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Loapi Tented Camp,Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

by Media Xpose

Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) was appointed by Tswalu Private Game Reserve, along with a fantastic professional team, for the construction of their new luxury tented safari camp, Loapi in South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, a privately owned game reserve in the Northern Cape.

Project Team
The Oppenheimer family for their investment and belief in Tswalu
Peta Bank of Designbank, overall project manager and Tswalu client representative
Gapp Architects and urban designers
Kobus Duvenhage Builders
Gregory Mellor Design, interior designers
RLB Quantity Surveyors
DEVS SiVEST, engineers (structural, mechanical and HVAC)
QDP, electrical engineers
Dawid Klopper, landscaping
The Tswalu team for their passion and commitment in turning Loapi into a reality
Photography by Andrew Morgan

Having worked on a previous project at Tswalu, RLB was well-versed in the complexities and challenges of working in this remote and environmentally sensitive location. Confident that we could once again provide reliable, full quantity surveying services to our client, thereby enabling them to bring imagination to life and establish a world-class luxury lodge.

A sense of solitude and seclusion

Designed to exacting environmental standards by Cape Town architectural firm GAPP Architects, Loapi offers a true wilderness experience in the largest privately protected area in South Africa. The camp is unique in that guests don’t share any communal spaces. Instead, there are six private tented safari homes, (four onebedroom homes, and two two-bedroom homes), which span over 300m2 and over 400m2, respectively. These micro-camps are at least 50 metres apart, providing a sense of solitude and seclusion.

Expertly crafted from glass, steel, and timber, the modular, contemporary pavilions offer guests panoramic views of the Kalahari’s arid savannah. Situated away from the main living and dining areas, the bedrooms are cocoonlike sanctuaries capped with canvas, providing an unmistakable luxury safari ambiance. This design connects guests with the sights and sounds of nature, offering a genuine wilderness experience while ensuring exceptional comfort and insulation from the Kalahari’s extreme temperatures.

Deep, shaded decks, plunge pools, and fire pits provide opportunities for relaxation and reflection, all while adhering to a philosophy of minimal disruption to the environment. The expansive overhangs from the sophisticated tented design, offer more than just shade from the Kalahari sun; they also play a pivotal role in lowering energy consumption.

Ecological impact kept to a minimum

Through the use of solar power and advanced water recycling technology, the camp operates with exceptional efficiency while keeping its ecological impact to a minimum. Energy-efficient air conditioning and solar-powered pool pumps further contribute to its sustainable practices, setting a noteworthy example of green construction that is both inspiring and achievable.

The modular design, combining canvas, steel and glass, was largely manufactured off site to minimize the environmental impact and protect the iconic shepherd’s trees.

“The main design intent was that, should it ever be required, it would be possible to take the built structure apart and cart it away, leaving the environment exactly as it was found,” said Sally Tsiliyiannis, of GAPP Architects.

The camp’s dedication to sustainability aligns with Tswalu’s mission to safeguard biodiversity and wildlife habitat while showcasing the region’s natural beauty. As sustainability becomes a bigger focus in the construction industry, RLB was the perfect partner for this project. As a global business, we are committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 and to partnering on projects that contribute to environmental and social value.

With global knowledge and expertise, we aim to lead the way in providing a sustainable, competitive advantage to our clients, and are committed to delivering high quality outcomes through advice focused on the cost, quality and sustainability of the built environment.

RLB is a global independent construction, property and management consultancy with registered offices in South Africa, Kenya, DRC and Botswana, and formalised partnerships in Namibia, Angola and Nigeria. Furthermore, RLB is active in at least 15 countries in Africa, and in South Africa is a proud Level 1 B-BBEE contributor.

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