The Bwanari Lodge Project
Madikwe Game Reserve, Northwest Province, South Africa

The project establishes a public/ private partnership in one of South Africa’s most strategic economic sectors and reverses a long history of tribal dispossession by giving outright ownership of a financially lucrative asset to members of a poor local community.

The site, a natural circular clearing in a wood of indigenous trees set on sloping ground against a rocky ridge, enjoys shelter from the south-westerly winds and unobstructed views north over the veld and bush. The geometry of the clearing generates the radial structure of the building, evoking the plan of the Tswana Sebeso (fireplace). Given the natural shelter and orientation, vertical walls are minimised and the primary sheltering element becomes a curved thatched roof. The interior space becomes a microcosm of the experience of the park, contrasting the openness of the veld with the density of the bush.

Guest rooms are accessed via a courtyard reminiscent of a traditional Tswana court situated to the rear of the main lodge building. Guests enjoy a private world experiencing the changing light of the veld and enjoying views to the distant Enselberg Mountains to the North.

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