A dream project by Jaqui Loon, resort owner, Earth Lodge is a subterranean structure in the game filled Sabi Sand Private Reserve, a fascinating mix of natural resources and an architecture that is responsible.
A game lodge that has not taken any share of the forest landscape and it is all about blending itself in it. From far, all you see are a few termite mound looking little structures. Taking its cue from the surrounding environment, it has been described as the most environmentally sensitive lodge in Africa.
Entrance that leads you down to the grand lobby
Once you enter the lodge, you are transported to a sense of calm, ‘zen’sual atmosphere where the last of the things you will remember is to ask for the wifi password.
Home to 13 ultra-luxurious suites including the Amber Presidential Suite- which is the best-in-class accommodation with a tree trunk as your headboard and what could be a million dollar space, is yours for the night.
The magic of the resort is all about bringing out the open, keeping the structure uninterrupted.
A stream and rocky pool is the centerpiece of the lobby/restaurant.
“Every visitor to Earth Lodge is bowled over by the sheer uniqueness of the lodge. Its organic architecture, unadorned finish, natural fabrics and furnishings and creative use of space and light combine to create a lodge that is both luxurious and at one with the environment,” says Shorten, the Managing Director of Sabi Sabi.
Geoffrey Armstrong, an South African artist who has created these statement pieces are scattered throughout the resort. What you see here is a 5-seater bench.
No grand doors, no crystal chandeliers, no big artwork staring at you from every corner; it is muted in colors, and the metallic hues in the furnishings bring out an glamorous contrast to the toughened up textures. It feels natural and sophisticated, big ups to the interior designer Stephen Rich, Jo’burg’s very own.
The nosh spread at tea time. Afternoon tea soon became my most favorite time of the day.
Our suite with a plunge pool is a lavish space with a sitting room, and a bathroom as big as some of the apartments back in the States.
Using light and space, the architect has created a dramatic play of light during different times of the day.
The building materials take its origin from the Shengaan village mud houses that use local materials and found objects. The outer coating of the walls are bits and pieces of tree, grass, mud to create a texture that adds an unique element to the space.
The mixed use of thatched roof and mud creates a cooling effect that must come in handy during the scorching hot summers.
To take maximum advantage of the bushveld experience, have a shower out in the wild. Just watch out for elephants~ (nah, kidding)
Water feature in the restaurant that flows through the stream..
The one astonishing thing that happens everyday without fail is the sunrise and the sunset. I would wake up just to be a part of the sunrise drive rather than to see game.
Common spaces where you get to hang with other guests or watch their shadow play from behind.
Architect Mohammed Hans wins GOLD with this kind of ingenuity!
Another lounge that includes a pool-dining, quite literally.
This bizarrely looks like the one in the magazine that you gazed with a longing wish… well dreams do come true here. The tree stem chandeliers, wooden trunk tables playing along with the sleek white furniture is a variety mix of design doses that any doctor would recommend.
Check out this cigar lounge with a long tree trunk as the bar. Epic!
And then, it turns magical at night.. BOMA dinners in the open are one of their priced specialities.
And ofcourse food is here is whole another reason to be here. The resident chef starts the 4 course meal with a amuse bouche and then carefully explains the menu of the day to the audience. We dine everyday with our game-drive mates and our ranger, Michelle.
Its more like a reception than a restaurant, you are seated with new friends and the ranger, sharing stories about the village, animals, boyfriends and dorm room drama. Ha!
Your ranger wakes you up at 5am, takes you in a pretty comfy open jeep to see game. Even though its quite chilly at this time of the day, nothing like watching out for big game, tracking the lion footsteps or atleast pretending to spot one before the trained trackers that lead the rangers into the bush.
A 1 week old giraffe with its mum. How adorable is that!
Michelle set our picnic in the wild. This was the most chill time of the day to just be free in the middle of nowhere, its you, sounds of the wind, whistles of the birds, packed lunch, cheeses & ‘wiches and 2 glasses of champagne.
We were happy to see the Kruger Pride finally – male, female and their cub (although we saw the cub separately looking for these two) Soon it was sexy time!
It roared, bit the female while it mated for 15 seconds and then rolled over to rest for the next 30 minutes. Pretty lame for a Lion!
“If I had to use this (rifle) anytime, then I might quit my job as a ranger”, mentioned Michelle, who obviously loves animals and talks so passionately about them, knowing each one like they are her own.
Sunset drives take you to the pink sky..
Looks like they are mesmerized by the sunset too.
Sun filled days, beautiful beds; Starry nights, reaching new heights; Smiling villagers, fiercest creatures; Stories a many with one last wish before you checkout — is to stay another night!