is typical riverine bush featuring excellent examples of classic river trees like Jackalberry, Apple Leaf and Leadwood. Our imaginations were fuelled by nature,” she continues. “Hues of ivory, dark green, apple, sage and subtle flushes of pink echo the characteristic tones of the flowers found in the bush.”
For the ceilings in the tented suites, the team (…) compiled a list of the botanical species found in the area around Saseka. They then worked with the National Herbarium in Pretoria to pull all of the pressings of the different species collected in the region (…).
After sorting through hundreds of pressings, they chose the most visually striking ones and had them scanned in high resolution in order to compile a canvas for the ceilings. Guests can lie in bed and read the captions of each species, and at night, lit from behind, the draped fabric casts a soft, diffused light that sets the mood for relaxation.Saseka Tented Camp – as featured in VISI
“Our imaginations were fuelled by nature”
“Saseka’s stylish savoir vivre“
A New Boutique Offering at the Foot of Table Mountain
Within the majestic maternal embrace of Table Mountain, and the exciting cosmopolitan city at your feet, Camissa House is less boutique hotel than a gloriously luxurious ‘house hotel’. Pad barefoot about this gorgeous urban casa before heading out onto the rooftop for sundowners you’ll never forget – and then a dining adventure at any of Cape Town’s delicious feasteries!
“Contemporary Retro Decadence”
The main area, bar and lounges are sumptuously appointed in rich textures and jewel-like colors, with walls adorned with eye-candy wallpapers depicting Table Mountain and gorgeous textures, punctuated with internationally acclaimed South African art.
Relaxing, comfort-designed furniture is clearly inspired by mid-century modern lines with a retro twist.
The concept of Camissa House being like a ‘home away from home‘ is tangible, from the elegant bar and open-plan kitchen where you can help yourself to a thirst-quencher or afternoon snack. This homely atmosphere invites the most marvelous relaxation – but rest assured, there is always a helpful member of staff on hand.
Returning ‘home’ from a night on the town, everything is just as you’d imagine it being at home: golden, romantic lighting and a butler to brew you a perfect cup of tea while you unwind in the lounge, or to serve you a night-cap in your bedroom.
“Exquisitely Conceptualized; Fynbos-Inspired”
The suites are each exquisitely conceptualized, individually inspired by the unique floral kingdom of fynbos. (Camissa‘s logo, too, pays homage to a winged patron of these blooms and South Africa’s national flower, the King Protea which has, over time, become imbued with powerful meaning: an icon of resilience and rebirth, the King Protea – like all fynbos – relies on the apparent devastation of wildfires to release its dormant buds for germination, as well as obliterating disease and strengthening the species.)
From the bespoke wallpaper-art depicting fynbos, each room’s color palette flows naturally from the fynbos bloom’s special coloring.
“Bathed in light”
A Gem in the Heart of Khwai Private Reserve
Tuludi is Natural Selection’s most luxurious safari camp to date, with its seven treehouse-styled tents nestled on the edge of an immense flood plain, providing breathtaking views of the untouched wilderness of the Khwai Private Reserve in the northern extent of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The camp overlooks a lagoon which is home to a resident pod of hippo!
Beneath the cool, dappled shade of leafy leadwood trees, the tents are marvelously spacious, each including their own lounge and dressing room. The six double-room tents (and one exceptionally roomy family tent) all have their own en-suite bathroom with a bath, indoor and outdoor shower, as well as a private plunge pool.
In a dreamy mirroring of the Okavango, the décor comes alive with Ardmore’s gorgeously wild-inspired textiles, playfully adorned with monkeys, crocodiles, leopards, and boldly detailed flora.
Chandeliers of dip-dyed rings of high thorn and jacaranda branches hang from the ceilings, and walls are lovingly adorned with bespoke artwork by Tuludi artist, Sarah Kelly.
“Beautiful, inside & outside”
Overlooking the unique natural wetland, incorporating both the wet floodplain and dryer savanna, the landscape and wildlife from the tents and main area are a sight to behold, with a constant flow of animals coming to quench their thirst at the water elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, plains game – and their predators, like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and wild dogs.
“Fragments of Africa”
Award-winning mosaic artist, Sarah Pryke, celebrates the Delta’s iconic wildlife across the main area’s bar in shimmering shards of artfully placed glass. As the golden hour sets the mosaic ablaze, choose your favorite sundowner from an expertly curated selection of South Africa’s finest wines, a robust range of craft beers and artisanal botanical gins.