For many people, the month of November is traditionally associated with giving thanks and being grateful for those things we cherish most. So, with that in mind, our blogs this month will each pay homage to some of things we are most grateful for. It is an opportunity to salute our adventure-seeking guests and warm-hearted staff that are making a meaningful difference to our planet’s land, wildlife and people.
Today, however, we are grateful for change and the ability to continue to wow our discerning guests, some of whom have been travelling with us for 25 years!
In 2013 we officially embarked on an ambitious three-year, USD 31 million lodge investment strategy in order to maintain the high level of world-class luxury accommodation that our guests have come to expect.
With several complex, grand-scale lodge rebuild and refurbishment projects underway at the same time (which is no mean feat), the highly esteemed and celebrated architects, interior designers, builders, one-of-a-kind carpenters, sustainable energy experts and, of course, our incredibly hard-working &Beyond warehouse, logistics and lodge teams all pulled together and we are tremendously proud of the results.
In addition to the extensive, and already award-winning, rebuilds of some of our most iconic lodges, the vast majority of our properties across Africa also received glamourous makeovers and touch-ups.
And so, on this #TransformationTuesday, we invite you to join us on a visual ‘before and after’ journey through some of our most exciting lodge transformations. Picture yourself here…!
1. &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, Kenya
Building on its history of timeless African safari elegance, the iconic &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp was completely rebuilt and exquisitely redesigned to further enhance its signature elements of romance and nostalgia, as well as to celebrate its panoramic views of the game-filled Masai Mara plains.
With a strong emphasis on guest privacy, the new camp layout maximises the uninterrupted views ensuring that each tented suite enjoys its very own private Mara experience; the luxury tents overlooking the endless plains and the superior tents boasting views of the Sabaringo Forest. The tents have comfortable built-in daybeds where guests can relax and take in the spectacular scenery, as well as large bathrooms with double vanities, generous showers and separate “loos with a view”.
As guests arrive at &Beyond Kichwa Tembo, they are instantly welcomed by the commanding view. The spacious guest areas incorporate split-level spaces where guests can relax and unwind. The different layers can accommodate high guest volumes in peak season, yet still provide a sense of intimacy during quieter times. The large windows invite the Mara inside, making it feel like part of the guest area.
Simple yet contemporary, the Maasai-inspired lodge is elegant and timeless, firmly entrenching &Beyond Kichwa Tembo as the unrivalled luxury tented camp of its size in the greater Mara.
Before and After
2. &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana
&Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge has without a doubt re-emerged as the most architecturally unique and unparalleled lodge the Okavango Delta has ever seen. Our teams truly pushed the architectural boundaries to ensure that &Beyond Sandibe is the leader in terms of its cutting-edge design and light sustainable footprint.
The sheer height and scale of the new guest area, whose structure mimics the tailbones and body armour of the pangolin, literally takes your breath away. Ascending a set of stairs, guests enter the lodge between the segments of shingled skin, reaching a raised, tranquil terrace. The vast area is split into three levels where guests can relax and unwind.
The nests of the weaver bird were the inspiration for the guest suites. Designed for privacy and to emphasise the magnificent Delta views, each elevated suite peers out from a canopy of wild palms and fig trees. The overall feeling is woody and ethereal, with bright copper highlights.
In summer, &Beyond Sandibe is all about outdoor living. Each guest veranda boasts a private plunge pool with comfortable daybeds, a space that is also ideal for al fresco private dining. In winter, the suites become cosy cocoons warmed by a wood-burning fireplace.
Words simply cannot describe the groundbreaking design nor do any justice to the extraordinary beauty of this lodge. It really does need to be witnessed in person.
Before and After
3. &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, Tanzania
&Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp boasts a stylish new look that was inspired by the world-famous Great Migration, a natural phenomenon that takes place every winter right on &Beyond Grumeti’s doorstep.
Rustic yet sophisticated, the tented suites combine hues of wildebeest grey with accents of natural stone and bone, as well as bleached cypress. Elegant yet playful, the interiors provide quirky touches that emphasise and highlight the surrounding natural beauty.
All ten suites overlook the Grumeti River and its ever-entertaining resident pods of hippo, while sliding doors open out onto shaded private verandas where guests can sit peacefully taking in the spectacular view. A butler’s hatch allows for discreet service ensuring uninterrupted, blissful relaxation.
The open-fronted guest area and domed bar are adorned with beaded artefacts and all boast views of the lush, riverine setting. The spacious decks are perfect for enjoying meals and sundowners overlooking the river, while the camp’s rim-flow swimming pool provides a view of the hippos lazing in the river below.
The new &Beyond Grumeti is elegant, with an understated sense of humour. It is a sophisticated and soulful home away from home that has been redesigned to complement and emphasise the incredible natural Serengeti surroundings.
Before and After
4. &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge, South Africa
Our much-loved &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge underwent a dramatic USD 2 million rebuilds and the results are astounding.
Each of the 20 classic thatched guest cottages and ensuite bathrooms were generously extended to offer a more spacious and comfortable room layout. Sleek new floor-to-ceiling glass windows also now provide more natural light and accentuate the clean, beautiful space. The private verandas have also been extended, allowing for intimate private dinners for two, and the pathway leading to each suite has been reconfigured for additional privacy.
Creamy soft linen, soft tinted prints and classy etchings combine with the evocative smell of thatch to carry the classic safari atmosphere into each private cottage. The modern, and more than spacious, ensuite bathrooms boast romantic al fresco showers and large, soothing bathtubs.
The lodge’s pool area was dramatically enhanced with a new rim-flow swimming pool that is frequented regularly by herds of elephant. Nearby, a tranquil, world-class spa and fitness sala ensure that guests truly unwind on their South African safari.
Before and After
5. &Beyond Matetsi River Lodge, Zimbabwe
Unrivalled in its offering as the only big game safari experience just outside of Victoria Falls, our beloved &Beyond Matetsi River Lodge has returned to the &Beyond portfolio. With a breathtaking 15 km (9 miles) stretch of private Zambezi River frontage, &Beyond Matetsi offers an exceptional array of wildlife activities on its concession.
Nestled on an exclusive stretch of the mighty Zambezi, &Beyond Matetsi River Lodge celebrates the region’s fascinating heritage with authentic features and effortlessly combines them with light and airy contemporary interiors. Designed to make the most of the reserve’s spectacular views, the lodge’s two camps, of just nine suites each, are complemented by a fantastic offering of tranquil guest areas.
The lodge exteriors pay homage to Zimbabwe’s rich basket-weaving traditions while spacious, contemporary interiors are embellished with natural finishes and abstract artwork created by a renowned local artist. Each camp includes a dedicated guest area that boasts sweeping views of the Zambezi.
The shared central guest area offers the perfect opportunity to while away the hours in between activities, indulging in a soothing treatment at the tranquil massage sala or perusing through a handpicked selection of wines at the exclusive cellar. The more actively inclined can make their way to a well-equipped fitness centre or enjoy a lap in the 23 meters (76 foot) swimming pool.
For more extraordinary photos of the brand new &Beyond Matetsi and to read a recent guest’s review of the safari experience, click here.