Xigera safari lodge in Botswana will showcase largest private collection of South African design
The world’s largest private design collection by South African artists will grace Xigera (“Kee-jera”), a ground-breaking safari lodge opening in June 2020 in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. The brainchild of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, Xigera is located on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve and will offer just 24 guests an extraordinary opportunity to explore the richness of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Southern Guild worked closely with Red Carnation’s owners, the Tollman family, to help realise their creative vision, showcasing the beauty of Africa not only in the extraordinary environment, but by also commissioning site-specific artworks, furnishings and handcrafted objects by more than 30 African artists and craftsmen. Almost everything in the lodge has been made by hand especially for Xigera, creating a guests’ experience and style not seen in bush camps.
“This is the largest single project we have worked on as a gallery and we are thrilled about the exposure for a significant number of our artists,” said Trevyn McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild. “It has been truly inspiring to be a part of the team bringing this spectacular, pioneering safari lodge to life and working closely with Toni Tollman to help realise an entirely new experience of the African bush.”
Special design features include a totemic firepit sculpture by artist-blacksmith Conrad Hicks, human-sized nests woven from Kooboo cane by Porky Hefer, multiple timber seats and loungers carved on site from fallen trees by Adam Birch and a large collection of ceramic furniture and vessels by Chuma Maweni. There are also limited-edition works by Andile Dyalvane, Dokter and Misses, Charles Haupt, Otto du Plessis, Atang Tshikare, Stanislaw Trzebinski, Dylan Lewis, Madoda Fani, John Vogel, Meyer von Wielligh, Trevor Potter, Philippe Bousquet, David Krynauw, Jesse Ede, Xandre Kriel, Chris Soal, Guy du Toit, Rodney Band, Cheick Diallo and Xavier Clarisse, with many works still in development. Other artists and artisans such as Jop Kunneke, Friday Jibu, Ardmore Ceramics and Woza Moya have been tapped to custom-make unique works for the lodge. An extensive range of textiles, ceramics, baskets, tableware, small sculptural works and gifts will follow.
The design of the lodge has been meticulously conceptualised by architect Anton de Kock to frame the breath-taking floodplains and riverine forests surrounding it. All the buildings – including the main lodge, spa and twelve spacious guest suites – have been clad in flame-torched Japanese Cedar and topped with undulating wing-like roofs that melt into the landscape.
Ground-breaking in its scope and vision, Xigera will be the first design project of this scale on the continent and the first purpose-built safari lodge the Red Carnation group has developed.
For 66 years, founders Beatrice and Stanley Tollman have steered 20 of the world’s leading boutique luxury hotels in exceptional locations, with recognitions including the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Cateys 2016 and inclusion in 2019 British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame. Their properties include the iconic Oyster Box in Durban, the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains and multiple luxury hotels in Geneva, Palm Beach, London and the rest of the UK.