The development of the first eco-friendly luxury lodge in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve is nearing completion. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge will be the only private lodge in the reserve, which spans 96 000 hectares of untouched African landscape. Isibindi Africa is committed to eco-friendly accommodation of the highest quality, and has worked together with Frencken & Associates, an architectural design company based in Durban, to ensure that its ethos of giving back to the local community and following sustainable practices is upheld.
Structurally, the buildings have been designed to stand as low as possible to the ground, and follow the natural contours of the landscape so as to blend in aesthetically with the environment. Locally-made cement blocks are being used instead of bricks, which reduces costs and contributes to local employment. While many lodges in the country traditionally use thatch for roofing, this has been steered away from in the design of Rhino Ridge and instead Chromadek – a strong but light and versatile material – will be used as a means of curbing the fire hazard that thatch presents to the local natural environment, and in turn will streamline the profile of the buildings.
In order to keep its carbon footprint to a minimum, the lodge will implement low energy air conditioning units, grey water recycling for ablutions and a hydroponic vegetable garden, which will provide its kitchens with fresh produce.
The lodge will offer 22 rooms situated high up on the ridge, comprised of eight villas, two honeymoon villas, and six suites. Quite possibly the most outstanding feature, isthe panoramic view of the reserve from each room – a design element that was emphasised in the brief by Isibindi Africa. The lodge is located in low-risk malaria territory, and will further provide air conditioning, fans and mosquito nets in all the rooms. The luxuries will not end there, with fireplaces in each villa, a 11m infinity lap pool with sundeck, a day spa, and so much more that guests can look forward to
Brett Gehren, Owner of Isibindi Africa enthuses: “We are excited – this is a ground-breaking development in terms of community involvement, having partnered with the Mpembeni community to essentially build the lodge on their land. Because the lodge also belongs to them, it instils a great sense of pride. This will in turn support our wildlife conservation efforts as the community will see that protecting the environment and its inhabitants is also in their favour.”
Rhino Ridge will offer Big 5 safari experiences and luxury accommodation against the backdrop of the breathtaking African landscape. Bookings are now open.