Design Focus

A question we ask ourselves time and time again when we stay in hotels, villas, lodges and tented camps across Africa; when it comes to design and architecture, what exactly is it that distinguishes the good from the bad?

For us, properties with good architecture and design are those that blend with their natural surroundings, yet also manage to stand alone. Working in a kind of symbiosis, both seemingly become better, and stronger, because of the other.


Man-made structures can, of course, never fully integrate with nature, so it’s about finding that subtle interplay that makes a property feel as if it’s integrated in the landscape which surrounds it.

The best examples always have a strong sense of personality, a personality of their own that is easily identifiable and unlike anything or anyone else, due to the distinctive and carefully curated way the property has come together.

There is also a distinct feeling that comes about when spending time in a well-designed space;  an aura of peace, simplicity and joy, picking up on the thought, skill and love that has gone into it. You find yourself pausing to admire lines, light, shadows, textures as they slowly reveal themselves to you over time. 

For this newsletter, we’ve shared a selection of places where we feel this is the case; where nature, architecture and design have come together as a real success story. We hope you enjoy our selection.

Photo credits: Thank you to andBeyond, Katinka Bester, Kisawa Sanctuary, Great Plains Conservation, Natural Selection, Singita, Sterrekopje, Tswalu, Ultimate Safaris, Wilderness Destinations and Xigera.

We’d love to hear from you if you have recently discovered examples of great architecture and design when on your travels. Please press reply or email us at [email protected]; we would love to hear from you.