The Homestead aims to be the best safari lodge in South Africa, and certainly the most distinctive. We want to provide our guests with a heart-centered experience of uber-luxury rooted in a deeply ethical and eco-conscious framework that nurtures the environment and creates true wealth for all; a wealth of experience for our guests and a sustainable source of income for the local community in which we operate, and are a part of.
The Homestead was born in a moment where we witnessed the impact we can make on the people and places around us, and our goal is to make a positive impact on the world that will last for future generations. Building that dream has its practical challenges, of course.
So, how did we go about constructing a luxury resort in South Africa that is unique? One of the ways in which we did it was by choosing like-minded people to work with us. People who share our values, cherish the wildlife of South Africa as much as we do, and also share our commitment to conserving the ecosystem in which we operate.
One of the delights of building a big five safari lodge are the animals who come over to see what is going on. “A hippo gave birth in the dam while the construction was going on” said Ryan Bailey, our Head of Operations for Construction.
Ryan Bailey knows his stuff, he was born in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, a big five game reserve like Nambiti Private Game Reserve in which the Homestead is located. He was chosen to be part of our team because of his eye for quality, depth of all round experience, and his thorough knowledge of South Africa – especially game reserves. He commented that one of the biggest challenges was excavating the ground and removing the heavy metallic dolerite rock, which was then carved into shape by expert local stonemasons, and now covers the structure of the main lodge. The rock is so hard that cutting it is an art and each piece had to be chiselled by hand.
The process of constructing a sustainable luxury game lodge has brought out ingenuity in our team and they have risen to the challenge in every way. Our water recycling initiative is just one of those challenges. All the water in the Homestead goes through a rigorous filtration process. We harvest rainwater and groundwater. The tanks on the roof contain 30,000 litres of water; there are also six storage tanks at ground level under the main lodge, and 3 storage tanks around the Staff Complex, with a total storage capacity of 77,500 litres. This storage and filtration process means we can always provide safe and clean drinking water for our guests and staff in a sustainable way.
We are as passionate about conserving the ecosystem in every way as we are about providing the ultimate luxury safari holiday. “Landscapers are working with us on site,” Ryan Bailey said. He went on to explain that the roofs of all the buildings will have soil, grass and plants on them. The horticulturalist is propagating endemic bushes and grasses for the roofs, and for the rehabilitation of areas affected by our building processes. Where possible, all existing trees have been left on the site, including the walkways and entrances to the garden suites, around the boma, and below the wooden deck overlooking Homestead Dam.
A solar power farm is under construction and possibly the biggest piece of our plan to be off the electricity grid and running on solar power, within five years, for now we’ll have to live with 90% off the grid, but we’ll keep going until we are off the grid completely. Electric Game Viewing vehicles are part of our conservation initiative to greatly reduce fossil fuel emissions and noise in the reserve.