A five minute walk from the house within the malaria free Zebula Reserve grounds we found a six kilometer hiking trail where we had close encounters with very relaxed giraffes and a herd of elands on that early morning hike. It was the closest we had ever been on foot to those graceful creatures. The walk and sightings made our whole day and visit memorable.
This newly opened luxury house was aptly named Botsebotse for the Tswana “a beautiful and graceful homestead.” It was lovingly built, decorated and run by Christine Hall, a former corporate executive turned hospitality property owner and manager. We liked the combination of features on offer including the handsomely decorated house, nearby reserve grounds populated by relaxed game animals (no predators so walking was possible anytime), tasty and well presented gourmet meals, friendly staff, attractive and serene residential neighborhood and in room spa treatments. Christine especially stood out for her thoughtful attention to detail and warm hospitality way beyond the call of duty. The next time we are in the Waterberg Botsebotse will be on our short list.
Class Of Accommodation Luxury boutique guest house
Connectivity The only Internet access was via guest cell phones.
Handicapped Access Although there were no specially designed rooms for disabled visitors, the management welcomed handicapped guests depending on their individual requirements.
Length Of Stay Two nights
Location In the Waterberg region of the Limpopo within a comfortable two-hour highway drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa.
Manager Christine Hall
Owned Christine and Jimmy Hall
Pets Allowed No
Size The four suite house was on an hectare lot situated within a 1,400 hectare residential fenced in development of 168 houses and 600 free roaming animals (no predators). In addition to the manager there were two full time employees, and five part time employees who handled laundry and gardening services.
Year Opened-Renovated The property was established January 2009
Botsebotse was designed to reflect exotic African and modern influences to create a calming and comfortable sanctuary. Salient architectural elements are vast thatch roofs, beams and natural elements such as rock and wood. Softer design elements are feathery edges of thatched roofs, textured natural materials and the interplay between round, square and angular building shapes. As a mark of respect for the environment, the exterior palette was selected from natural shades from the surrounding landscape.
The main lodge has extraordinarily high walls, a thatched beam roof and an open design structure. Teak, limestone, granite and vintage lumber were included to draw in light and warmth. Public space flows uninterrupted between two lounges with stone fireplaces and with a bar handcrafted in stone and solid wood; and a dining area that leads into an under roof outdoor lounge on the one side and an open air patio on the opposite side. With the wall-to-wall stacking doors opened onto the walkway the indoor and outdoor spaces combined into an indoor-outdoor area.
Tan, caramel, brown, black and beige tones predominated in the African contemporary interior design. Comfortable tan leather sofas with clean lines complemented the understated elegance while cane sofas, chairs upholstered in chocolate leather and textured pillows in animal skin and handcrafted patchwork rugs from Nguni cowhides enhanced the décor.
To complete the Africa theme the house was art filled including distinctive artifacts from across the continent: Nigerian Yoruba royal crown; Mashamboy Woot Helmet Mask from Central Africa; Baga serpent headdresses from Guinea; Bwa sun masks with Arabic influenced hand painted geometric designs of the Bwa people from Burlunka and Mali; Juju feather hats from the Bamoun, Bamileke and Tikar tribes of Cameroon; pygmy bed from the forest between the Congo and Cameroon; Senufo stools from the Ivory Coast; Kuba cloth from Tanzania; Bamoun royal bed and rare antique Bamileke stools from Cameroon; butterfly masks from Burkino Faso; and Fang Ngil Masks
My room, Thanda Room, was on the left side of the main area of the house and across from the Money Mask Room. A bold feature wall in deep red served as a backdrop to a cream safari net, a contemporary headboard in textured black leather teamed with a faux fur throw in light and charcoal gray, black leather frayed cushions and scatter cushions in red, black and cream with beaded embroidery.
Other stylistic touches were deep red suede curtains and a cowhide to coordinate with the black and cream cowhide frame of the mirror over a dark wood dressing table. There were two Chinese chests in muted red at the base of the bed, Indonesian chairs, a black Bamileke stool as coffee table, black and cream ox masks and decorative red Zulu hats.
My travel partner’s room, Money Mask Room, was more masculine than mine. It had a chocolate brown, beige and cream theme to echo the neutral and earthy colors of the main lodge. There was a textured coir on the floor and the window had cream fabric trimmed with chocolate suede.
On the bed, a mosquito net in cream and a faux fur throw in brown, chocolate fray leather cushions, round scatters in raffia, pale cream cushions with subtle silver sequined detail and a fluffy cream throw. There was a contemporary headboard made from woven seaweed, matching slipper chairs, large mirrors in woven seaweed frames, a Senufo stool as a coffee table and a leather kist at the foot of the bed. There were money masks from Nigeria, bring wealth and prosperity, in dark wood with bright gold detail and gold and copper coins.
Facilities In addition to the four rooms, set two on each side of the house, the common areas included two indoor lounges, a covered outdoor lounge, bar with DSTV, lapa boma and Bush Boma, Martini Pool (plunge pool) and Hot Tub Spa.
Pool The Martini plunge pool was 4 by 4 meters and about 1.6 meters deep. The pool was small to conserve water for the golf course and the reserve.
Date Of Review November 2009
Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle
Photographs by Gary Cox
Service Our rooms were serviced twice daily. In addition, there were surprises at turn down time : hot chocolate with marshmallows, chocolate morsels, and rose petals strewn about the rooms and bathrooms.
Would You Stay There Again? Yes