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Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

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This safari lodge in South Africa reveals itself in layers. Take a tour of its beautiful interiors

If you’ve been on a wildlife holiday, you’ll know that at the outset of a safari you have little idea of what to expect. As you trek deep into the jungle, nature slowly reveals her colours and textures. The architecture and design of Singita Sweni – which at the moment is undergoing a re-invention – is meant to be a similar revelation. The palette of dark timber, muddy brown and khaki is brought to life with lime, leaf and olive greens. And once you start to explore, vibrant splashes of teal, emerald, citron, yellow and pale pink will reveal themselves. The new design also promises textures of gold and bronze ore, glossy polished mud, glistening reclaimed wood and richly hued marble. 

Saying that this luxury lodge located at the edge of the River Sweni in Kruger National Park is inspired by its surroundings is understating it a bit; the concept literally brings nature to your feet like the Euphorbia trees that grow through the viewing decks or deck-canopies made from Saligna wood strips. Other ‘nature’ design elements are contrived like nest-shaped pendant lamps and fireplaces polished to look like tree trunks. This raw, almost primeval, style is balanced by modern features like the open-floor plan with floor-to ceiling glass walls and glossy basins abutting slick drop-in bathtubs. A safari chic theme is tied in with elegant soft furnishings of canvas and leather complemented by polished mud curios, African artefacts, ethnic artworks and earthenware pots.  

Bring home this contemporary safari theme by making use of an earth tone colour scheme elevated with splashes of greens, yellows, oranges, cranberry red or teal like those of the colourful birds of South Africa. When adding patterns, use blocks of solid neutrals broken up by slivers of ethnic African prints. Neutral leather sofas or canvas-and-dark-wood folding chairs work well with sheer drapes and gauzy canopy beds. Texture is an important element so add accents like a bamboo-blade ceiling fan, wicker stools, knotted wool bed-runner, sisal rug or a rattan side table.

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