Living with trees
It’s a beautiful feeling to awaken in the embrace of a weeping Boer bean as the light filters through the canopy of trees growing along a drainage line in the Selati Game Reserve. The roaring of lions has given way to the dawn chorus and as the soft green light brightens, the elements in the room around me materialize, as if by magic.
“Our brief to architect Reiner Förtsch from Förtsch+Associates always involved the idea that the lodge facilitates an experience,” says Rob Snaddon, former MD of H.L. Hall & Sons and Chairperson of the Selati Game Reserve.
Opening the glass doors and rolling down the blinds on the canvas walls, I watch the light in the glade and its effect on the unvarnished wood. I feel the privilege of being a guest in this wilderness; close to the earth, kissed by the wind, nourished by the trees. At a glance they appear to being holding up the roof over my head.
The inspiration for the design of Huja Lodge, which was completed in 2015 as part of H.L. Hall & Sons’ 125 year celebrations, began with selecting the site; and the site is all about the trees: nyala berries, knobthorns, marulas, weeping boer beans and more. “It was round about October when we flew over the reserve in a helicopter and looked for the green spots; an oasis in the grey,” says Snaddon, who managed the build with the MD of the company’s property division, James Aling. The lodge is reserved for the use of the family and forms part of the company’s extensive property portfolio.
“There hasn’t been an epiphany or an ‘aha’ moment,” he notes. Instead, Huja reflects the value of the reserve to the Hall family. As their memories root with the trees, they’ll hear the message in their embrace: tread lightly on the earth, for one day you will be all be gone and only the trees will linger on.