Fol­low­ing a con­sid­ered re­fur­bish­ment, sto­ried bush re­treat Jock Sa­fari Lodge in the Kruger Na­tional Park has re­opened with a fresh, con­tem­po­rary look that pays quiet homage to its her­itage

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text LEIGH ROBERT­SON

Explore the re­vamped Jock Sa­fari Lodge in the Kruger Na­tional Park

There’s his­tory en­twined in most de­tails at Jock Sa­fari Lodge, from doc­u­mented rem­nants of the past that are framed on walls or serv­ing as mu­seum-type arte­facts on the grounds to more sen­ti­men­tal ex­am­ples re­lat­ing to sweet fam­ily mem­o­ries.

Named af­ter the beloved ca­nine in Sir Percy Fitz­Patrick’s Jock of the Bushveld, this pri­vate con­ces­sion in the Kruger Na­tional Park was founded by the Niven fam­ily, de­scen­dants of the au­thor, in 1982. The gath­ered relics, from an­ti­quated wag­ons to heir­loom fur­ni­ture, are spread all about the five-star lodge, im­part­ing a nos­tal­gic nar­ra­tive to what would oth­er­wise be a clas­sic sa­fari-camp ex­pe­ri­ence.

In­te­rior de­signer Jean-Marie de Vos, who project-man­aged Jock’s re­fur­bish­ment for travel com­pany Lux­ury Fron­tiers, has a pho­to­graph of her grand­mother posed in front of the lodge’s sign back in the ’80s. It’s pro­vided her with a more per­sonal con­nec­tion to the place. ‘We had to work with ex­ist­ing el­e­ments to re­tain what peo­ple love about Jock,’ De Vos says of their task to hon­our the lodge’s legacy while up­dat­ing it with ‘a clean and fresh per­spec­tive’. Much of the de­sign work came down to sim­pli­fy­ing fussy de­tails, straight­en­ing lines and open­ing up spa­ces, she says.

A ‘mem­o­ra­bilia pas­sage’ was cre­ated along the walk­way lead­ing to the din­ing area, where time-worn pho­to­graphs and other char­ac­ter­ful pieces have been thought­fully cu­rated to state­ment-mak­ing ef­fect. With the old taken care of, the new man­i­fests in a blast of con­tem­po­rary styling, from the com­mu­nal leisure spa­ces to the 12 thatched suites cam­ou­flaged among the jack­alberry trees.

Guests are swept through to a chic ar­rival tent in util­i­tar­ian can­vas lay­ered with an­i­mal hides, tex­tu­ral so­fas in char­coal tones, leather but­ter­fly chairs and vin­tage travel trunks. The din­ing area has been com­pletely over­hauled, with fold­away glass doors that open to an ex­panded deck for al fresco din­ing. Where pre­vi­ously there was a pre­pon­der­ance of red­dened, over-var­nished wood, now it’s light and bright, marked by pops of emer­ald green that echo the sun-dap­pled canopy of trees. With its for­mer in­car­na­tion sim­i­larly dated, the up­stairs bar is now a ca­su­ally glam­orous spot for tak­ing in some of the ac­tion on the riverbed over a gin and tonic.

En­sconced in your se­cluded suite, you might not want to ven­ture out at all.

With a pri­vate plunge pool and a gen­er­ous sala, or day bed, po­si­tioned di­rectly above the riverbed – a must for night-time sleep-outs or re­lax­ing with a book by day – each suite also boasts an out­door slip­per bath and sep­a­rate out­door shower. But con­sid­er­ing that Jock of­fers a vast 6 000ha of exclusive travers­ing rights, the call of the wild is a very real lure to throw on clothes and be perched on your game ve­hi­cle well be­fore sun­rise. Con­sid­er­ing its lo­ca­tion at the con­flu­ence of the Mit­o­meni and Biyamiti Rivers, it’s favourably po­si­tioned for some oth­er­wise rare or chance game sight­ings. jock­sa­far­

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