Maurette Van Eyssen
If you are hunting for a vision of something natural and beautiful, Sanbona is it, writes Craig Jacobs
It's a long way to Sanbona outside Montague in the Western Cape. It takes three hours to drive there from Cape Town, and another hour to make your way through the steep hills of the Little Karoo to Dwyka camp, the most recent addition to this nature reserve.
The name Sanbona comes from the words "hunter" (from the San) and "bona", which means vision. The property spans 54000ha and is the first authentic free-roaming "Big Five" wildlife reserve in the Western Cape, and is home to four rare white lions.
The exclusive Dwyka camp is situated in a dry river bed facing the spectacular Bobbejaanskrans - and its nine tents seem to float above the ground.
Owned by the Mantis group, the interiors of the three tented lodges were designed by Port Elizabeth-based Maurette van Eyssen of Maurette Interiors. She describes them as "unpretentious charm paying homage to the rugged beauty of its surroundings".
"My approach was to tread lightly on this untouched land," says Maurette, who worked with architect Nick Plewman on the project. "It was important to create an atmosphere of tranquility with nature. In the bedrooms, I used colours influenced by the surroundings."
Taking her cue from the local rock, soil and vegetation, Maurette used natural raw silk fabric for the window dressings. On the cement floors she used natural hand-woven mohair rugs in mottled creams. And to break from the neutrals, bright persimmon throws, inspired by the flaming colour of aloes in full bloom, were added.
Another feature of the bedrooms are the worn-looking chests, called "wa-kis", created from recycled wood by furniture maker Evan van Eyssen, which double as coffee tables. He also did all the joinery in the bedrooms.
Dry-packed rock walls, intuitive of the rock formations outside, bring nature in, while an intriguing feature of each tent - and Maurette's favourite - are the fireplaces that are clad in leather and scattered with cushions in brightly coloured silks. "It's a great place to curl up with a good book and a glass of red wine," she says.
The bathrooms are integrated into the bush, with large sliding doors opening on to timber decks, exposing the bath and creating a feeling of bathing outdoors. The addition of outside showers, which complement the exposed showers inside, add to this mood.
And inspired by the San rock art on the property - some of which dates back about three and a half thousand years - replicas of San art created by the Rudner family, and bought from Michael Stevenson gallery, appear in the private lodges and in the main lodge.