We’ve come to expect a certain style for bush lodges. Classic or modern, muted, neutral hues and natural tones always abound. The décor should “blend” into the landscape after all. You expect the colours and textures of the earth, foliage, and animals to manifest into the luxe surrounds of your bush hideaway, right?
The funny thing is that’s exactly what acclaimed local designer Sarah Ord did when she started to work on the new Noka Camp. She turned to its surrounds. And looking down across the Lephalala River ravine over which it hangs, and across the hills of the Lapalala Wilderness nature reserve in Limpopo, beige was nowhere to be seen. “I visited the site twice during the project — in different seasons — and what I found was unbelievably beautiful palette. Lush greens in summer and the leaves changing in autumn,” explains Ord. “There were terracottas and peachy pinks, fiery oranges. And the greens!” she adds with awe.
Sure, we know Ord has a proclivity towards a shot of bright (check out her past work on spaces like The Stack in Cape Town for evidence) — but really, all she did in this new luxe escape was engage with what nature gave her to play with. So what you’ll get as you settle into one of the five entirely off-the-grid villas — or the five-sleeper family villa that’s set to open shortly — is a contemporary cocoon of warm, engaging tones, natural textures, and loads of locally designed and sourced products. Décor details aside, you’ll get to lie in the sunken bath of your Yuji Yamazaki-designed tented den and gaze over the land. Or break the lazing on your deck with a dip in your private pool. Feeling brave? Take to your outdoor bed for a night under a canopy of sky (and mozzie nets), perhaps with a glass of something exceptional from the wine cellar as a nightcap.
No doubt, you’re there for the wildlife too, and there’s plenty to be seen with your private ranger — including lion, cheetah, elephant, and more than 300 bird species. With the river at your feet, there’s also fishing, frogging, and swimming. And there’s the in-house astronomer to take you on a journey through the heavens. Sounds like total, tranquil bliss, doesn’t it?
• For more info on Noka Camp, visit: lepogolodges.com.
• From the August edition of Wanted, 2020.