For those who don’t already know and love it, Pafuri in the Kruger’s far northern Makuleke area is among the most scenically beautiful and diverse wilderness regions in the country. The 26 500ha concession is home to almost 80% of the Park’s biodiversity, which offers travellers who love the wilderness the supreme privilege of experiencing it in seclusion and supreme comfort. In a world where untouched ecosystems are at a premium and increasingly rare, this truly is the ultimate luxury.
Part of the Rare Earth portfolio, the lodge offers the best in pampering and gourmet meals, but also the chance to step into the wild on foot with a guided walking safari. The Makuleke is traversed by two rivers, is home to one of the largest fever tree forests in the world and features sandstone gorges carved over centuries. Birders can be rewarded with over 350 species and an impressive list of ‘specials’, while the diversity of large mammals and plains game is one of the most compelling reasons to make the journey.
The challenges of establishing a foothold here were both practical and aesthetic. How to introduce architecture that would sit subtly in its striking landscape, provide luxury accommodation and engender relationship with nature? The Johannesburg based Daffonchio Architects met the challenges with an opening act that sets the tone form the moment guests arrive. The entrance is via a small opening in a long wall to be greeted by an explosion of view as 300 kilometers of expansive flood plains dotted with thousand-year-old baobab trees spread out beneath them.
The contemporary design incorporates concrete and steel for accommodation in open-plan units designed to maximise their connection to the incredible setting. Each unit is set privately along a kilometer of raised teak walkway which doubles as concealment for the utilities. All the buildings float on raised stilts to leave the environment as undisturbed as possible. Retractable exterior walls are designed to dissolve barriers between outside and indoors. Remote controlled screens allow the air and views in but keep creepy crawlies and critters out. The décor itself takes a minimalist approach that allows the natural environment to take centre stage without being inundated with too much interior distraction. In such a remote and beautiful place as this, The Outpost achieves the original vision of connecting the human world to wild nature in with the lightest possible touch.