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Effect Magazine’s design hotels to watch: Xigera Safari Lodge

There are beautiful hotels – and then there are hotels with beautiful design, where exceptional attention to interiors and architecture elevates the entire experience for their guests. In this edition of our series of hotels for design lovers, we visit Botswana’s Xigera Safari Lodge

While an African safari is top of many a bucket list, it’s thanks to Red Carnation’s director of design and projects Toni Tollman, architectural designer Philip Fourie and architect Anton de Kock for making the experience that much more stylish with the recent opening of Xigera Safari Lodge.

Located on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta, this eclectic property defines boutique status with just 12 individually designed suites, including one two-bedroom family suite situated on two islands bridged together with an extraordinary bronze lily centrepiece designed by Anton de Kock and created by Otto du Plessis.

All other suites were innovatively created without the use of any concrete, and float delicately above the water, allowing wildlife to pass uninterruptedly beneath. “Our design ethos is entirely inspired by the extraordinary wilderness that surrounds us,” the design team tells Effect.

Our design ethos is entirely inspired by the extraordinary wilderness that surrounds us

Design team, Xigera Safari Lodge

A key aspect of Xigera is its championship of local talent, and de Kock worked closely with Cape Town’s acclaimed Southern Guild Gallery to showcase the world’s largest collection of South African art and design.

As such, bespoke works from a slew of Africa’s young artists were commissioned exclusively for the property, including a human-sized woven nest by Porky Hefer on the deck, wooden benches and chairs handcrafted by Adam Birch plus, the pièce de resistance, a totemic fire pit sculpture by blacksmith-artist Conrad Hicks. “We are immensely proud of our ‘living gallery’ that showcases incredible African talent,” they add.

Step inside the guest rooms and you’ll find Otto du Plessis’ timber wardrobes with etched brass doors depicting landscapes and botanical scenes taken directly from the surrounding Moremi Reserve, hand carved walnut and ceramic ‘Imbizo’ dining tables by master of hand-thrown ceramics Chuma Maweni, and ceramic lamps by Ardmore designed exclusively for the Xigera to capture the rich plant life and wild creatures.

Copper bath at Xigera Safari Lodge

As for the en suite bathrooms, they come complete with free-standing copper tub, plus a choice of indoor and outdoor showers. Not just aesthetically pleasing, the lodge gets full marks for sustainability too, conserving energy using the latest Tesla solar-hybrid system which supplies 95% of its required power. Many of its features are also crafted from reused materials, such as a giant firepit fashion from repurposed steel and 150 large-scale wood sculptures crafted from fallen timber found on location. Sophisticated and stylish – a hotel of the future.

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