Singita Boulders, South Africa


Singita Boulders, South Africa
Singita Boulders, South Africa
Singita Boulders, South Africa
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Singita Boulders, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Singita Boulders, South Africa Singita Boulders, South Africa
Singita Boulders

Singita Boulders’ strong visual impact is largely a product of its rough-edged circular forms and interiors that maintain the earthy spirit of the architecture. This is design evolution made tangible.

Text Mandy Allen
Photography Craig Fraser

Singita Boulders Lodge both towers over the landscape and is etched into it; it’s a monolith of curving thatch, grass-planted roofs and piled stone walls that merges seamlessly with the rugged topography of the Sand river. Like Singita Ebony, Singita Boulders is the product of a collaboration between architect Bruce Stafford and designers Boyd Ferguson and Paul van den Berg of Cécile & Boyd’s. However, the two lodges – although they are only 10 minutes apart and share the Singita ethos of unparalleled luxury – could not be more different. While the visual idiom of Singita Ebony is anchored in the now-familiar colonial tradition, Singita Boulders has forged an exciting new design language that is at once organic and primitive, contemporary and sophisticated.

There is not a straight line to be found at Singita Boulders, which is set in the heart of the Singita Private Game Reserve. The site is characterised by rocky outcrops overlooking the banks of the Sand river and the plains beyond. This directly informed the notion of a lodge that had been carved out of the earth, one that conformed – quite literally – to the lay of the land. 'The concept for Boulders speaks to the very heart of what it is that people love about being in the bush,’ explains Paul van den Berg. ‘You want to sit around a fire under the sky with your hands and feet buried in the sand, to truly feel grounded. Boulders is truly grounded.'

The structure, composed of 12 suites accessed by raised walkways and a central public area, has been engineered into the side of the riverbank with only parts of it being elevated to take advantage of the views. Even the interior architectural features – such as walls, steps, fireplaces, shelves and counters – feel as if they have been sculpted out of rock rather than conventionally assembled. So rooted in the earth is this lodge that a section of the construction is partially underground, with a roof structure that has been planted with grass and designed to withstand the weight of the herds of elephant that occasionally lumber across it. The predominant materials throughout are thatch for the roof, polished concrete and slate for the floors, and the packed stone that makes up the curved exterior and interior walls – all seemingly sourced directly from nature. Man-made glass also plays a role, acting like an invisible clip-on barrier to separate guests from the heat, insects and wildlife.
Continuing the notion that Singita Boulders has been carved out of the earth, much of the furniture is built in. The main living room is anchored by three imposing columns, with the central column featuring wrap-around built-in seating with leather cushions for comfort.

Texture intensifies the organic design philosophy and is present in everything from the architectural detailing (untreated balau decks outdoors and the main entrance hall floor that has been designed to resemble dried riverbeds) and textiles (mohair, raw silk, leather, hide, woollen tweed, grass fibres, pure linen) to decoration (rough-hewn Senufo artefacts, tree-root tables, Dogon benches, kudu-horn side tables, unframed bevelled mirrors, stone bowl-shaped basins, animal skulls, groupings of carved wood vessels and giant palm pots).

Colours too are of the landscape: bone, skin, mud, bark, rich chocolates, dusty greys. Beaten copper and bronze pay homage to indigenous ornamentation and unearthed artefacts, providing a low-key element of shine that never competes with the earthy, bohemian essence of the interior.

If the ritual of visiting the bush is the result of a need to bond with the earth, then Singita Boulders can be thought of as a raw, honest and naturally beautiful conduit to doing so.

Singita Boulders, South Africa

Location Singita Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Architect Bruce Stafford (Sydney, Australia)
Tel +61 2 9327 7889

Interior Designer Cécile & Boyd’s
Tel +27 21 425 5110

Singita Boulders, South Africa Singita Boulders, South Africa
Singita Boulders, South Africa Singita Boulders, South Africa