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Luxury lodge living creates a “home away from home” at Limpopo-Lipadi

Creating an interior space which would justify the serene beauty of the remote River Camp located along the majestic Limpopo River in the Tuli block of eastern Botswana was viewed by Christel as an opportunity to showcase both the Botswana landscape and the Motswana culture. Now completed, Christel describes the key interior features of River Camp, her inspirations and how she created "a home away from home" in the secluded southern African bush.

River Camp is the first of six residential lodges to be completed at Limpopo-Lipadi and comprises a selection of 2 and 3 bedroom fully furnished units set around a central facility which includes a kitchen, boma (communal area), dining room and swimming pool. Combining the concept of outdoor living with a rustic industrial design, River Camp creates a unique environment with stunning views of the Limpopo River.

"When Alan and I discussed the interior requirements of the lodges we agreed that they needed to be practical, durable and maintenance friendly. We wanted shareholders to feel that Limpopo-Lipadi was 'a home away from home' therefore we incorporated modern comforts such as hot showers, running water, electricity and a swimming pool with traditional furniture and local arts and crafts.

"It was important for us that each camp had a different feel reflecting the unique location. For River Camp the theme was "industrial camping" which allowed for an interesting combination of canvas, natural timber, pebble finishes and a variety of metals to be used."

In terms of the colour selection Christel selected neutral shades (off-whites, browns and ochre) for the walls, floors and counters adding flashes of colour including orange, copper, silver, dark brown, black and a striking blue inspired by the Woodland Kingfisher.

One of the key influences in the interior of River Camp was the Limpopo River itself. With over 21km of river frontage running through the 32,450 hectare reserve the river is a vital life-giving asset. In recognition of this Christel introduced river pebbles and swirls of moving water in wall features in the showers and the kitchen. She also playfully introduced the age old termite mounds found on the reserve by shaping the wall feature in the kitchen to follow the shape of a termite mound, as well as by adding crafted 'termites' to the outside wall at the central facility.

Utilising the craftsmanship of the local communities was paramount to Christel and in keeping with Limpopo-Lipadi's Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability model. She recalls,

"As part of the brief we were asked to feature unique pieces of furniture and decorative items which we could outsource to craftsmen and women in Botswana.The response to this business venture by the local Motswana was overwhelming and the quality of work produced outstanding.

"By having local individuals or small hands-on companies produce items such as the woven rugs or metal work we've offered some crafters and builders new skills by introducing them to the latest designs and materials. We've also promoted a small part of Motswana culture by supporting the one craft that Botswana is very well known for- the Lala palm weaving. By combining all of the above, we have contributed towards maximizing the shareholders experience and lowering our carbon footprint by sourcing locally where possible."

It has taken over 5 years of vision, enthusiasm, hard work and belief by all involved to create the first residential lodge at Limpopo-Lipadi. Founder Alan Marneweck is understandably proud of the achievement,

"I am delighted with the completion of River Camp both externally and internally. We have worked very hard to make the reserve a welcoming place for shareholders and their guests and we look forward to the feedback that we get from them as the first lodge is occupied this month."

This sentiment is echoed by Christel, who is now working on concepts for the other five camps, as she comments,

"Working with the team here at Limpopo-Lipadi has given me great satisfaction. I feel that the brief for River Camp has not just been met but exceeded. Initial feedback has been very positive and I just hope that current and future shareholders will really view it as 'a home away from home'.