Designed by Michaelis Boyd and Nick Plewman, the recently reopened Sandibe Okavango simultaneously blends in with the landscape and stands out from local architectural typology with its curvaceous timber-clad form. The striking and sculptural 24-bed lodge overlooks the banks of the Sandibe River, a waterway rich with the sounds and sights of animals ranging from frogs to hippos.
Elevated on stilts, the sustainable and cocoon-like lodge takes its inspiration from the pangolin, an endangered scaly animal native to the African bush. The architects clad the curvaceous facade with natural and locally sourced shingles and woven saplings in a bid to minimize the building’s environmental footprint. The building is entirely concrete-free and a solar panel farm powers the electricity.
Curved shapes find their way into the interior of the lodge as well, where the 12 suites take on the appearance of suspended weaverbird nests and large timber arches evoke a cathedral-like character. The building opens up towards the river to allow for natural ventilation and lighting, as well as wildlife views. The interior has minimalist décor to keep the focus on the landscape.