Nestled within the Pongola Game Reserve, below the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains and adjacent to the waters edge of the Jozini Dam, lies The Elephant Kraal. The Reserve is home to an abundance of plains game and members of the Big 5, Lion excluded; – and to top this, the Jozini Dam is home to a rich quantity of the highly prized Tiger Fish.

Located directly off the N2 highway, which connects Durban to Swaziland and Mpumalanga, The Elephant Kraal is easily accessible by road. The Elephant Kraal is a mere 3 hour drive from Durban and a 4.5 hour drive from Johannesburg and can also easily be reached by air travel, with Mkuze and Pongola airfields a mere 20 to 30 minutes away.

When we initially started planning the Elephant Kraal, it was very clear that everyone involved was really excited about producing a product that was truly unique and that revolutionized the concept of safari living.

Our aim was to bring a sense of luxury and modern design to the development. However, it was extremely important not to sacrifice the feeling of ‘bushveld living’. We wanted to create something that would not be perceived as ‘imposing’. It was for this reason that we decided to raise the buildings off the natural ground level completely.

The buildings are supported on column bases and therefore create a sense of floating over the natural environment. Circulation areas between buildings will be raised timber walkways.We also wanted to ensure interaction between dwelling space and the outside environment. This was achieved by incorporating many floor-to-ceiling height openable glass sections throughout the entire house (thus also allowing natural air-flow through the house) as well as large covered outdoor timber decks etc.

The use of natural stone cladding, timber and rough natural-coloured plaster on external walls, will ensure that the structures blend with the beautiful bushveld setting. Natural thatch requires a higher pitch to prevent leaking etc. By using synthetic thatch as opposed to natural thatch, we were able to reduce the pitch of the roofs, therefore creating roofs that are less imposing in terms of height. Synthetic thatch also eliminates the risk of fire and does not require lightning protection, to name a few of its many advantages.