Kare Johannesburg 2021
  • River Lodge Lion Sands
  • River Lodge Lion Sands
  • latest slider Spaces River Lodge Lion Sands

River Lodge rises again

This bush lodge is all about elevated style and a connected safari experience.

River Lodge in Lion Sands has (literally) risen from the ashes as a safari destination that marries contemporary design with an intimate wilderness experience. If you’re lucky enough to have stayed at Madikwe, Marataba, Ivory Lodge, Narina Lodge or any of the lodges within the MORE Family Collection you’ll likely have fallen in love with the work of interior designer Meg Ralph. After it burned down in a fire, her studio, Meg Ralph Spaces, was called on to redesign River Lodge alongside Rob Marneweck of Marneweck Swart Architects. The two make a formidable duo on the lodge design front.

With its rooms stretching out along the banks of the Sabie River, River Lodge shares an intimate connection to the bush. This relationship has been enhanced by the architecture which takes the form of simple sheds with clean-lined sophistication, meanwhile the lack of internal walls opens the inside up to the all-important views and maximises on natural light.

By collaborating with talented local artisans such as MOS products, Rialheim, Forget Me Knots, Esias Bosch and others, the design is an authentic, but contemporary, reflection of South African style. Here, every design decision has been carefully considered to honour the guest’s connection to the bush, from the colour palette which echoes the natural landscape to the interiors which champion comfort and a sense of place. With a lean angularity to its form, the architecture is a foil to the wilderness that surrounds it, as well as an ode to contemporary aesthetics that, when done right, take little away from their surroundings.

 

River Lodge Lion Sands
The causeway: The idea here was to echo the flow of the Sabie River below as one moves through the buildings. Bodies of water featured throughout the lodge in channels, troughs and streams reflect the 800-year-old Jackalberry trees and surrounding light.

 

River Lodge Lion Sands
The fire pit: The fire pit brings back the historical essence of gazing across rising flames over the riverine bushveld, combining the elements of fire and water. The water troughs sink below the deck, behind the seating and reflect the lanterns and dancing fire light.

 

latest slider Spaces River Lodge Lion Sands
River Lodge pool: The poolside ambience is designed to emulate the Sabie riverside, a perfectly luxurious combination of the harsh African sun and the lazy waterway. Cool and warm tones come together effortlessly, using minimalist furniture which allows the colours of the bushveld to speak for themselves.

 

River Lodge Lion Sands
The Safari Bar and Lounge: I drew inspiration for the safari bar and lounge from the natural textures and materials surrounding the site. The concept was not only to simplify and modernise the safari experience, but also to create areas that guests could feel relaxed in and move freely through. Both areas were focused on creating a seamless flow between the interior and exterior.

 

River Lodge Lion Sands
The Safari Bar and Lounge: In order to reduce all elements to their purest form, raw wood, exposed thatch, trusses and raw slate floors were used. I aimed to use as many local artisans as possible, collaborating with MOS products on the incredible bar and lounge lighting and Forget Me Knots on the macramé pieces.

 

River Lodge Lion Sands
The Safari Bar and Lounge: I worked with Rialheim on the handmade tiles at the bar and fireplaces and sourced other lighting and furniture pieces from David Krynauw, Vogel Design, Egg Designs, Tonic Design and Studio19. Leana Clunies-Ross was commissioned for the incredible natural textures photography that appears throughout the lodge bringing a subtle hint of the elements indoors.
River Lodge Lion Sands
River Lodge Lion Sands
The suites: The intention was to connect guests with their natural surroundings. This is achieved through light textures and colours and a simple, contemporary and authentic language that urges guests to explore and enjoy both the interior and exterior elements on show.
River Lodge Lion Sands
A superior luxury room's outdoor shower.

more.co.za/lionsands/river-lodge | marneweckswart.co.za | megralphspaces.co.za

WORDS: MILA CREWE-BROWN
CAPTIONS: MEG RALPH
INTERIORS: MEG RALPH SPACES
PRODUCTION: J-P DE LA CHAUMETTE
PHOTOGRAPHY: DOOK